Dodgers get Scott Alexander, Jake Peter in 3-team deal that costs Avilan, Oaks, Mejia

The Dodgers acquired left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander from the Royals and utility man Jake Peter from the White Sox in a three-team deal that saw them deal away Luis Avilan to the White Sox (who also got Joakim Soria and cash from both the Dodgers and Royals), as well as Trevor Oaks and Erick Mejia to the Royals.

Nobody would blame you if you admitted to having no idea who the heck the Dodgers got in this trade, but this actually works out fine.

Scott Alexander is a left-handed reliever entering his age-28 season that throws a sinker at 93-94 mph and that’s about it. He used the sinker a whopping 94% of the time last year, only occasionally throwing in a slider and change. Despite being a one-pitch wonder, Alexander posted a 2.48 ERA and 3.23 FIP last year in 69 innings, but he also had a below-average strikeout rate at 20.9% and walk rate at 9.9%. So what’s the big deal, right? Well, a whopping 74% of balls put in play against him were grounders and only 11% were hit in the air.

For years the Dodgers have coveted Zach Britton for similar reasons, and now it’s not happening due to his injury, so it seems like they went after the next best thing. Additionally, the Dodgers do have a good track record of making tweaks to relievers with arm talent to help them find another gear. Plus, Alexander doesn’t become a free agent until 2023.

Jake Peter is a 24-year-old that split time between AA and AAA last year. He slashed a solid but unspectacular .279/.344/.417/.761 in 561 plate appearances, striking out 124 times and walking 41 times. It’s not hard to see what the Dodgers want out of him after you realize he can play second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field. He’s a utility option that’s close to the majors and could be useful if injuries hit the big-league club.

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Luis Avilan has been solid for the Dodgers out of the bullpen since coming over at the deadline in 2015, but he was out of options next year, has had trouble staying healthy, and would’ve been redundant with the acquisition of Alexander and the emergence of Tony Cingrani.

Losing Trevor Oaks hurts more, as he looked like quality starting pitching depth in the minors that could’ve been helpful with the injury-prone arms of the Dodgers rotation. Furthermore, despite being limited by injury last year, his strikeout rate spiked from the 5-6 K/9 range it had been to 8 K/9. Still think he has the potential to be a back-end rotation guy.

Erick Mejia is a 22-year-old utility infield type that spent most of his 2017 at AA and slashed .278/.344/.397/.741. There’s upside there, but he seems to basically be the less MLB-ready version of Peter.

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In terms of money, there isn’t much of an impact since Alexander makes the minimum and the Dodgers sent $2 million to the White Sox, likely to cover Avilan’s arbitration salary.

As such, this trade is basically about Alexander, who the Dodgers are clearly high on as a left-handed ground-ball machine out of the bullpen. That rendered Avilan the odd man out, led to an exchange of utility infielders, and cost the Dodgers starting pitching depth. Realistically though, Oaks was likely to never get a run in the Dodgers rotation, but he’ll probably get that shot with the Royals. And if Alexander pitches like he did last year, I doubt there will be complaints from the Dodgers side of things.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
I get paid millions by the Dodgers. MILLIONS!