Dodgers trade Tim Locastro to Yankees for Drew Finley in win-win deal

Photo: Dustin Nosler

The Dodgers on Wednesday traded Tim Locastro to the Yankees for minor-league right-hander Drew Finley. Locastro had been designated for assignment on Tuesday because the Dodgers needed 40-man roster spots after protecting five players from December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Locastro was among the fastest — if not the fastest — players in the organization. He’s done quite well since coming over with Chase De Jong in July 2015 for international slot money. But the production never really matched the scouting reports. The Dodgers added him to the 40-man roster in September 2017 and he was just 2-for-12 in his two seasons in LA, as he spent most of his time as a pinch-running specialist. The Dodgers might miss his speed, but despite his defensive versatility, he wasn’t really in the team’s future plans.

I had ranked him as the 29th-best in the system before the season and 30th in the midseason update. The 26-year-old probably doesn’t have a clear path to playing time in New York, but the Yankees might be able to find a spot to play the local product.

In return, the Dodgers acquired the Yankees’ 2015 3rd-round draft pick in return. The 22-year-old signed for an over-slot $950,000. The interesting note here is Drew is the son of David Finley, who is the Dodgers’ vice president of amateur/international scouting — i.e., the top scout in the organization.

It’s been a rough go for Finley as a pro. He only has 120 innings pitched in his four professional seasons and he hasn’t made it out of short-season ball (between Rookie Ogden and Low-A Great Lakes, if he were in the Dodgers’ system). He has a 5.48 ERA in that time and has been a combination of too hittable (9.3 H/9) and wild (11.3 BB%). He does have a 22.8 strikeout percentage as a pro, which is encouraging. But there’s a reason he hasn’t made it beyond A-ball just yet.

As a draft prospect, Finley didn’t have a big fastball. He was projectable, but he generally sat in the 88-92 MPH range. Since then, his velocity has ticked up to be consistently in the mid-90s, but it hasn’t come with much command/control. His curveball has always graded out as a plus pitch and is the main source of his swing-and-misses. Finley has added a changeup, but it’s far from refined. While he was drafted as a starting pitcher, his future might lie in the bullpen. In terms of injuries, he suffered a flexor tendon strain that cost him some time in 2017 and a setback cost him some time this past season. He has dealt with elbow/flexor injuries basically his entire pro career to date.

I liked him a little bit in the 2015 draft even if there wasn’t much chance of the Dodgers taking him. David Hood of True Blue LA also liked him quite a bit.

And he’s right. There is still time to turn him into a worthwhile arm. He has arm talent that can’t be taught, but he needs to get over the injuries if he and the Dodgers hope he can be more than low-level organizational depth.

For a guy who was DFA’d (Locastro), the Dodgers couldn’t really have expected much better in return. A former premium draft pitching prospect who has good stuff is much better than a fringy 40-man roster player who doesn’t have a clear path to playing time.

Here’s hoping Locastro succeeds with his new org and that the Dodgers can make something of Finley and his powerful right arm.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.