It took a few weeks, but Andrew Friedman has made his mark on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Well, maybe a squiggle. On Thursday night, the Dodgers traded two young pitchers for two not-so-young relievers, including one who could be described as “old.”
Now begs the question, will this transaction help the Dodgers moving forward?
What They Got
Friedman, who helmed the Tampa Bay Rays for nearly a decade, took a flier on an oft-injured and minimally effective reliever named Joel Peralta in 2011. Over the next three seasons, he’d be one of the Rays’ most reliable bullpen arms.
So, naturally, one of Friedman’s first moves with his new team would be to acquire Peralta for a second time. The veteran reliever, who will turn 39 next spring, found his niche in Tampa, relying more on his split-fingered fastball that resulted in an increase in strikeouts.
Peralta struck out more than one batter an inning in each of the last three seasons, despite throwing a fastball that sits around 90-mph.
However, the results haven’t been just positive for the Dominican native. In 2014, Peralta saw his BABIP against skyrocket by .080 points, accompanied by an increase in home runs allowed. Could this be because of a heavy workload? He appeared in at least 70 games each season from 2011 to 2013, including 80 last year.
In 2014, Peralta’s appearances dropped to 69 games, but he became considerably more hittable. The statistically-inclined front office likely sees the balls in play as a blip on the radar and not a sign of things to come.
Peralta is under control through 2017, with $2.5 million-club options for 2016 and 2017 after he’s guaranteed $2.5 million next season. He could provide a safe alternative to Brian Wilson in the setup role, but, pushing 40, that’s no guarantee.
While Peralta may be the headliner, he wasn’t the only arm the Dodgers acquired in the deal. Adam Liberatore, a 21st-round pick in 2010 out of Tennessee Tech, has pitched in 202 Minor League games and could be in line for his first Major League action in 2015.
The southpaw posted a miniscule 1.66 ERA in 54 games last year with Triple-A Durham, along with a K/9 of 11.9. Liberatore has some deception in his delivery and held lefties and righties alike to a sub-.500 OPS last season.