Dodgers Send Prospect To Brewers For Corey Knebel

Image credit: Corey Knebel (Dylan Buell/Getty)

The Dodgers have made a habit of acquiring former closers coming off of down years, with Blake Treinen and Jake McGee the most recent examples.

They made another move in the same vein last week, acquiring Corey Knebel from the Brewers. On Friday, they sent minor league lefthander Leonardo Crawford to Milwaukee as the player to be named later.

Knebel was one of the National League’s top closers in 2017-18 but had Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. He returned in 2020 and struggled to a 6.08 ERA in 15 appearances.


Dodgers acquire:

Corey Knebel, RHP
Age: 29

The list of pitchers who struggle in their first year back from Tommy John surgery but rebound in year two is a long one, with Trevor Rosenthal a recent example. The Dodgers are hoping that will be the case with Knebel. The 2017 all-star sat 96-97 mph prior to surgery but was down to 94-95 mph this season. His curveball also dropped from 81-82 mph pre-surgery to 78 mph this year. Both pitches were dynamic, swing-and-miss offerings at their peak, so the Dodgers hope Knebel can rediscover that form as he moves further away from surgery.

Brewers acquire:

Leo Crawford, LHP
Age: 23

Crawford is a soft-tossing lefty who succeeds on deception. His fastball sits 87-88 mph and only occasionally scrapes 90-91 mph. Despite that, he went 7-4, 2.18 as a starter while reaching Double-A in 2019 because batters can’t time him up. He has a unique, stop-and-start delivery, alters the size and timing of his leg kick and dots the strike zone with solid control and command. He further disrupts hitters timing with his 77-78 mph plus changeup that looks like a fastball out of the hand and drops out of the zone, getting frequent swings and misses out front. He also has an upper-70s curveball. The Brewers have been acquiring bullpen arms with funk and deception, and Crawford fits that mold. He doesn’t have enough stuff to start in the majors, but his unique look and fastball-changeup combination give him a chance to rise as a middle reliever. 

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