As Hanley Ramirez remains a free agent and the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to carry their surplus of outfielders, the team made it’s first significant roster move by trading for Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Peralta figures to factor into the Dodgers’ bullpen in 2015 and while the same may hold true for Liberatore, his immediate role with the Major-League team isn’t quite as clear. Nonetheless, Liberatore took to Twitter and shared his thoughts on joining the Dodgers:
I've gotten so much support the last couple days from so many people. I just wanna thank you all! I'm very excited about being a Dodger
— Adam Liberatore (@adamlib21) November 22, 2014
Liberatore was drafted in the 21st round in 2010 by the Rays and he’s yet to crack a Major-League roster. The southpaw spent the majority of the last three seasons with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate.
Liberatore had an impressive 1.66 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 65 innings (54 appearances) with Durham last season. What’s working in Liberatore’s favor heading into 2015 is the Dodgers’ shortage of left-handed relievers.
Paco Rodriguez was ineffective down the stretch for a second straight year though this time due to injury and not necessarily fatigue. That left Scott Elbert, who hadn’t pitched in the Majors since 2012, and J.P. Howell as the lone lefties in the bullpen heading into the postseason.
Elbert has since elected for free agency and organizational depth was further depleted with Onelki Garcia getting claimed off waivers, though his carer has thus far been marred by injuries. Should Liberatore begin the season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, it conceivably wouldn’t be much longer before he makes his MLB debut.