The Los Angeles Dodgers cleared a spot on their 40-man roster on Wednesday by trading Chase De Jong to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for shortstop Drew Jackson and right-hander Aneurys Zabala.
Jackson, a fifth-rounder out of Stanford in 2015, hit extremely well in his debut, batting .358/.432/.447 with Everett in the rookie Northwoods League. However, last year, he jumped to High-A Bakersfield and struggled with the bat, posting a .258/.332/.345 line in the California League.
But it’s Jackson’s glove that could vault him to the Majors. He’s gifted with an outstanding arm that receives 70s and 80s on the scouting scale, and is a solid to above-average defender at shortstop.
The 23-year-old can also run a bit, stealing 16 bases in 24 tries last season and 47 out of 51 in his first year as a professional.
Zabala is probably the most interesting name in the trade. Signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic, Zabala walked more than he struck out in the Dominican Summer League in his debut, working mainly as a starter.
He moved into the bullpen in 2015 and his numbers improved, but it was the following year that Zabala truly took off. He posted a 2.88 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 25 innings last season with the Mariners’ Arizona League affiliate.
With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and grazes triple digits, as well as a curveball that’s inconsistent but will flash plus, Zabala’s ultimate upside is an elite closer.
However, he’s a ways away from realizing that potential. The 20-year-old still walked 13.6 percent of the batters he faced last season and has yet to pitch in full-season ball. But, there’s plenty of time for him to develop.
Once again, the Dodgers have traded from an area of strength. While De Jong could have helped the club this season, Jackson is at least another year away even if he turns things around with his bat, and Zabala may not be out of A-ball for another season or two.
Still, Jackson’s glove and Zabala’s upside make this an interesting haul for the Dodgers.