It’s a strange little trade, but it appears the Dodgers are betting on Chavez’s stuff rather than Bolsinger’s finesse.
Chavez was predominantly a starting pitcher the last two seasons for the A’s, but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays this season. He was acquired a year ago by Toronto, and the Dodgers are said to have been close to a deal for him last year, too. Farhan Zaidi has been chasing Chavez since he took the job, apparently.
Chavez, almost 33, has a nearly career-best strikeout rate at 24.3 percent, and he does have a career-best walk rate at 5.8 percent. Where he has been hurt this season is the home runs. His HR/FB% is an ugly 19.1 percent, while his HR/9 is nearly 2. That won’t play. The Rogers Centre is a notorious hitters’ park, and Chavez’s fly ball tendencies didn’t play well there, with seven of the nine home runs he has given up in 2016 have come at home. That number should normalize in Dodger Stadium. He is also throwing harder than he has since 2010, as his fastball velocity has jumped 2 MPH from 91.2 to 93.3 MPH with the move to the pen and he throws it 40.5 percent of the time. He’s a rare 4-pitch reliever (cutter, 39.5 percent; changeup, 10.1 percent; curveball 9.8 percent), primarily because he used to be a starter.
Bolsinger didn’t have much value to the Dodgers anymore after a move to the bullpen. There was a thought he could be the long reliever/swingman, but he has struggled a bit this season, regardless of role.
And, as Daniel points out, he’ll always have this:
We’ll always have this, Mike Bolsinger https://t.co/tnBojMPEAU
— Daniel Brim (@DanielBrim) August 1, 2016
Seeing what some relievers have fetched this trading season, I’d say Bolsinger for Chavez is a downright steal. This is a low-risk, medium-reward deal for the Dodgers.