Dodgers Acquire Brian Dozier, John Axford Before 2018 Non-Waiver Deadline


Similar to years past, the Dodgers waited until the closing hours of the 2018 non-waiver deadline to make multiple additions to the player roster. To compliment its move two weeks ago in gaining Manny Machado, the club acquired infielder Brian Dozier from the Twins and righty reliever John Axford from the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

In the deal for Dozier, the Dodgers sent infielder Logan Forsythe, first baseman/outfielder Luke Raley, and righty pitcher Devin Smeltzer to Minnesota. Furthermore, it was reported that there was no money exchanged between the two clubs.

Raley was ranked as the 19th best prospect in the Dodgers system according to MLB pipeline.

Smeltzer was 5-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 23 contests for Double-A Tulsa this season.

The 31-year-old Forsythe appeared in 70 games with the Dodgers this year, batting .207 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI. Over two seasons with Los Angeles, he has hit .218 with eight home runs and 49 RBI along with a .325 on-base percentage in 189 games. With the departure of Forsythe, the Dodgers will still remain below the cap of the luxury tax threshold.

Dozier was hitting a meager .224/.305/.402 before the trade went through; however, his power numbers were respectable—16 long balls and 52 RBI alongside 21 doubles. According to Inside Edge, Dozier is slugging .721 (119 total bases in 165 AB) on inside fastballs since the start of 2016, which is third best in MLB, with the league average being 482. He has also pulled 55.8% of balls he’s put into play (177/317) this season which is the third highest in MLB, with the league average being 45.8%.

The right-handed hitting Mississippi native obviously provides more offensive power to an already stacked Los Angeles lineup. With the prospective return of Justin Turner in the next week or so, it gives the team to use the versatile Chris Taylor in more of a super-utility role, while it also appears that Max Muncy will now see most of his time at first base.

In the Axford trade, the Dodgers sent righty reliever Corey Copping to Toronto.

Copping, a native of Pasadena, has posted a 4-0 record with three saves and a 2.52 ERA in 35 combined games with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Tulsa this season. He combined to limit hitters to a .224 average and struck out 59 batters against 26 walks.

The 35-year-old Axford appeared in 45 contests for the Blue Jays this season, going 4-1 with a 4.41 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .234 average. The Simcoe, Canada native has been strong against left-handed hitters this season, limiting the opposition to a .147 average. He has pitched well in 11 games during the month of July, going 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA and has limited batters to a .200 average, while striking out 16 against four walks.

It is rumored that Dozier is on board a fight to Los Angeles, putting him in a position to play in Tuesday’s matchup with the Brewers at Dodger Stadium.


37 thoughts on “Dodgers Acquire Brian Dozier, John Axford Before 2018 Non-Waiver Deadline

  1. I have no complaints about the Dozier deal save that it should’ve been made TWO YEARS AGO (lol). Axford deal was a classic low-risk/high-reward Friedman move. He should be able to give that pen another weapon to use against tough left-handed hitters down the stretch. Still need that key 8th-inning Jansen “bridge”, though. Was hoping they’d go all in on Kela of the Rangers, but it wasn’t to be:::sigh:::guess they’re banking on Cingrani and Fields to bounce back from their shoulder woes fairly soon. Who knows, maybe Manny Banuelos and Ariel Hernandez could get a look-see at some point in the meantime…

  2. One thing you can count on with this FO is, none of us have a clue about what they are thinking. I was shocked by the dozier deal, but now that it is done, it makes sense, insurance, in case J.T. is not himself. This will push Taylor to the outfield, once J.T. is back, doesn’t look like verdugo, or Toles will be seeing many Mlb at bats the rest of this season. Hell I didn’t even know who axeford was until today. Oh well in Friedman I trust.

