Entering the 2017-2017 offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced a serious need at second base. They decided to move on from veteran Chase Utley, who is now a free agent, and began examining their options as soon as the final out was called on their postseason run. Many believed that Los Angeles would eventually acquire Brian Dozier, the Minnesota Twins young star.
However, on Monday, they went in a different direction. As first reported by Jeff Passan of YAHOO! Sports and confirmed by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Dodgers have acquired Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for pitching prospect Jose De Leon. The trade will be made official pending medicals.
Rays Trade Logan Forsythe to Dodgers
While Dozier had a better all-around season than Forsythe last season, the Dodgers felt the Twins asking price was too high, according to Rosenthal. Los Angeles now has the second baseman under contract for $5.75 million in 2017. They also hold an $8.5 million club option on him for 2018.
Forsythe, 30, came up in 2011 and spent his first three seasons with the San Diego Padres. He joined the Rays in 2014, and really came into his own in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Two years ago, he put up his best statistical season at the plate. He finished with a .281 batting average and an .803 OPS, and hit 17 home runs while driving in 68 runs. His previous career highs were six and 26, respectively.
In 2016, his average and OPS dropped slightly, but he added three home runs to finish with an even 20. Forsythe is also a strong defender, and recorded positive dWAR numbers in six of his eight seasons. If he can bring his average back up while maintaining the power, he’ll be a good, cheap option for Los Angeles in 2017.
De Leon, 24, was perhaps the Dodgers fourth best pitching prospect. The right-hander is regarded as very solid all around, and should be a number two or three starter for the Rays. Across four minor league seasons, he owns a 23-13 record and a solid 3.35 ERA. Most impressive of all are his 446 strikeouts in 330.2 innings. He spent most of the 2016 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he posted a 2.61 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 86.1 innings.
Near the end of the season, he pitched a total of 17 innings for Los Angeles. While he finished allowed 12 earned runs in that span, he still won two games. In any case, 17 innings is hardly a worthy sample size. De Leon projects as a strong major league contributor, and could start the year in the majors.