Ahead of the July 4 game against the Pirates, the Dodgers acquired right-handed pitchers Dylan Floro, Zach Neal and international signing bonus money from the Reds for right-handed pitching prospects James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala.
If the names Floro and Neal look familiar, they should. Floro spent some time on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster last year after the claimed him from the Cubs (and eventually designated him for assignment). They actually sent Neal (with Ibandel Isabel) to the Reds earlier this season for right-handed pitcher Ariel Hernandez.
Can you title it Floro July
— Alex Campos (@ac3581) July 4, 2018
God dammit, Alex.
I’m very confused. It may be the prospect-hugger in me, but I’m not thrilled with including Marinan — a legitimate pitching prospect — for not only a couple guys the Dodgers used to have, but a couple guys who have limited upside/ceilings.
Floro, 27, is pitching well this season. In 36 1/3 innings, he has a 2.72 ERA, 3.33 FIP and a 56.8 ground ball rate. If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention his strikeout rate, it’s because it isn’t very impressive. He has struck out just 17 percent of the batters he has faced this season. That’s worse than Scott Alexander, who is an extreme ground ball pitcher. It’s nice to have another ground ball guy coming out of the bullpen, but it just stings to give up a legit prospect for a true middle reliever and a guy you had on the 40-man roster less than a year ago. He has a low-90s sinker, mid-80s slider and changeup.
The Neal acquisition is a real head-scratcher. He was a guy who threw one inning for the team earlier this season before being dealt. He’s similar to Floro insofar as he gets a decent amount of ground balls but doesn’t get many strikeouts. He had a 5.80 FIP for Triple-A Louisville after he was acquired by Cincinnati. At least he might have a chance to improve on his 16.11 FIP with the Dodgers (but probably not).
The international bonus money is the most intriguing part of this deal for me. I’m hoping it’s a significant amount, because the Dodgers have already used at least $3.6 million of their allotment of $4,983,500. They can trade up to 75 percent of that amount, but can only acquire a maximum of $250,000 in a single trade, unless the Reds are planning to trade the remainder of their pool money. They’ve signed six prospects, according to Baseball America, but there are no reported signing bonuses yet. They’re under the same penalty the Dodgers were under for the last two seasons, meaning they can’t sign a prospect for more than $300,000. They had an original allotment of $6,025,400, but $1.5 million was traded to Boston a couple days ago. So, they have a maximum of $4,525,400 to trade, but the Dodgers can only acquire $3,737,625 and I don’t see the Reds sending that much LA’s way (and the math would have to work out precisely if the Reds would be trading the remainder of their pool … which they won’t).
The Dodgers are giving up a hard-throwing right-hander in Zabala, whom they acquired from the Mariners last year in the Chase De Jong/Drew Jackson deal. Zabala’s stuff backed up a bit last season before coming back. But he struggled in Low-A, posting a 4.86 ERA, 18.2 K% and 15.1 BB%. He checked in at No. 89 in my preseason Top 100.
The guy I’m more upset losing is Marinan. He was the Dodgers’ 4th-round pick last year. They signed him to an above-slot $825,000 bonus and had a decent debut in the AZL last year. In three outings so far this season in the AZL, he showed some improvement in the command/control department. It’s hard to scout the stat line too much, but the big-bodied pitcher is projectable and has really good stuff. He was No. 20 on my preseason list and was primed to move up either in the midseason or 2019 rankings. Here’s an excerpt from that write-up:
“The big right-hander boasts a couple of potentially plus-pitches in his repertoire. His best pitch is a 4-seam fastball that sits in the 91-94 MPH range and has touched 96 MPH. With his frame, it isn’t unreasonable to project that to jump a couple ticks as he refines his delivery and gets more professional instruction. He could add a cutter as he progresses, as we know the Dodgers’ player development loves that pitch. He backs it up with a potentially plus-curveball in the 76-79 MPH range. It’s unrefined at present, but when everything clicks, he snaps it off and it misses bats. It has good depth and an 11-5 shape. He’ll need to work on being more consistent with the release point so it becomes a true curveball and not the “slurvy” shape it is right now. He also has a changeup that has received mixed reviews. It fades a bit to lefties, but it’s clearly his third-best pitch and is lagging behind the other two. He’ll need to improve it going forward (or add a different pitch) to remain a starting pitcher. But he’s still a teenager, so we’re a ways off from any kind of move to the bullpen.”
I’m kinda triggered.
The fact they traded Marinan in this deal can be viewed a couple ways:
- The Dodgers aren’t as high on him as us in the public
- Maybe this is the asking price for middle relievers (which would be scary)
I don’t know. I just don’t like them giving up (giving up on?) a 19-year-old power pitcher for a ground ball-focused middle reliever and a guy they had as a non-roster invitee back in March.
I’m fine with them having acquired the two guys they did today, I really wish they didn’t have to give up Marinan to make it happen. The key will be how much the Dodgers get in international money and hoping Floro doesn’t implode since he doesn’t have the greatest track record.