The Dodgers made a trade! No, it wasn’t for a reliever, even if he does have six career relief appearances.
They acquired Tyler White from the Astros today for right-handed relief pitching prospect Andre Scrubb.
White, 28, was designated for assignment last week by the Astros. In 833 career plate appearances, he has a .241/.319/.420 batting line with a 103 wRC+. Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer much defensively as mainly a right-handed first base-only guy. He has very minimal experience in the majors at second base (21 innings), third base (4 2/3 innings) and left field (11 innings). Some are saying he’s Max Muncy, part 2. He might be, but odds are he’s making it so that the Dodgers don’t have to rely on Kyle Garlick for a right-handed presence off the bench come October.
White is one season removed from hitting .276/.354/.533 with a 144 wRC+ with the Astros, but he hasn’t been able to come close to replicating that level of production this season.
The Dodgers are giving up a 24-year-old relief prospect in Scrubb, who was their 8th-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. He checked in at No. 53 on my preseason Top 100 list. With Double-A Tulsa this season, he had a 2.45 ERA, 3.57 FIP, a 27.7 K% and an 11.4 BB%. He has a lively arm with a mid-90s fastball that touches 98 MPH. He pairs it with a high-70s to low-80s slurvy breaking pitch that gets swings and misses. He’s a large human being (6’4, 265) who has command/control issues. The stuff is nice on the surface, but he has a hard time repeating his delivery and throwing from a consistent release point. He’s also Rule 5 Draft-eligible this offseason, so Houston will have to add him to its 40-man roster by the December deadline if he’s to be protected. This is probably why he was expendable for the Dodgers, as their 40-man roster is constantly full (and in flux).
White gives the Dodgers insurance as a nice right-handed bat off the bench, while Scrubb gives the Astros a live-armed relief prospect. It’s a trade that makes sense for both sides, even if it’s unlikely to be consequential.