The Dodgers have been very public in their search for an everyday second baseman and on Monday—after weeks of talks of trading for the Twins’ Brian Dozier—instead pulled the trigger on a deal with the Rays for Logan Forsythe, who was acquired by Dodgers president Andrew Friedman when Friedman was GM of the Rays.
For the Rays, the addition of another major league-ready starter allows them to trade a pitcher such as Jake Odorizzi or Alex Cobb or perhaps even ace Chris Archer, who would bring a sizable return, perhaps along the lines of what Chris Sale did for the White Sox.
“We are very excited to add Jose De Leon to the Rays organization. He’s a talented starting pitching prospect who can soon become a key member of our major league rotation,” general manager Erik Neander said in a statement. “It’s a bittersweet day, though, as we part ways with Logan Forsythe in this trade. He’s not only a first-class player, but he’s also a great teammate and leader in the clubhouse. We will miss him, and we thank him for all he did as a Ray.”
Jose De Leon, rhp
In acquiring Jose De Leon, the Rays are getting a pitcher with a strong track record of missing bats but who comes with question marks on his durability. De Leon was a terrific late-round find by the Dodgers, who drafted De Leon in the 24th round in 2013. His physical conditioning improved after he signed, his stuff improved and so did his stock during the 2014 season, quickly becoming one of the Dodgers' best pitching prospects. His fastball sits at 89-94 mph and touches 96, with his velocity mostly resting in the lower end of that range early in the season. He doesn't overpower hitters with his fastball, but the pitch has late life and he hides the ball well in his delivery, so the ball jumps on hitters faster than they expect, leading to empty swings in the strike zone. De Leon's out pitch is his changeup, a 60 on the 20-80 scale with good separation off his fastball. He's able to get swing-and-miss on his changeup against both lefties and righties. De Leon's slider is an average pitch, one some scouts would like to see him use more. De Leon missed a ton of bats in the minors, but he has to show he can handle a starter's full season workload. In 2016, De Leon's velocity was down in spring training, so the Dodgers held him back to ramp him up. He threw five scoreless innings on May 3 for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but he felt shoulder tightness and missed another month. When he returned, he overmatched Pacific Coast League hitters, then got called up to Los Angeles. He only threw 103 innings in 2016, one year after his stuff fizzled at the end of a career-high 115 innings in 2015, with a delivery that will always require some maintenance. If De Leon can maintain the stuff he showed at the end of 2016 over a full season, he can be a mid-rotation starter, possibly as soon as this year.
— Ben Badler
|Oklahoma City (AAA)||7||1||2.61||16||16||0||86.1||61||9||20||111||.194|
|Los Angeles (NL)||2||0||6.35||4||4||0||17||19||5||7||15||.288|
Logan Forsythe, 2b
A supplemental first-round pick of the Padres in 2008 out of Arkansas, Forsythe’s versatility stretches back to his amateur days when he played all over the infield. A solid defender who primarily plays second base but can also play outfield corners, third base and even shortstop, Forsythe’s offensive production has taken off with regular playing time in Tampa Bay, and he reached a career high with 20 homers this season. His strikeout and walk percentages were essentially in line with career norms, as was his average on balls in play. His hard contact rate was by far a career high, and his soft contact was a career-low 11.7 percent. Forsythe is also reasonably priced, as he is set to earn $5.75 million in 2017, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, with an $8.5 million option for 2018 that comes with a $1 million buyout. He’s expected to see the bulk of time at second base with the Dodgers.