The Los Angeles Dodgers completed their trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, sending outfield prospect Niko Hulsizer in exchange for Adam Kolarek.
For weeks leading up to the MLB trade deadline, it appeared as though the Dodgers would acquire one or possibly multiple big-league relievers to bolster their struggling bullpen.
They had been heavily linked to Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star Felipe Vazquez, New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz and Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene. All three had made an All-Star game in either 2018 or 2019 (or, in Vazquez’s case, both years).
As it turned out, though, neither Vazquez nor Diaz was traded while Greene was dealt to the Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers seemed most focused on trying to trade for Vazquez. But the team balked at trading either infielder Gavin Lux or pitcher Dustin May to Pittsburgh in a potential deal for Vazquez.
While Kolarek does not have the resume of a star reliever, he fills the Dodgers’ biggest need as a lefty who has dominated same-handed hitters this season. In 80 plate appearances against him in 2019, left-handed batters are hitting just .187/.238/.293.
Overall, Kolarek has a 3.95 ERA and 1.27 WHIP this season. He appears to be on a hot streak at present time, with a 2.40 ERA over 15 innings dating back to June 27.
The Dodgers needed a left-handed pitcher in their bullpen once Scott Alexander suffered a setback in his injury rehab. Alexander was having a mediocre year while Caleb Ferguson also struggled.
Tony Cingrani, already set to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jedd Gyorko on Wednesday.
That left Julio Urias as the only reliable left-handed reliever in the Dodgers’ bullpen. While Urias could play a crucial role there in the postseason, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has suggested the former top prospect could return to the starting rotation by then as well.
Hulsizer, the prospect going from the Dodgers to the Rays, has split time between designated hitter and left field for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and Low-A Great Lakes Loons this season. He does not appear in the Dodgers’ 30 top prospects, per MLBPipeline. Hulsizer hit .259/.327/.506 in 98 plate appearances for the Quakes.
Also on Wednesday, the Dodgers traded Rocky Gale to the Rays in exchange for cash considerations.