  3. I like the fact that Dozier is trying to get out here in time to play tonight. Seems like just the kind of player he is which means he’ll fit in perfectly. Everyone I’ve heard seems to think Bellinger will be the regular centerfielder and CT3 will revert to a utility guy. The race is so close that if Belli keeps on hitting (or not hitting) the way he has recently, I think that CT3 will get most of the time in center. Of course, that assumes that Muncy will keep hitting and will be the regular first baseman. Lots of options, and as Keith mentioned, Verdugo and Toles won’t be up again until September, unless there are injuries. I’m really not happy with what I’m seeing on Bellinger’s at bats, and with the division title on the line, I don’t think they owe him at bats if he doesn’t stop trying to hit a homer on every at bat. Maybe I’m not being fair to him and instead of being stubborn, maybe there is just a major flaw in his mechanics, but it needs to be solved quickly or we’re better off with Verdugo or Toles here and Cody working on his problems at OKC. I would love to get the back story on why we didn’t get a high-end reliever. I realize that the guys we have here now have performed pretty well recently but I can’t say that I have great confidence in their ability to continue that during the playoffs with added pressure on every pitch. I guess that part of the thinking that factored into all of this is that ultimately Stripling, Maeda and Urias might be three of our bullpen guys and if you add Kenley, Alexander, Cingrani, Floro and Fields/Chargois/Ferguson/Goeddel (choose 1 or 2) you have a fairly impressive group to go into the playoffs with.

    1. Yup, if Bellinger continues to struggle through next month you can bet either Verdugo or Toles are gonna force him out of that lineup for good when rosters finally expand in September. Very disappointed in his regression of late, almost as if he’s just too young and stubborn to stick to the adjustments the Dodgers had him make at the plate AND THEY WERE WORKING! Dodgers have been known to go with the hot hand down the stretch like they did last year when they finally bypassed a struggling Grandal for a hot-hitting Barnes late in the season and well into the playoffs. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them repeat that with Bellinger this season for that matter…

    2. There’s still the entirety of August to make a waiver deal. If somebody like the Nats plummet way out of the race, maybe they’ll try to get some youngsters back for Herrera or Doolittle. In the meantime, it gives Dodgers management the chance to do some in-house tinkering.

      1. Axford’s an interesting guy. I hope he sticks around long enough and pitches well enough that we can fully enjoy his personality.

      1. Nice try Dennis, but not likely I’ll decide to make a 120 mile round trip to see a rehab start. We can have Manuel follow the broadcast and give us his take. 🙂

      2. Works for me, Jeff. Btw, Julio Urias finally made his first rehab start yesterday for the AZL Dodgers. Went an inning and two-thirds of scoreless baseball before the game was postponed due to bad weather. He was probably done anyway, knowing that the Dodgers are already grooming him for eventual bullpen duty when he’s ready to be called up.

      3. Considering which of our prospects (and how many) we could have traded in the last couple of weeks, we really still have almost everyone of any importance. Still a very strong system. Of course there’s always the Winter Meetings.

      4. The Dodgers traded 10 prospects this month:
        James Marinan
        Aneurys Zabala
        Yusniel Diaz
        Dean Kremer
        Rylan Bannon
        Zach Pop
        Breyvic Valera (maybe not a true prospect)
        Luke Raley
        Devin Smeltzer
        Corey Copping

      5. I hear the Blue Jays were asking for Buehler, Verdugo and Lux for Axford but Andrew got them to settle for Copping.

      6. I just heard over the Quakes game that was streaming on my laptop, Dennis. Took ’em long enough to bump Lux up to AA. Now if they can just get Cody Thomas up there to fill the void left by Raley who got sent to Minnesota in that Dozier deal…

  4. With Dozier we went from a 90 win team to a 91 win team Axford splits says he’s tough against LH hitters, but right handers slash .283/.353/.753. Interesting splits for a big right hander.

    Third place all of a sudden. Who saw that coming? Everybody. This is what happens to all or nothing teams. They up. They down.

      1. That’s why, when they put next year’s roster together, they need to include a couple of on base, non-go-for-the-fences guys, so that once in a while, when the others hit one out, there’s someone on base. And when the power guys slump we still have a chance to score a run or two. I think that Verdugo makes a good candidate for one of those spots.

      2. I was gonna say Verdugo or Locastro. They’re both on-base machines. That’s exactly the way the Braves have designed their lineup, if you think about it.

