The Dodgers trade deadline can only be described as a disappointment. While it was always a hope that they could get Felipe Vazquez or somebody of that caliber, it was assumed that they would at least take a couple flyers on solid relief options and hope they pitch well. Instead, the Dodgers did almost nothing, seemingly opting to rely on internal options.
The most notable trade the Dodgers made was for the only bullpen piece in the form of LHP Adam Kolarek, who was acquired from the Rays in exchange for OF Niko Hulsizer.
For a team that desperately needed pen help, Kolarek is unimpressive at first glance. He has a 3.95 ERA, a 4.54 FIP, and a 3.84 DRA in 43.1 innings, which is solid but doesn’t do a whole lot more than the guys the Dodgers are trying to replace. Additionally, while he had a 2.61 FIP last year with a 3.93 ERA, he actually had a 4.25 DRA, likely because he gave up no home runs in 34.1 innings, which is unsustainable.
Not all that great numbers, but this year he’s faced 104 righties and 80 lefties, and one could argue that’s inefficient. After all, he’s surrendering a .834 OPS against right-handed hitters and is limited left-handed hitters to a .531 OPS. That trend was similar last year as well (.788 OPS/.524 OPS), so he appears to be a LOOGY and needs to be used like one, which is not coincidentally something the Dodgers desperately need in order to deploy Julio Urias liberally in relief. A get that makes complete sense regardless of what else the Dodgers did or didn’t do.
In return, they surrender 22-year-old outfielder Hulsizer, who has done nothing but hit bombs as a professional. He broke out in A-ball this year with a .969 OPS, which led to his promotion to high-A where he currently has an .832 OPS. Still, he is not considered a top Dodgers prospect and is not ranked by any publication in their top 30.
In what seems like a depth move, INF Jedd Gyorko was acquired by the Dodgers from the Cardinals, along with international bonus pool money and cash. In exchange, the Dodgers traded LHP Tony Cingrani and RHP Jeffry Abreu.
Gyorko is currently on the 60-day IL with a lower back strain and can return on August 7, which it seems like he will do.
Gyorko is &quot;close to 100% healthy,&quot; per source. He&#39;s on the 60-day IL, and eligible to be activated in a week. Dodgers don&#39;t have to add him to their 40-man roster until then.&mdash; J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 31, 2019
Hard to say a whole lot about this since he has just 62 plate appearances this year after also missing time earlier with a calf strain. He has just a .578 OPS in that time, but in three previous seasons with the Cardinals, he’s put up a .259/.331/.463/.794 line (111 OPS+) while playing an above-average second and third defensively. He makes $13 million this year, but $5 million is being paid by the Padres and it’s unclear how much the Cardinals are sending the Dodgers in the deal. He also has a $13 million team option for 2020 with a $1 million buyout, the latter of which is likely to be executed.
Maybe most important is that he destroys lefties.
Gyorko is a fearsome hitter against left-handers. He’s compiled a career .349 wOBA against lefties over 766 career PA, good for a 122 wRC+. He’s far less potent against righties — his .237/.298/.410 line works out to a .307 wOBA and 94 wRC+.
That makes him an ideal depth move in case David Freese, Enrique Hernandez, and Chris Taylor don’t recover as quickly from their injuries as anticipated or don’t play well when they do.
In exchange, the Dodgers gave up on Cingrani, who is on the 60-day DL after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. It’s really a shame to see since he was so effective in relief with the Dodgers when healthy. Abreu is a 19-year-old righty in the AZL with a 4.66 ERA in six games. Reports have him as a future reliever, which is not the profile you want as a 19-year-old in the AZL. Thus, not a whole lot to say about the return as it was basically a salary dump with a couple lottery tickets.
The two other minor moves were Brock Stewart going to the Blue Jays in order to clear 40-man room and Rocky Gale going to the Rays for cash.
Not much to say on Gale, who did his job as organizational depth and is now headed to the Rays likely to play a similar role. Not a bad idea by the Jays to take a flyer on Brock Brock with hopes he can regain the form that once had evaluators think he would be a potential mid-rotation option.
As you can see, both trades made sense for the Dodgers, with Kolarek in particular looking like a quality add. However, I am shocked that they did not at least trade for a couple more relievers with quality stuff to give them further options to see who will emerge in the competition to make the postseason pen. Instead, they are essentially trying to fill all those gaps internally, either through converting starters (Kenta Maeda, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Rich Hill?) or hoping for contributions from like Caleb Ferguson fixing himself, Casey Sadler being legit, or Josh Sborz emerging.
Fans are understandably upset about this, and I think it’s at least partially justified. Not coming away with an impact arm is one thing, as keeping potential stars like Gavin Lux, Will Smith, May, and Keibert Ruiz is understandable, but to not at least take flyers on other relief options while their competition were trading for 2-3 guys that could potentially help them? It was just a bizarre set of non-moves all around. I hope it works out in the end, as always, but this was rather discouraging to watch unfold and it ultimately seems to add unnecessary risk to a pen situation already teetering on the edge.