Dodgers: What the Recent Scott Alexander Trade Means For the Offseason
By Brook Smith
The Dodgers turned a few heads Thursday afternoon by dealing away one of their top 30 prospects and acquiring reliever Scott Alexander in a trade.
Finally, some noise this offseason. Friedman and Co. swung a three-team deal with the White Sox and Royals that looks to benefit all teams involved. Rebuilding Chicago got a few good trade chips in Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan and Kansas City got Trevor Oaks, who they are confident can contribute this year.
However, it looks like the Dodgers may have gotten the better bargain in the deal. Los Angeles received lefty reliever Scott Alexander as well as infielder Jake Peter. Alexander is coming off his first true full season, in which he tossed 69 innings over 58 games. He profiles as a late inning reliever and certainly appears to be someone who can take over the setup role. He had an earned run average of just 2.48 in 2017 and has four saves of his own.
Scott Alexander profiles as one of the best groundball pitchers in the game. He ranked just behind Zach Britton with a 73.3% ground ball rate in 2017. His years of team control may be the best part of this whole deal, though. Alexander is controlled until 2023, essentially making him a Dodger for five more bargain years. While the Dodgers did send over some money to Chicago in this deal, Alexander’s appealing contract status makes this offer essentially cash neutral for them. Overall, a seemingly very good pickup for Los Angeles.
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So what does that mean for the rest of the offseason? The team filled one of their biggest voids in Alexander as a left-handed setup man, so there really are not too many holes left to fill for the Dodgers. If there is another trade or signing at this point, it would be considered more of a luxury than necessity. They may need to shore up their bullpen a bit to prepare for unforeseen injuries, but that is mostly it.
Los Angeles was one of the best in the game on offense, as well as defense, last year. The resulting World Series appearance validates their strengths. The reality, this off-season, is that the Dodgers have only swapped out a few bullpen arms and some aging veterans. Not much is different, but they certainly haven’t hurt their potential.
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That’s pretty impressive, given that their goal coming into this offseason was to shed payroll while still fielding a contender. I don’t expect too many more off-season moves to be made by Los Angeles, but I do see them improving incrementally as the season approaches.