Forsythe, 30, has combined to hit 57 doubles, 37 homers and drive in 120 runs in 280 games with Tampa Bay over the past two seasons, including batting .264 with 52 RBI and setting career-best marks with 20 home runs, four triples and 76 runs scored as the Rays’ primary leadoff man in 127 games last year.
Hitting in the middle of the Rays’ lineup in 2015, Forsythe led Tampa Bay qualifiers with a .281 batting average, a .359 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage, but perhaps more importantly posted a .299/.373/.599 slash line against left-handed pitching. His .599 slugging percentage against southpaw pitchers ranked third in the American League in 2015, behind only Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson.
The right-handed hitting Memphis native has a .255 career batting average with 55 homers and 203 RBI in 618 games in six big-league seasons combined with the Padres and Rays after being selected by San Diego in the first round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Arkansas. The 6’1″, 205 lb. Forsythe has primarily appeared at second base during the course of his career posting a .980 fielding percentage over 456 games, but has also seen action at third base, first base, shortstop and in the outfield.
Forsythe’s current contract stands at $5,75 million and runs through the upcoming season, but has a $9 million club option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.
“We feel like he will fit in incredibly well within the fabric of our group. He’s a great fit. He’s a grinder, professional hitter, can really handle left-handed pitching as well as right,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said of Forsythe. “He has some versatility, is a good base runner, and we felt like was the type of player we needed to be aggressive to add to our current group.”
De León, who was recently rated as the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, went 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts in his first big-league action in 2016. The 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City last year and has posted a 23-13 career record with a 3.35 ERA in 67 games in four minor league seasons in the Los Angeles organization after being selected in the 24th round of the 2013 draft out of Southern University.
De León’s fastball, which has a fair amount of late movement and sits in the 93-96 MPH range, is certainly his best offering. His slider rates a little above-average but continues to improve over time. His changeup is far and away his best off-speed pitch, as he’s not afraid to use it when behind in the count and often uses it as his strikeout pitch.
Many scouts around baseball familiar with De León project him to be a solid No. 3 starter down the road, yet as time goes by, his ceiling seemingly continues to rise.
(Jon Chapper furnished some information provided in this report)