There are prospects and there are potential franchise cornerstones.
Diego Cartaya is a potential cornerstone of the franchise.
20 year old Venezuelan it’s as safe a bet as it is in an industry where nothing is certain, and some Dodgers executives say he could be the centerpiece of their team for more than a decade after he reaches the big leagues.
I think Dodgers should exchange it.
More precisely, if they have to include it in the purchase package Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals, they should trade him.
This was not the column I expected to write a few days before Saturday’s Futures game, in which Cartaya played his first game at Dodger Stadium. I spoke to Dodgers and competitors who admired his brute strength and makeup.
“When he enters the batter’s field, there is presence on the field,” said John Shoemaker, who coached Cartaya at Grade A Cucamonga Ranch earlier this season. “When he goes to the plate as a catcher, there is presence behind the plate. When he enters the club, there is a presence in the club.”
There were similar endorsements from others.
Their words did not become less convincing a day or two later.
What has changed is that 23-year-old Soto suddenly became available as Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal revealed the Nationals would be “fun” with trade offers for an All-Star outfielder after he turned down a 15-year offer for a $440 million extension. from them.
Soto is the talent of a generation. He broke into the big leagues at 19 and immediately produced. He was world series champion in his sophomore year and a batting champion in his third. Last year, he took second place in the MVP nomination.
Cartaya could become a franchise player. Soto is a franchise player and is only three years older.
Soto is the perfect fit for the Dodgers, a ready-made superstar who can help them maximize their current championship window, as well as a young influencer they can build their next cycle around.
Supposedly, making Soto a cornerstone would cost the Dodgers or any other team more than $500 million in the long run. The Dodgers will be able to make the necessary commitments to keep Soto after his 2024 walking year as they receive more than $106 million in wages after this season with Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, David Price , Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson are free agents.
Let’s say the Dodgers were traded for Soto before August. 2 had a trade deadline this year but failed to sign an extension with him and ended up losing him as a free agent. They’ll still have Soto for three pennant races.
They will also keep Soto safe from two divisional rivals likely to turn on him: the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants.
Soto loves it.
He is smart and a fast learner, as evidenced by the way he spoke English in the year and a half between arriving from the Dominican Republic and his major league debut.
This is how Cartaya is described.
Cartaya already speaks fluent English, which he owes in part to spending the past three offseasons in South Carolina at the home of Travis Barbary, a Dodgers subsidiary manager. Barbary was a former capture organization coordinator and has a son who played with Cartaya.
“He’s very mature for his age,” Barbary said.
Cartaya signed a $2.5 million contract at the age of 16, but Barbary noted that his spending habits are not like those of a typical bonus kid.
Cartaya’s first car was a white 2018 Toyota Camry.
“I still have it,” Cartaya said. “I love it.”
His maturity extends to the club and the field, and Dodger officials are encouraged by his continued improvement both offensively and defensively.
At 6’3″ and 219 pounds, Cartaya hit 28 home runs in 142 career minor league games. He plans to become a high-profile power forward in the big leagues.
“It takes a special player to be able to improve in any area without getting a lot of reps and playing time,” Dodgers catching coordinator Rocky Gale said. “What was remarkable about his development was that at 20 he was in the A and really didn’t play that much. He found a way to get better without the in-game reps that are usually required to progress like this.”
Cartaya has only caught 111 professional games, but pitchers love to throw him.
Shoemaker said that’s because Cartaya’s body offers pitchers “greater purpose.” Gale speculated that this was due to the way Cartaya scrutinizes data and incorporates it into game plans that highlight his pitchers’ strengths.
Regarding his ability to retain information, Cartaya said, “It’s because I love baseball,” adding that he was “probably not the best” student in school.
He likes a lot. There are many things he might like.
But Soto is already it.
Maybe the citizens think they have found a long-term solution in Cabert Ruizthe last tempting prospect the Dodgers sent them and will not ask Cartaya to be involved in any Soto deal.
However, maybe they will.
In this case, the Dodgers will have to do what they do not want to do. They will have to part with a potential client in whom they have invested heavily both financially and emotionally. They will have to trade Diego Cartaya.