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Dodgers, Giants lined up for rare swap

@jonmorosi
July 10, 2019

Would the Dodgers trade Will Smith ... for Will Smith? Sources say no. There is, however, a legitimate chance for the rival Dodgers and Giants to match up on a trade for the first time in more than a decade. While the fascination of a same-name, different-player trade must wait

Would the Dodgers trade Will Smith ... for Will Smith? Sources say no.

There is, however, a legitimate chance for the rival Dodgers and Giants to match up on a trade for the first time in more than a decade.

While the fascination of a same-name, different-player trade must wait until another time, sources say Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is genuinely willing to talk trade this month with Giants counterpart Farhan Zaidi -- and vice versa.

Sources say the Dodgers have varying levels of interest in multiple Giants relievers, including the aforementioned Smith, former Dodger Tony Watson, Sam Dyson and Reyes Moronta.

Of course, Friedman and Zaidi are used to communicating daily: They worked together with the Dodgers for four years, until Zaidi departed for a promotion in San Francisco after last year’s World Series.

In that respect, it won’t be a surprise if the former colleagues -- who share similar methods of player evaluation -- can agree on an equitable deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline. Zaidi has comprehensive knowledge of the Dodgers' farm system.

After all, a similar narrative unfolded for the Giants and Dodgers in 2007, when San Francisco sent Mark Sweeney to Los Angeles for Travis Denker (as the player to be named later). The deal occurred less than two years after Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti left his role as an assistant GM under San Francisco GM Brian Sabean.

Before that, the Dodgers and Giants went more than two decades without striking a trade, following the 1985 Candy Maldonado/Álex Treviño deal. According to Baseball Reference, the only other player transaction between the clubs since moving to California came in '68, when the Dodgers dealt Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver to the Giants for Tom Haller and Minor Leaguer Francis Kasheta.

Famously, the final trade between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants was voided: Jackie Robinson was dealt to the Giants in December 1956, but he retired before playing for them.

So, what could a Dodgers-Giants trade look like this month? As much as we’d like to see Madison Bumgarner shake hands with Max Muncy on his first day in the home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, it’s difficult to imagine Los Angeles acquiring San Francisco's longtime ace as a rental starter.

Relief pitching, however, is a different story.

Smith, a first-time All-Star, will be eligible for free agency after what has been a career-best season. Watson can decline his player option and become a free agent at the end of this year, too. As such, the two left-handers represent the most plausible additions for the Dodgers, who would like to add a prominent southpaw (or maybe two) alongside closer Kenley Jansen.

For now, at least, the Dodgers are highly unlikely to part with one of their top four prospects according to MLBPipeline.com -- Keibert Ruiz, Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and, yes, Will Smith -- for a rental reliever, even one as exceptional as Smith.

Los Angeles is known to have interest in Pittsburgh left-hander Felipe Vázquez, but the price on him is expected to be extremely high. Two industry sources said the Pirates would ask the Dodgers for at least two of the Ruiz/Lux/May/Smith group in order to move Vazquez.

And so Dodgers and Giants fans wait for the prospect of a deal between the ancient rivals -- as they have for the past dozen years.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.