Image credit: Brian Dozier (Photo by Tomasso Derosa)
With second base continuing to be a problem spot for the Dodgers, they decided to get active.
The Dodgers acquired Brian Dozier from the Twins on Tuesday, sending back veteran second baseman Logan Forsythe and two prospects in return: lefthander Devin Smeltzer and outfielder Luke Raley.
The Dodgers famously tried to acquire Dozier before the start of the 2017 season, but refused to surrender Cody Bellinger. Now, a year and a half later, they get him at a much more affordable price.
Brian Dozier, 2B
The Dodgers acquired Manny Machado to take over shortstop, but rather than slide Chris Taylor over to second base, they put him back in the outfield and continued to go with a Logan Forsythe/Chase Utley/Kike Hernandez rotation at the keystone. Once Justin Turner got hurt and Machado had to slide over to third base and Taylor back to shortstop, their lack of viable options at second base only increased. As such, the Dodgers acquired Dozier in the midst of a down year for the former All-Star. He’s batting .225/.305/.402, all full-season career lows, but that’s still a marked upgrade from the Dodgers’ other second base options, who have batted a combined .213/.303/.287 on the year. Like Machado, Forsythe will be a free agent after this year.
Logan Forsythe, 2B
Forsythe has consistently declined the last three seasons, cratering with a .220/.270/.290 line this year. His inclusion in the deal helps the Dodgers offset Dozier’s salary (both Forsythe and Dozier are making $9 million this season) and enables the Twins to access two interesting prospects. He will be a free agent at the end of this season.
Luke Raley, OF/1B
Raley ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 26 prospect entering the year and enhanced his stock by continuing to hit and hit for power in Double-A, batting .275/.343/.477 with 17 home runs in 93 games for Tulsa. Raley is a muscular lefthanded hitter with a potent bat. He shows power to all fields, and has the bat speed and swing path to get to it without sacrificing average. He strikes out a little much, but it mainly has to do with maintaining competitive at-bats every time up to the plate rather than a fundamental flaw in his swing or pitch recognition. Raley is a solid defender in the corner outfield who gets good pre-pitch reads, closes on ground balls well and has an above-average, accurate arm. He’s started playing some first base this season as well to enhance his versatility. Raley isn’t overly explosive or toolsy, but he does a lot of things well and optimistic evaluators see the chance for him to become an everyday left fielder who hits 20 or more home runs a season. Even those lower on Raley see him as a valuable fourth outfielder/first base type who can bring lefthanded power off the bench.
Devin Smeltzer, LHP
Smelzter survived childhood bladder cancer and became a fifth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016. He has steadily climbed their system and was 5-5, 4.74 in 23 appearances (14 starts) at Double-A Tulsa this season. Smeltzer has decent command and an above-average changeup, but his fastball has ticked down from 90-93 mph to 88-90 in his starts this season. His arm action is a little violent and makes him a reliever for most evaluators, and he’s pitched the last month exclusively out of the bullpen. Smeltzer throws strikes, and his ticket to the majors will be if he can improve against lefthanded batters (currently batting .289/.326/.446 against him) and rise as a lefty specialist.