The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a three-team trade with the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox, acquiring left-handed reliever Scott Alexander from the Royals and Minor League infielder Jake Peter from the White Sox.
As a part of the trade, the Dodgers sent left-handed reliever Luis Avilan to the White Sox, and prospects Trevor Oaks and Erick Mejia to the Royals. The White Sox also received reliever Joakim Soria from the Royals and cash considerations.
The deal gives the Dodgers one of the best groundball relievers in all of baseball, as Alexander’s 73.3 percent groundball rate last season was second only to Zach Britton’s 74.3 percent among qualifying Major League relievers.
Overall, Alexander appeared in 58 games (69 innings) for the Royals last season, yielding a 2.48 ERA, 3.23 FIP and 1.30 WHIP. The 28-year-old still has five years left of team control and two options left, whereas Avilan was out of options.
Additionally, the Dodgers saved some salary by trading Avilan, furthering their efforts to remain below the luxury tax threshold this season.
Alexander will likely fill Tony Watson’s role in the bullpen as a late-inning lefty reliever who can get out hitters from both sides of the plate, pairing him with Tony Cingrani.
Peter was a seventh-round pick of the White Sox in 2014 out of Creighton University. In four Minor League seasons, he is a career .282/.347/.394 hitter. In 2017 he batted .279/.344/.417 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in 120 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Peter will fill in the organizational infield depth that Charlie Culberson left behind when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves earlier this offseason.
Avilan went 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA last season but was limited down the stretch and into the playoffs because to a shoulder injury. He’s eligible for salary arbitration and is out of options, which may have influenced the Dodgers to swap left-handed relievers.
Oaks was a seventh-round draft pick of the Dodgers in 2014. He appeared in 16 games (15 starts) for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017, going 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 84 innings of work.
Given the Dodgers pitching depth ahead of him, Oaks likely would not have contributed much at the big league level in 2018, although he felt he could have filled the hybrid starter/long reliever role that Ross Stripling has filled.
Mejia, the final part of the trade on the Dodgers end, is a 23-year-old infielder out of the Dominican Republic. In 123 games at three Minor League levels in 2017, he hit .278/.344/.397 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. Mejia does have plus speed, as he stole 28 bases in 32 attempts.
The Dodgers now have one open spot on their 40-man roster with the addition of Alexander and subtractions of Avilan and Oaks.