Dodgers acquire IF/DH Yoshi Tsutsugo from Rays in another weird trade

Adam Weinrib
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Yoshi Tsutsugo #25 of the Tampa Bay Rays fields during the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on May 08, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 08: Yoshi Tsutsugo #25 of the Tampa Bay Rays fields during the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on May 08, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers shocked the baseball world on Saturday by adding a scuffling DH type to a roster that already felt complete and is still considered the World Series favorite.

Oh, and they also signed Albert Pujols.

Yes, a few hours after being revealed as the mystery team making an effort to finish Pujols’ career with a ring, it turned out Los Angeles had another trick up their sleeve.

A few days after the Rays cut bait on a rare free agent failure and released Yoshitomo Tsutsugo into the wild, the Dodgers have come down with him, rounding out their bench with a player who can play third, first and left, but is known more for his bat than his glove.

How did we get here? How did LA decide to complete their roster with two round pegs in square holes?

Who knows? Unfortunately, this was the move that resulted from Edwin Rios’ trip to the 60-Day IL.

Very strange the Dodgers have acquired Yoshi Tsutsugo.

Tsutsugo, expected to be a veteran bopper and power threat when he arrived prior to the 2020 season, hit just .197 with an impressive .314 OBP and eight homers. In 16 playoff at-bats, he produced just a pair of hits, striking out just three times.

This year looked much bleaker for Tsutsugo, too, with 28 whiffs in 78 at-bats to the tune of a 39 OPS+. Nobody’s hitting in 2021, but Tsutsugo’s really not hitting in 2021.

There’s something Los Angeles likes here, though, as they raced to the front of the line when he became available, even after the Pujols opportunity materialized.

How did the Dodgers cut to the front of the line here? In essence, they bribed the Rays, sneaking them slightly more money than Tsutsugo’s remaining prorated salary to get the first crack at acquiring him.

They must’ve really wanted a semi-versatile partial DH and supposed slugger hours after adding a 41-year-old future Hall of Famer and current DH.

Weird! Just so weird.

For now, Sheldon Neuse, DJ Peters and Luke Raley have been shunted aside in favor of Tsutsugo and Pujols, two burly sluggers whose best days are likely behind them, but who can theoretically pop one or take a clutch walk.

Certainly, both men are major leaguers.

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