LA Dodgers: Alex Wood signing a good low-risk move

Alex Wood returns to the LA Dodgers on a one-year deal.

Last Sunday, the LA Dodgers announced they were bringing back left-handed pitcher Alex Wood on a one-year, $4 million deal (with another $6 million in potential incentives). Wood had previously spent four seasons in LA, including an All-Star 2017 campaign, before being shipped off to Cincinnati in a salary dump last offseason.

He spent the majority of his lone season with the Reds on the Injured List with a bad back, making just seven starts.

The Dodgers originally acquired the former Georgia Bulldog at the deadline in 2015, in a three-team deal that sent Hector Olivera to Atlanta. After a solid showing with the Dodgers at the end of 2015, Wood began the 2016 season in the rotation. However, a litany of elbow injuries limited him to just 10 starts and four relief appearances.

Wood began the 2017 season in the bullpen, but was put back in the rotation following an injury to Rich Hill. Wood went on an absolute tear upon rejoining the rotation, going on a historic 10-0 start. The 6-foot-1 left-hander ended the season with a 16-3 record, 2.72 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 151 strikeouts over 152.1 innings, and made his first All-Star appearance.

Wood regressed in 2018, perhaps expectedly so, but remained a solid contributor, posting a 3.68 ERA over 27 starts and six appearances out of the ‘pen.

Unfortunately, Wood’s 2019 production wasn’t at nearly the level it had been in LA. A back injury kept him sidelined until late July. He made only seven starts before re-aggravating the injury, and was shut down for the final month of the season. Those seven starts didn’t go exactly as planned either, as Wood compiled a 5.80 ERA. Most alarmingly, he gave up 11 home runs in just 35.2 innings. The long ball had never been a problem for Wood, as he only surrendered .8HR/9 for his career and it was a small sample size.

Taking a flyer is a good, relatively under-the-radar signing by the Dodgers front office. Wood has the potential to make a significant contribution to the rotation, but if that doesn’t pan out, he’s on a club-friendly deal, and will be a familiar face in the clubhouse.

Personally, I really like this move. Admittedly Wood’s 2019 wasn’t very confidence inspiring, and there’s the added injury risk of his unorthodox delivery. However I feel given his track record, Wood has a good chance of providing the Dodgers with meaningful innings in 2020.