It may be an off day for the Dodgers (the major league club at least), but Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi were busy wheeling and dealing in order to further bolster their roster depth. The Dodgers announced on Thursday that they acquired right-hander Ryan Webb, minor league catcher Brian Ward AND a Rule 4 competitive balance round B draft pick (No. 74) in June’s draft in exchange for minor league catcher Chris O’Brien and minor league pitcher Ben Rowen.
This sounds like a fantastic deal for the Dodgers who now have four of the first 74 picks in the June draft (No. 24, No. 35, No. 67 and No. 74). The Dodgers also held back from signing any big international free agent this offseason in order to have flexibility and available international spending cash to go shopping later this year.
Reliever Ryan Webb will add further depth to the Dodgers bullpen. The 29-year old pitcher was designated for assignment by the O’s a couple of days ago. The Dodgers will pay the remainder of Webb’s salary which is $2.75 million- well worth it for the extra draft pick.
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Webb, the big right-hander, was originally drafted by Farhan Zaidi’s former club, Oakland, in 2004. He has a career ERA of 3.38 over 317 games between time in San Diego, Miami and Baltimore. Last season he pitched in 51 games for the Orioles, and he finished the year with a 3.83 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 12 walks over 49 1/3 innings of work. He has steadily improved both in SO/9 (6.8 in 2014) and BB/9 (2.2 in 2014) over his six seasons.
The Dodgers traded away one catcher, Chris O’Brien, but they picked up another backstop in the trade. Brian Ward is a 29-year old Santa Monica native. Ward has played in triple-A for the Norfolk Tides since 2013. Last season he hit .242 with 2 homeruns, 47 strikeouts and 32 walks in 211 minor league at bats (AA and AAA).His strength is his defense behind the plate.
Seeing Chris O’Brien move on from the Dodgers is a little bittersweet. I spoke with him in Rancho Cucamonga a couple of years ago, and he was a non-roster invite in big league camp this Spring. We wish O’Brien the best of luck with his new club. He could provide the Orioles with a solid backup catcher in the near future.
Pitcher Ben Rowen is also a California native from Palos Verdes. The Dodgers signed him as a free agent in January. He will be going to Baltimore in the deal as well.
The Dodgers will have to option one of their relievers to make room for Webb. I’m hoping it’s not Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez or Yimi Garcia, but they could also option Darwin Barney back down if they wanted to hold on to an extra reliever temporarily.