Dodgers trading lefty reliever to Athletics in four-player deal

Adam Kolarek - Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Adam Kolarek - Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

A trade with the Oakland Athletics?! We all know what you’re hoping, but no, Matt Chapman will not be heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers. At least not today.

While we still wait for that marquee Andrew Friedman offseason blockbuster trade, we’ll have to settle on this four-player deal with the A’s on Friday.

This ostensibly clears a 40-man roster spot for Los Angeles, because we highly doubt either of the guys they acquired will be contributing at the MLB level in the coming months.

The Dodgers are sending left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek, who was on the 40-man, and outfielder Cody Thomas to Oakland in exchange for prospect infielder Sheldon Neuse and prospect starter Gus Varland.

Neuse made his MLB debut back in 2019 and appeared in 25 games, but didn’t see any action in 2020. Varland is still in the minors, last making a stop at High-A.

Could this mean the Dodgers are gearing up for a Justin Turner reunion? After all, they cleared Trevor Bauer’s roster spot on Thursday by dumping pitcher Josh Sborz.

However, Neuse was on the Athletics’ 40-man roster, so it would appear we’ll have to wait and see what the deal is when the Dodgers make their official announcement. It’s hard to believe the Dodgers are going to use a 40-man spot on a 26-year-old who has 25 career games under his belt, but he dominated at Triple-A in 2019 and can play second, shortstop, third and some outfield. That type of versatility could be valuable for LA.

As for Varland, the 24-year-old owns a 1.54 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 18 minor league games (15 starts) after being drafted in 2018. The right-hander has 77 strikeouts in 64.1 career innings.

As for who the Dodgers surrendered, Kolarek is the headliner here. The lefty specialist was tremendous for the team in his 46 games across 2019 and 2020. He registered a 0.88 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in the regular season, but was tagged for five earned runs on nine hits and three walks in 4.1 postseason innings this past year. Perhaps that was all the Dodgers needed to see.

Thomas, a slugging prospect outfielder, last played at Double-A in 2019. He cranked 23 homers and 76 RBI in 130 games, but batted just .230 with a .751 OPS. We can safely say the Dodgers can afford to trade from any outfield depth they may have for obvious reasons.

Stay tuned for an official announcement to determine if this will free up a 40-man roster spot or not.