As if Corey Seager fracturing his hand and the Dodgers signing Albert Pujols wasn’t shocking enough for the day, the Dodgers also worked a trade with the Rays for the struggling Yoshi Tsutsugo in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The Rays designated Tsutsugo last week after he struggled mightily with the team after inking a two-year, $12 million deal a couple offseasons ago. Over 272 plate appearances in the majors, Tsutsugo has posted a .187/.292/.336/.628 line, including a woeful .462 OPS this year. There has been concern that he has been overmatched by velocity, which is a bad thing to struggle against in this point in time.
The upside? The upside is that in his last three seasons in Japan, he posted an OPS of .909, .989, and .899 with a ton of patience and power, that he’s just 29 now, and he had less than a half season sample of evidence against him that includes a weird pandemic year. He also has some versatility, playing first, third, and the outfield.
The Dodgers previously had interest in him, and I’d never bet against the player development system of the team to find something that leads to improvement.
Of course, like with the Pujols deal, more than anything this seems to be more of an indictment of what the Dodgers think of their current depth. That taking a flier on a horribly scuffling player is a better bet than the risk of being another injury away from giving significant playing time to Luke Raley, DJ Peters, Sheldon Neuse, and whoever else. Also like with Pujols, this should hypothetically be a low-risk move for the team, as they can cut bait at any point and he comes without the risk of his status in the game leading to holding onto him for too long.
These types of moves don’t work out often, but given that the cost is unlikely to be much of anything, it at least has the chance of paying big dividends.