Just minutes before the Dodgers became the talk of baseball with the Yu Darvish trade, they made a much more minor move to help their bullpen. With the Reds still in the midst of their rebuild, they were happy to trade lefty reliever Tony Cingrani to Los Angeles in a move that brought back big league outfielder Scott Van Slyke and catching prospect Hendrik Clementina.
Van Slyke’s inclusion in this deal has more to do with balancing salary (Van Slyke makes $1.33 million) than any significant upgrade to the Reds outfield. Van Slyke’s specialty has been mashing against lefthanded pitchers while playing a variety of outfield spots, but as a 30-year-old, he’s at an age where many platoon outfielders of his type are on the downside of their careers. With Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Jesse Winker set in Cincinnati in the outfield, Van Slyke would not appear to be a part of the Reds’ long-term plans. He’s arbitration eligible after the season.
|Los Angeles (NL)||.122||29||41||6||5||1||0||2||3||7||15||1||.250||.293|
|Oklahoma City (AAA)||.242||55||182||30||44||12||0||5||20||19||54||1||.332||.390|
Clementina is a hitter first and foremost. He’s a slow-twitch catcher with some stiffness to his body. He’s raw behind the plate with plenty of work to do as a receiver. But he has good hands and hand-eye coordination that give him a chance to hit. He needs a lot of work to clean up his catching and he’ll have to stay on top of his conditioning and flexibility to stay behind the plate.
Cingrani gives the Dodgers another lefthander in the bullpen, adding depth at what has been a spot of weakness, but he’s been ineffective against lefties and his fastball-heavy approach has left him homer prone throughout his career. Cingrani’s 93-95 mph fastball has always had good deception and can generate swings and misses, but his lack of a consistent second pitch leaves hitters with too little to worry about. This year lefties have hit six home runs off of Cingrani in just 43 plate appearances for an .829 slugging percentage. While Cingrani will help the club with innings in August and September, barring a significant turnaround, it’s hard to see him pitching significant innings for the Dodgers in the postseason. Cingrani is arbitration-eligible this offseason, making him a non-tender candidate.