It didn’t take long for Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to make his presence felt.
Six weeks after joining the Dodgers front office, Friedman completed a seven-player trade with the Miami Marlins.
Gone were All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, starting pitcher Dan Haren and utility infielder Miguel Rojas.
In return, the Dodgers received Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney and Kiké Hernandez. Heaney was then flipped to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Of the Dodgers’ haul, Hatcher was expected to make the quickest impact. The Los Angeles bullpen again struggled in 2014 and the hard-throwing right-hander figured to be a useful reliever.
However, aside from earning a save on Opening Day against the San Diego Padres, Hatcher’s first half of the 2015 season left plenty to be desired. He was placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain in June and missed the next two months.
Although unable to pitch, Hatcher said the time on the DL provided him with the opportunity to reflect on how to improve, according to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:
“You have at least a month where you can’t do anything with an oblique, so I just sat there,” he recalled. “I didn’t feel sorry for myself or anything like that. It was just, ‘What can I do to get healthy, and what can I do to be better when I get back?’ Obviously, I wasn’t very good before I got hurt. I think it was just finding the confidence to go out (with my) best stuff and throw any pitch at any certain count. I just went out there and pitched rather than avoiding contact. I went out there and let myself play.”
In 27 games prior to the All-Star break, Hatcher posted an abysmal 6.38 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and had 19 strikeouts to seven walks over 18.1 innings. During the second half he had a 1.31 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and six walks over 22 games (20.2 innings).
From August through October, Hatcher had 26 strikeouts, a 1.31 ERA and 3.52 FIP in 22 relief appearances (20.2 innings). He allowed just one run over his last 13 games. The 30 year old then threw 3.2 hitless innings in the National League Division Series against the New York Mets.