The Dodgers have lost no time in demonstrating that they will be one of the more aggressive clubs before 3 p.m. PT on Tuesday, even if there are still six days until the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline.
The Dodgers acquired shortstop Amed Rosario from the Guardians on Wednesday in exchange for right-hander Noah Syndergaard and monetary considerations after acquiring utility player Kiké Hernández from the Red Sox on Tuesday.
Rosario, a 27-year-old Dominican player, gives the Dodgers another right-handed hitter to use when facing left-handed pitchers. The Dodgers’ 8-1 loss to the Blue Jays and Yusei Kikuchi on Wednesday gave them yet another clear view of how much they still need to work on facing southpaws despite signing Hernández on Tuesday.
Despite his continued offensive struggles this year, Rosario has shown himself to be a solid choice against lefties. He has a career OPS versus lefties of.816 and a season OPS of.822.
Before the transaction for Rosario was finalized, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stated of Rosario, “I know he’s a heck of a ballplayer.”
For the Dodgers, Rosario’s defensive effectiveness is a little bit more mysterious. With a -15 defensive runs saved, the worst at the position, according to FanGraphs, the 27-year-old shortstop has been among the worst defensive players in the Majors this year. He becomes a free agency at the conclusion of the season. Despite his offensive shortcomings, Miguel Rojas gives the Dodgers a stronger defensive alternative.
One possibility is to move James Outman, who is arguably a superior contact hitter against lefties, out of the lineup and place Amed Rosario in center field. Hernández joining the fray might lead to some sort of impasse. When Rosario is brought to the roster, Yonny Hernandez will be sent back to Triple-A Oklahoma City to create place.
Over the next two months, the Dodgers hope to fit everything together. They desired to improve their bench, and by signing Hernández and Rosario, they have been able to accomplish so, at least on paper.
Dealing away Syndergaard, who was a terrible signing for the Dodgers this offseason, is a perk of the transaction, though. The right-hander, who was anticipated to play a significant role in the rotation, instead devolved into a liability and was eventually placed on the disabled list last month due to what the team described as a blister problem. With Triple-A Oklahoma City, Syndergaard pitched a few rehab games, but he struggled, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
The Dodgers have plenty of time before the start of the season to focus on the pitching staff now that they have made a few minor offensive improvements. Since Clayton Kershaw’s left shoulder injury, the starting rotation has been among the weakest in the Majors. That will be priority henceforth.
“For the most part, teams are less apt to trade before that 11th hour,” Roberts said. “And so, it’s unique and I think it’s great because all these games matter. So if there’s a player we identify that can help us win now, I applaud that. Right now, we didn’t win today, but getting Kiké acclimated I thought was a good thing.”