On May 15, four days after the Tampa Bay Rays designated Tsutsugo for assignment, he was traded to the Dodgers for a player to be named later.
He had signed a two-year contract worth $12 million with the Rays in the 2019 offseason.
It isn’t too big of a surprise that the Dodgers linked up with Tampa Bay to get him, considering the trade history in recent years between the two clubs and the Dodgers’ need for a lefty hitter with outfield experience.
The Dodgers have already cut Yoshi Tsutsugo loose.
Andrew Friedman, the President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers, was previously the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Rays. He joined the Dodgers in 2014, and since then, the Dodgers and Rays have been involved with multiple trades, including for Sergio Romo and Travis d’Arnaud.
Before Tsutsugo landed on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain, he’d only played in 12 games with the Dodgers. Over those 12 games, his average was .167 with no home runs, two RBI and two runs scored.
It’s safe to say that when the slugger came over from Japan, the hope would be that he would continue the performance that he had with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. In his 2019 season, he had a .272 average across 131 games and 464 at-bats, hitting 29 home runs and piling up 79 RBI.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case, even after spending some time in the minors on his rehab assignment. Since hitting the injured list and joining the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Tsutsugo appeared in 15 games. He had a .138 average, hitting three home runs and notching seven RBI over 58 at-bats.
Although the outfielder has been outrighted off the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, he will remain with the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
This way, he’ll remain with the organization and the Dodgers can have more time to see if he is “fixable.” It’s possible that he could be looked at again down the road if his performance improves and there’s a need for him again on the big league team.
However, so far, not so good. He hasn’t at all been the stabilizing lefty outfield bat the Dodgers had hoped for, and they might have to aim higher.
As the July 30 trade deadline approaches, this could force the team to make a move to add more depth to the roster. And why not shoot for the stars this time?
Could outfielder Joey Gallo be the next addition to the ball club? Gallo has that lefty-hitting power the team was trying to obtain at a discount with Tsutsugo, and quite obviously has skills in the outfield. He’s always been a solid player and would be an exciting one to get before the deadline.
Also, though he bats righty, is it crazy to think that Kris Bryant could join the Dodgers? The Cubbies aren’t having the greatest season so far and Bryant becomes a free agent after this season. Although his trade value may be a bit lower now than before as his years of control expire, it wouldn’t be a shock to hear that clubs could look at him as an option.
The trade deadline is one of my favorite times of the year, and it could prove very interesting to see just who the Dodgers might pick up. Here’s to hoping for some exciting notifications as I stay glued to my phone!