On Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the completion of a three-team trade with the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. The Dodgers received left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander from the Royals and minor league infielder Jake Peter from the White Sox. Chicago received left-handed pitcher Luis Avilan, right-handed pitcher Joakim Soria and cash considerations, while Kansas City received infielder Erick Mejia and right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks.
The 28-year-old Alexander appeared in 58 games with the Royals last year, going 5-4 with four saves and posted a 2.48 ERA in his third big league season. He posted the second highest ground ball percentage among MLB relievers at 73.3%, which is something that the Dodgers bullpen needed, especially now when the balls appear to be flying farther. Against 392 batters last season, he only allowed four home runs. He also ranked second among AL relievers in opponents grounded into double plays with 13, was third in grounded into double play percentage with 22.4%, and 12th in ERA. He limited the opposition to a .246 average, while striking out 59 batters against 28 walks in an even 69 innings.
Since making his big league debut in 2015, Alexander ranks second in the big leagues with a 72.9 ground ball percentage behind only Zach Britton’s 78.4%. He was originally selected by Kansas City in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB draft out of Sonoma State University. Presumably, he will replace free agent Tony Watson as the main lefty in the Los Angeles bullpen.
Peter, 24, split the 2017 season between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham in the White Sox organization, combining to hit .279 with 63 runs, 19 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 49 RBI and 11 stolen bases over 120 games. Peter spent the majority of the season playing second base, but also appeared in eight games at third base, nine games in left field and five games in right field. Over four minor league seasons, he has posted a .282/.347/.394 slash line with 86 doubles, 24 homers and 185 RBI in 440 games. The Mason City, Iowa native was selected by the White Sox in the seventh round of the 2014 draft out of Creighton University.
The 28-year-old Avilan appeared in 61 games for the Dodgers last season, going 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA and limited hitters to a .246 average. Over three seasons with Los Angeles, he went 5-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 111 games and held the opposition to a .226 average, while striking out 98 batters against 37 walks. Avilan is out of options and eligible for his third arbitration, while Alexander will be under the Dodgers control for the next five seasons.
Oaks, 24, combined to go 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 19 games—18 of which were starts—across three levels of the farm last year. He was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2014 draft out of California Baptist University, and went 31-13 with a 3.27 ERA in 80 games over four seasons with the Dodgers organization.
The 23-year-old Mejia combined to hit .278 with eight home runs and 41 RBI in 127 games last season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in his sixth professional season after being acquired in a trade from the Mariners in January of 2016.
In addition to adding a lefty ground ball pitcher to their bullpen and a left-handed hitting infielder to the 40-man roster, this trade allows the Dodgers to save $2 million in luxury tax. Once all the transactions clear, the Los Angeles 40-man roster will remain full at 40 players.
(Dai Sugiura furnished some information provided in this report)