2021 Dodgers Trade Deadline Targets: RHP Dylan Floro, Marlins

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While Dustin claimed Taylor Rogers “might be the one who makes the most sense” when he covered the Twins lefty in Monday’s trade deadline post, I decided to counter with Dylan Floro.

Personally, I think he’s the clear perfect fit given that the irrational fan in me never wanted him gone to begin with.

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Previous entries

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Now in his age-30 season, Floro continued some of the success he found last year with the Dodgers. Holding a 2.70 ERA/2.65 FIP/4.30 xFIP, Floro has nearly matched his line of a 2.59 ERA/2.66 FIP/3.31 xFIP from 2020.

Obviously, that last number jumps out a bit as Floro would seem to be heading toward some struggles with the current rates he’s putting up. A large part of it is his walk rate, which has risen to a concerning 10.3%. That’s a career high, well ahead of his 8.5% he finished with when pitching for the Reds and Dodgers in 2018. It’s also risen from every month this season, starting out at 6.1% in 12 2/3 March/April innings to 9.1% in May (8 2/3 IP), then 12.8% in June (10 2/3 IP) and 14.7% in July (8 IP).

It’s still lower than Alex Vesia (16.9%), Kenley Jansen (16.3%), Garrett Cleavinger (13.2%), Corey Knebel (12.5%), Victor Gonzalez (12.1%) and Jimmy Nelson (11.8%), but Floro’s 21.3 K% trails everyone on that list with the exception of Gonzalez. While Floro bumped up his K% from 19.4% in 2020, his groundball rate is also at a career-worst 47.1%.

The Marlins have changed Floro’s pitch usage pretty considerably, with his four-seam fastball at a career-high 28.2%. That’s led to a 30.9 Whiff% in 2021, just about matching the Whiff% of his changeup (31.1%) last season. Floro’s sinker and slider are at the lowest rate of his career while his change continued to rise up.

Dylan Floro

Taking a closer look at Floro’s appearances this season, batters are swinging at less pitches outside the zone (36.7% in 2020 to 29.8% in 2021) while also making more contact outside the zone when swinging (73.9% in 2021 to 68.7% in 2020). Additionally, Floro’s swinging strike percentage (10.1% to 8.4%) and called strike percentage (20.8% to 17.0%) have also dropped from 2020 to 2021.

While that’s a lot of negatives, most of the problem is his work against left-handed batters. Holding a 10.0 K% and a 14.4 BB% against lefties (compared to 33.3% and 6.0% against righties), Floro has managed to be a bit unlucky against righties and unlucky against lefties to balance it all out.

On the positive side, Floro has not allowed a homer run this season even with his FB% taking a jump as the GB% dipped. Some of that comes from his exit velocity ranking 15th among the 273 pitchers with at least 100 batted ball events this season, with it averaging 86.1 mph this year.

It’s easier said than done, but if a middle reliever were to be added at the deadline I would prefer one the team has some familiarity with given how volatile these deadline reliever trades seem to be. My gut says Floro’s walk rate has something to do with his tweak in pitch usage, as he’s currently at percentages completely unique to the rest of his major league career.

Cost

Floro makes $975,000 after settling with the Dodgers back in January. He’s still got another two arbitration years to go before he becomes an unrestricted free agent ahead of the 2024 season. Considering the Dodgers acquired the 25-year-old Vesia, who ranked No. 36 in Dustin’s rankings, and Kyle Hurt, who holds a 10.13 ERA with 5 strikeouts, 5 hits allowed and 0 walks in just 2 2/3 innings in the Arizona Complex League this year, the cost to reacquire Floro (for the third time) shouldn’t be prohibitive.

Similar to what I mentioned for Robles, Kennedy and Hudson, there’s a pretty consistent price for relievers in the mold of Floro. As he’s got a few years of control remaining, the Dodgers very well could flip him once again this coming offseason before his second arbitration year should they actually bring Floro back, ultimately a very unlikely situation is my guess.

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Did I just spend around 600-700 words writing a post of wishful thinking just so I could share this one more time?

Absolutely.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.