      3. Cubs lead MLB in OBP, which surprised me. I thought it would be an AL team. We are 10th. The stat FAZ worships, OPS, we are 9th. Yankees are 1st. No surprise there. I’m old school so I still believe in a few old school tactics – don’t make an out is at the top of the list.

      4. “Don’t make an out” may be the smartest baseball strategy ever invented. I suggest you provide all the Dodgers tee shirts with that slogan on them. Maybe they’ll consider replacing their “Swing for the fences” tee shirts with the new ones. Let’s face it Scoop, we’re old an obsolete. It’s a new world out there and we’re hanging on for our lives. And I say that even acknowledging that I’m all in favor of taking advantage of the new work being done with stats.

      5. I’m trying to adjust Jeff. I believe in OPS, that stat fits with my old school play. And I can buy swinging out of the shoes – on strike one. After that a hitter needs to become less brute more cerebral. 3 outcome baseball is stupid in my world. There are a lot more outcomes available to a competitive hitter than 3. Yeah, 3 makes it simpler, but if simple is what you want it doesn’t get simpler than “don’t make an out” and “see the ball hit the ball”.

        All or nothing. This is today’s game. But I think there will always be a place for guys like Pete Rose (.375 lifetime OBP) and Tony Gwynn (.388 lifetime OBP) both of whom walked more than they struck out. Get on, get over, get in. It will make a comeback.

  5. Haha, you folks on here didn’t think it was gonna be THIS easy for the Dodgers to get back to the WS this year did ya??? Stop worrying about the offense because at the end of the day, opposing staffs are still gonna have to go through that stacked lineup more than once and be damn near-perfect in doing so (good luck to them, seriously). There won’t be too many shutdown performances against them like what happened last night from here on out.

    1. I think it will be pitching that saves this all or nothing offense. We are middle of the pack in most offensive stats. Too much nothing will keep us there. We are second in total pitching, top 5 in several important stats, including OBP and OPS. We’d be even better if it weren’t for so many BLSV. (17). Hopefully that is fixed. We’re the Dodgers. Pitching are us.

      1. One of the things I like about the manager/management of this team is that they’ll go with the hot hand during the playoffs. Guys like Toles and Verdugo and possibly some pitchers we haven’t seen up here yet this year will all be available for auditions in September. If, for example, Kasowski gets a shot and no one can touch him or Verdugo has an OBP of .400, they’ll be included on the playoff roster and get playing time. So, for now, I’m going to take Manuel’s advice and not worry about the offense and take your implied (or is that inferred?) advice not to worry about the pitching and try to enjoy the next two months……….unless the Dbacks and/or Rockies ruin it for me.

      2. Tell that to Farhan, Scoop. Apparently he doesn’t seem to believe going after that crucial 8th-inning “bridge” to Jansen is all that important this season based on his rather telling interview over the phone on this morning’s High Heat. “We’ll mix-and-match as we go along, blah, blah, blah…” you know, the usual nonsense coming out of his mouth. Doesn’t this guy even realize his job’s on the line right now with the pressure for the Dodgers to win it all this year becoming greater with each game played so far??? Offense will take care of itself with the Dozier deal finally out of the way, no need to worry about that. But like I already said before: NO PEN-NO WIN!

        Front office better be working the waiver wire diligently this month for more relief arms because no freakin’ way are they done yet, not with the Brewers and Rockies already becoming legitimate threats to their postseason chances of late..

  6. The 10 prospects we removed from the system over the past few days have caused some upward movement. Looks like Amaya and Vargas are headed for Great Lakes.

    1. Good news to hear. Still waiting on Paulson, Robinson, and Hulsizer to follow suit as well. Loons can use all the help they can get offensively right now (lol)…

      1. A couple weeks at each stop and we’ll have Amaya and Vargas here in L.A. by mid September. 🙂

      2. Glad to see that. I’m anxious to find out how he does there because we need to figure out our catching situation in L.A. for 2019.

      3. Took the Dodgers long enough to move Smith up to OKC. As much as I like his defensive versatility, the man needs to catch on a regular basis. That’s still his best position and there’s nobody better defensively behind the plate for the Dodgers than that guy right now and I’m talking at ALL levels in their system. Guess this means Farmer gets to spend more time at 3B for a change down there, not bad.

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