Baseball’s hot stove finally started to emerge from its lengthy slumber on Thursday afternoon, when the Dodgers, Royals and White Sox swung a three-way trade that involved five pitchers and an infield prospect and helped the Royals clear salary space in their pursuit of retaining free agent slugger Eric Hosmer.
White Sox acquire: Luis Avilan, LHP (MLB) Age: 28
As part of their continuing rebuild, the White Sox acquired a pair of relievers who they can flip for more prospects either now or at the trade deadline this summer. In Avilan, they get a reliable lefthander who struck out more than 10 hitters per nine innings but needs to lower his walks. He held lefthanders to a .195 average this year, and is under control until 2020.
Joakim Soria, RHP (MLB) Age: 33
Soria was an all-star twice in his first turn with Kansas City, from 2007-2011, then returned there in 2016. He rebounded a bit in 2017 after a rough year prior, putting up a 4-3, 3.70 mark in 59 relief appearances for the Royals. He struck out 64 in 56 innings and walked 20. He will make $9 million this year in the final year of his deal before a $10 million mutual option kicks in.
Dodgers acquire: Jake Peter, IF (AAA) Age: 24
Stuck behind Yoan Moncada at second base in Chicago, Peter gets a change of scenery. He profiles best as a utility player who can move around the infield and provide a little bit of home run power every now and then. A seventh-round pick out of Creighton in 2014, Peter hit .279/.344/.417 this year between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, and should compete for a spot on the Dodgers’ bench.
Scott Alexander, LHP (MLB) Age: 28
The Dodgers made moves last summer to help fortify their bullpen with the additions of Tony Cingrani from the Reds, Brandon Morrow from the Blue Jays and Tony Watson from the Pirates. Morrow has signed with the Cubs and Watson is a free agent, so the acquisition of Alexander helps replenish the pen. Alexander went 5-4, 2.48 and induced grounders at a better than 70 percent rate. With balls flying out of parks at a crazy rate, keeping the ball on the ground is at a premium.
Royals acquire: Erick Mejia, IF (AAA) Age: 23
Mejia made it to Triple-A for one game this year but spent most of his time at Double-A Tulsa. Overall, he hit .278/.344/.397 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. He also swiped 28 bases in 32 tries. He moved all around the infield this year, but spent most of his time at shortstop with stints at second and third base. He’s worked hard to smooth out his footwork and improve his defense, and could reach the big leagues as a utility player.
Trevor Oaks, RHP (MLB) Age: 24
Oaks, the Dodgers’ seventh-round choice in 2014, missed the second half of 2017 with an oblique injury but was added to the team’s 40-man roster in the winter. He’s an extreme sinkerballer whose fastball sits in the low 90s and peaks at 95. He mixes in a cutter and a slider as well, and went 4-3, 3.83 this year in the minor leagues with 81 strikeouts against 19 walks in 91.2 innings. He should compete for a spot in the Royals’ rotation this spring.