The Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed left-handed reliever Donnie Hart off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team has designated right-handed reliever Josh Fields for assignment.
Hart, 28, was selected in the 27th round of the 2013 draft by the Orioles and he made his major league debut in 2016. Through 3 seasons, Hart has pitched 81 1/3 career innings, posting a 3.43 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 5,98 K/9, and 3.43 BB/9 in that time. He ranks near the bottom of the league in fastball spin rate and velocity.
Designating Fields for assignment is a bit of a surprise move. The team signed him to a 1-year, $2.65 dollar deal in the offseason to avoid arbitration.
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The 33-year-old Fields was acquired from the Houston Astros in 2016 for the now highly regarded prospect, Yordan Alvarez. In 41 innings for the Dodgers last year, Fields had a 2.20 ERA after posting a 2.84 ERA in 57 innings during the 2017 season. What stands out most about Fields is his strikeout numbers have gone down each season since being acquired.
He was out of options, so that likely played a role in this move. The team will still be able to trade him if they find a team who wants him.
The emergence of Yimi Garcia also probably influenced the decision to waive Fields. Garcia has all but locked up an opening day roster spot and the team didn’t have the room to carry both relievers.
Hart has slim odds of making the opening day roster and there is a good chance he’s the first on their list to be designated for assignment if they need a 40-man roster spot soon. Don’t expect him to make an impact at the major league level this year. This is purely a depth move in preparation for losing Fields to keep Garcia on the team.