The Dodgers appeared to be done at the trade deadline after acquiring Rich Hill and Josh Reddick, as well as Jesse Chavez. However, over an hour after the deadline had passed, it was revealed they also acquired pitcher Josh Fields from the Astros for first baseman Yordan Alvarez.
The Dodgers today acquired right-handed reliever Josh Fields from the Astros in exchange for minor-league first baseman Yordan Alvarez.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 1, 2016
Yordan Alvarez is a 19-year-old first baseman who was signed for $2 million out of Cuba a couple months ago, and he has yet to make his professional debut and last played in 2014. According to a Ben Badler scouting report, he seems to have upside.
He has a simple lefthanded swing, drawing praise from scouts highest on him for his bat control and ability to manage the strike zone well for his age. While Alvarez never showed much power in Cuba, he has since earned average to above-average raw power grades from scouts who have followed him at workouts. Some evaluators said he sometimes struggles to tap into that power in games in part because he doesn’t always generate enough lift in his stroke (58 percent of his batted balls were groundballs during his final season in Cuba).
Of course, at this stage, he’s basically a lottery ticket to make it to the majors, but it does sound like there’s promise there. In essence, the Dodgers are basically trading the money they used to sign the player to the Astros.
In return, the Dodgers picked up 30-year-old right-handed reliever Josh Fields from the Astros. After this year, he still has two more years of team control, is making just $900,000, and he still has options to be sent down for this year and next year. In 159 innings for the Astros in his career, Fields as posted a 4.53 ERA, 2.92 FIP, and a 3.31 DRA, including a 6.89 ERA, 2.79 FIP, and 3.90 DRA in 15.2 innings in 2016. He’s been in the minors since May and has been excellent there, putting up a 1.65 ERA in 27.1 innings with 32 strikeouts and just seven walks.
With Fields, it’s not hard to see what the Dodgers are thinking when you look at the ERA and FIP gap (even the DRA gap), see the .457 BABIP and 51.7% strand rate (both unsustainably bad), and find that he’s striking out 28.2% of batters while walking only 4.2%. Fields also has a live arm and sits 93-96 with his fastball, and works in a slider, curve, and change. If nothing else, he certainly fits the mold of other fly ball relievers in this pen who also miss bats.
While there’s likely reasons other than bad luck for Josh Fields’ poor performance against his peripherals thus far, it would seem like there’s potential for a quality middle relief arm there with an adjustment, something that may have already taken place in AAA. Again, hard to complain about basically trading away cash for a reliever that could help the tired bullpen this year.