Dodgers trade Caleb Ferguson to Yankees for Matt Gage and a prospect, to re-sign Ryan Brasier

Caleb Ferguson (Photo: Cody Bashore)

The last of the Logan White draftees — non-Clayton Kershaw division — is now heading to the Yankees. The Dodgers are expected to trade left-handed reliever Caleb Ferguson to the Bronx Bombers on Monday for veteran left-handed reliever Matt Gage and right-hander Christian Zazueta. In a corresponding move, they’re also expected to re-sign Ryan Brasier. The Dodgers officially announced the trade, while the re-signing will have to wait a few days.

Ferguson, 27, is a free agent after the season and was a former 38th-round selection by the Dodgers in 2014. In 207 1/3 MLB innings, Ferguson has been pretty solid: 3.43 ERA, 3.78 FIP and an 18.5 K-BB%. He has undergone Tommy John surgery twice — once that basically “allowed” him to be drafted and once that cost him the 2021 season. He has always had some good arm talent and should help fill the left-handed reliever hole in the Yankees’ bullpen.

Gage, 30, was a 10th-rounder in the same draft as Ferguson. He has just 19 2/3 innings of MLB work, and he has pitched to a 1.83 ERA, 3.97 FIP and a 14.3 K-BB%. He misses bats, but command/control is his biggest issue. He’s armed with a 94 MPH fastball, an 87 MPH cut fastball and an 81 MPH slider. The only surprising thing here is he doesn’t throw a sinker! The spin rate on his pitches doesn’t really stand out, but the Dodgers must think they can do some things with his repertoire because his minor-league numbers don’t exactly stand out, either. He has a 3.97 ERA in 659 MiLB innings, including a 5.13 ERA in five Triple-A seasons. One thing he has done well in the minors is limit home runs. He has a 0.5 HR/9 rate, which works out to 37 home runs given up in his MiLB career thus far. He has one option remaining, so despite the now-lack of left-handed relievers in the Dodgers’ bullpen (Alex Vesia and Ryan Yarbrough are literally it), he could very well begin the season with Oklahoma City. He’s basically an older, more team-controllable version of Ferguson, as Daniel so eloquently put it:

Zazueta, 19, was an amateur international signee two years ago. In 73 1/3 innings in the Dominican Summer League, he has a 4.54 ERA and a 17.3 K-BB%. It’s hard to take any stats in complex ball as indicators, so here’s what Eric Longenhagen had to say about him in December:

“Zazueta led the DSL Yankees in innings pitched with 52. He has the pitch movement foundation to break out if he can throw harder as he matures. He currently has a rise-and-run upper-80s fastball, a shapely mid-70s curveball, and a precocious changeup, all of which have bat-missing promise.”

And something from Josh:

Prototypical low-level lottery ticket. We’ll see if the Dodgers can develop him into something going forward.

Meanwhile, Brasier was a revelation after picking him up from the Red Sox (after they released him). With LA, Brasier, 36, posted a 0.70 ERA, 2.48 FIP and a 19.6 K-BB%. He may not be Devin Williams, but he’s a quality middle reliever with back-end upside if he can repeat his 2023, and the Dodgers (all teams, really) can use guys like that.


In the end, the Dodgers chose to have Brasier (and Gage + a lottery ticket) over Ferguson. The fact that Ferguson is a free agent in a year probably played a role in the move, but they clearly liked Brasier enough to bring him back — they just needed to figure out how to get him on the roster.

The trade will likely become official soon, while the Brasier signing will likely wait until Thursday, because that’s the first day the Dodgers can place players on the 60-day injured list. The trio expected to go on it are Nick Frasso, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. That will open up a spot for Brasier and have two extra spots heading into Spring Training, in case there are other moves the Dodgers want to make.

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.