Dodgers: What to make of Dennis Santana trade?

Jerry Trotta
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 04: Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch during the second inning of game one of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 04, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 04: Dennis Santana #77 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch during the second inning of game one of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 04, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers had an off day on Thursday, but that didn’t stop the front office from getting busy on the transaction front.

In a big boost for the bullpen, the Dodgers activated left-hander Garrett Cleavinger, who hit the injured list back on May 18 with elbow inflammation.

In a corresponding move, they demoted outfielder Luke Raley to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Perhaps more noteworthy, though, is that the Dodgers officially cut ties with former highly-touted pitching prospect Dennis Santana, sending the young right-hander to the Rangers in exchange for minor league southpaw Kelvin Bautista.

The Dodgers actually designated Santana for assignment last weekend, so give the front office some credit for getting something in return for the 25-year-old.

In any event, let’s try to dissect the trade and see if it was a good decision.

The Dodgers parted ways with former pitching prospect Dennis Santana.

Some fans were surprised by the Dodgers’ decision to DFA Santana, so we could only imagine their collective reaction when they caught wind that he was traded.

After all, Santana was part of the club’s rich generation of young pitchers and received similar hype to the likes of Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin. While the latter two are seemingly locked into the rotation moving forward, the jury is still out on Gonsolin’s future.

It’s always dispiriting when a homegrown talent leaves, but Santana’s departure hits differently in that he never lived up to his potential. At the end of the day, however, the young righty’s inability to throw strikes at a consistent rate ultimately led to his demise.

The worst part of it all? Santana seemed to rectify this shortcoming during spring training when he owned a 10/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Over his 16 regular season appearances, however, he regressed to the tune of eight strikeouts to 11 base on balls and the Dodgers simply got tired of banking on his potential and decided moving on was in everybody’s best interest.

That’s really all there is to it, folks.

For as gutting as it is to see Santana leave on these terms, there’s a silver lining to be had in the value Bautista brings to the Dodgers’ farm system. The 21-year-old had been with the Rangers since 2017 and has managed a 3-1 record to go with a 3.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 32 minor league games (56 innings).

It might be a while before we see Bautista promoted to the big time, but, considering Santana’s inability to resolve his greatest pitfall and the upside Bautista brings as a young left-hander, fans would be hard-pressed having a gripe with this deal.

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