Dodgers: What was the point of trading for Twins pitcher Andrew Vasquez?
You may have missed it, but right before the clock struck midnight on Aug. 31, the Los Angeles Dodgers snuck in a trade. What?! How?
They acquired left-handed pitcher Andrew Vasquez from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for catcher Stevie Berman in a minor-league trade.
Who are these people? What was the point of this?
The Dodgers obviously don’t need any additional catching depth with Will Smith and Austin Barnes on the MLB roster as well as Diego Cartaya rising in the farm system, so parting with Berman, who’s been horrible in 2021, made total sense.
And, as we know, LA will be looking for as many arms as possible to eat up innings in September to preserve their top guns, like Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, for October.
Can Vasquez help in that regard?
Here’s what Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors.com wrote of the deal:
"“The trade came in just narrowly in time for Vasquez to be an Aug. 31 addition, meaning he can technically be eligible for postseason play, should the Dodgers need to tap that far into their depth.“Vasquez, 28 later this month, was eligible to be traded by virtue of the fact that he hasn’t been on the Twins’ active or 40-man roster all season. He does have five innings of big league experience, all coming back in 2018-19 with Minnesota, during which time he’s yielded six earned runs on five hits, four walks and four hit batters with seven strikeouts.”"
The left-hander has had a good year with the Twin’s Triple-A affiliate, maintaining a 3.61 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 42.1 innings of work. The Dodgers’ bullpen could very well use the lefty help if it came down to it, especially if they want to ensure proper rest for potential bullpen weapon Alex Vesia, who threw only 4.1 innings in 2020 and is now at 31.1 in 2021.
And if they want to recall Andre Jackson and/or Mitch White now that they have two extra roster spots for the month of September, Vasquez will provide reliable depth for Triple-A Oklahoma City, which could be losing some of its top contributors.
The least likely scenario? Vasquez catches lightning if he’s called up to the big-league roster and is used in the postseason. But crazier things have happened, right?
The Dodgers are always looking ahead and patching up the very bottom of the roster to keep this team in the best position possible for the 162-game marathon. And you can bet they’re expecting a long October. Vasquez will be a part of that equation in some capacity, we just don’t know to what degree.