Yesterday’s treasure, tomorrow’s … treasure for someone else. Baseball can be a strange and fast-moving game (well, off the field, at least), and Dodgers champion Brusdar Graterol might be midway through a reality check.
Graterol, who arrived in the multi-team trade highlighted by Mookie Betts last spring, became a Dodger in large part because the Boston Red Sox didn’t want him, concerned about the injury risk he brought with his arsenal.
In 2020, they were dead wrong! Graterol breezed through the shortened regular season, with a 140 ERA+ along with a stunningly low 13 Ks in 23.1 innings pitched, odd for a guy who throws 100+ but less odd for a guy who mostly secures grounders with his power sinker.
In 2021? Eh … not so much …
Los Angeles’ priorities have shifted a bit, and though they’re still looking for bullpen fortification, Graterol hasn’t been able to provide it this season, starting 2021 on the IL and shuttling back and forth to post a 6.43 ERA in seven innings of work.
The Dodgers could use a bullpen boost, but might be shuttling Graterol off elsewhere before acquiring more relievers who they aren’t familiar with. According to Jeff Passan, teams are asking around.
Will the Dodgers trade Brusdar Graterol?
A few months ago, this felt unfathomable, but now? It … makes sense. Relievers are the most fungible asset a team can have, and though this feels like selling low in theory, the Dodgers won’t pull the trigger unless a lot of teams are buzzing.
And we’re hearing the rumor because a lot of teams are buzzing … so …
It’s tough to speculate on potential interested parties, but this feels like the type of thing a contender-ish team betting on a bounce back during a hybrid rebuild might be into. The Rays? The Yankees? The Cardinals?
Consider all the Dodgers do, historically, is bail out the Red Sox, this might not be too far off the table, either.
What once looked like flawed medicals when Graterol was the supposed centerpiece of a Betts sale might be an opportunity to hover at the margins and pounce now.
Hopefully, Chaim Bloom doesn’t read this, and LA can get fair value without helping out an American League frenemy yet again.