Dodgers Deal For Brian Dozier, John Axford During Hectic Trade Deadline Day

Sometimes life gets in the way of baseball. Today was one of those days for me. It was a happy day for me as I passed a very difficult exam that I had been studying for the last several months. However while I was sitting for my exam the MLB non-waiver trade deadline was concluding with a flurry of moves. The Dodgers made two moves today, acquiring Minnesota infielder Brian Dozier (yes the very same Dozier the Dodgers almost acquired a couple of years ago) and reliever John Axford from the Blue Jays in a separate trade.

The deal for Dozier was a long time coming. The Dodgers were rumored to have a deal for Dozier two years ago but were unable to close the deal with the Twins. Instead they acquired Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays for pitching prospect Jose De Leon. Ironically Forsythe was the only major league player included in the Dozier deal which was announced just before the deadline.

The Dodgers sent Forsythe, and two minor leaguers, corner outfielder Luke Raley and right hander Devin Smeltzer. You may remember Smeltzer from Major League spring training. The Dodgers gave him an invite and a look before sending him down to Double-A Tulsa. He’s spent the entire 2018 season there posting a 4.73 ERA while striking out 7.2 per nine innings. As for Raley, he’s been with the Drillers as well this year, batting .275 17 home runs and a .345 on-base percentage across 435 plate appearances.

Dozier has had a terrible year. He’s batting just .224 with 16 home runs and his on-base percentage has plummeted to .305. He’s posted an OPS+ of 91 which means he’s been below average offensively in 2018. Dozier’s remaining salary and Forsythe’s remaining salary are identical (9 million dollars) which means the Dodgers stay below the luxury tax threshold. As to how Dozier will fit into the Dodger’s lineup is unclear. However Dozier has seen time at shortstop and third base during his minor league days. Logan has had a horrible season at the plate as well, batting just .207 with a 53 OPS+ across 211 plate appearances this season.

As for Axford, the Dodgers sent minor leaguer right hander Corey Copping to Toronto in exchange for Axford. The Axford deal is a bit confusing due to him being way past his prime but somewhat understandable given that the Dodgers need some relief help. Axford now 35 years old has pitched in 45 for the Blue Jays this season posting a 4.41 ERA and striking out 50 across 51 innings pitched. Axford has punched out 8.8 batters per nine and 7.8 hits per nine. More to come on these moves later.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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19 thoughts on “Dodgers Deal For Brian Dozier, John Axford During Hectic Trade Deadline Day

  1. This is another sign that the FBZ are behind the times. They keep thinking about roster construction based on lineups against other teams’ starters and handedness. Where we know by now many times teams will pull their starters halfway into the game, so one should be putting in lineups that work on the defensive side first. I think TrueBlue reported that the Dodgers saved $5 million on the deal, but maybe they’re wrong. If the salary is even I see even less reason for making this deal.

    1. I think we pay the remaining portion of Dozier’s 5M instead of the remaining portion of Foresythe’s 9M. So there is some savings there. Don’t know how much the relief pitcher adds to the tally.

    2. I just looked it up. TrueBlue is right. The reason is that you average the salaries over the life of the FA contract. Forsythe’s average over his 2 year contract is $a bit under $9 million. Dozier signed a back end loaded 4 year $20 million contract (his first year was only $2 million), so his average is $5m. This was a lux tax move by the FBZ.

      1. Terrific. A tax move at the deadline? Why? Aren’t we $10 million under? I wonder if they are leaving room for a waiver wire move.

        1. I surely, bigly even, hope that they are learning from the Astros and waiting for a waiver deadline move.

          But I’m not holding my breath. These guys are on vacation already. Mission accomplished already (their mission with Guggenheim, not yours or anyone else’s mission).

    3. I think, YF, the handedness is not limited to starting pitching. Did you read that somewhere? I think the versatility and handedness is being sought so that there’s flexibility throughout the game.

      1. Zaidi said the trade was about handedness. He’s trying to spin a lux tax move by giving a baseball reason that’s behind the times. So stupid. Only TrueBlue picked up on the lux tax angle. The rest of the blogosphere, such as Dodgers Digest who’s supposedly good with numbers, bought the spin hook line and sinker.

  2. Anyone over Foresythe is an upgrade. However picking up a 2B and a relief pitcher isn’t very spectacular at all. Compared to Machado this is a yawner. Hopefully .240 isn’t out of the question for Dozier.

    1. I feel the same as Artieboy. Both are free agents after this season. There is no way that Dozier is not an upgrade even though he is having a rather poor year. He’s at least Logan’s equal defensively and miles ahead on the power side. They guy’s got the power but he’s another all or nothing hitter. If somehow he proves valuable, at least the Dodgers will have a choice whether to retain him or let him go after the season. I think it was a smart move by FAZ, a nothing to lose move. They are clever and are following the model they have pretty closely. Archer went to the Pirates.

      1. Forsythe is .3 WAR better defensively, if you believe in such things. I think FAZ does. We aren’t that strong defensively at second base, no matter who we put out there. Apparently this is lux tax move in late July. Dozier should hit better, but not really that much better. He’s decent against left handers, so, there’s that. We’re improved, but so are other clubs.

        1. Surely you didn’t expect more than a Dozier for Forsythe. Sounds like you are unhappy about Forsythe not bringing more? We are lucky to ship him out.

          1. Who was the idiot who picked up his option? No competent manager would do that. There is not a Dodger fan anywhere who didn’t realize he was worthless after last year. How could any competent manager give him $9MM?

          2. Bring more? Not sure I follow you Jeff. I figured he would just be released.

            Friedman talking saying just what we figured. He’s ok with the arms in the pen. Ryu throwing 94, Urias progressing, Fields and Cingrani might both help. A lot of arms from which to choose. He sounds confident.

          3. If this is not a lux tax move, we should have kept the prospects (one of whom is a AAA reliever with less mileage than Axford and decent minor league numbers) and FDAed Forsythe. This was a lux tax move pure and simple and we burned two prospects for the stupid decision to pick up Forsythe’s option.

            And for the record, most on this board was against picking up Forsythe’s option (and Brett Andersen’s to go one more year back). We are batting a higher percentage on veterans than the FBZ based on our proprietary block chain, cloud based, Wall Street apporoved, forward-advanced enhanced-leveraged and-advanced-again analytics (read: old school eye test).

          4. Friedman was on with Orel and Joe.

            “ We are batting a higher percentage on veterans than the FBZ based on our proprietary block chain, cloud based, Wall Street apporoved, forward-advanced enhanced-leveraged and-advanced-again analytics (read: old school eye test).“

          5. I thought that was the case Yueh. I kept running the numbers and it didn’t work until I substituted a < for a [§]. Once I did that it all fell into place.

  3. Badger, Forsythe was not productive at 2B at all. Dead weight. I’m sure they would release him after the season, but we are in the thick of things now. To date, the Dodgers have not produced a replacement from anywhere. Trading Forsythe gives us someone who is more than deadweight. But you don’t seem to see any value in this move. This is puzzling to me. Of course, if Dozier proves no better than Forsythe, you would be correct but at least this is an attempt to better ourselves for the rest of the season with Dozier. You speak as if it’s a meaningless transaction. Plus, we get another arm for the bullpen with a ton of experience. It’s not a Machado deal, but it helps the overall big picture at this time in space.

    Bluto, Friedman appeared with Joe and Orel talking about the trades and the team in general during the live game. It seems clear he is comfortable with the talent we have.

    Now, if the Dodgers could only hit the f***ing ball and not waste a very good outing from Buehler. What a boring team the Dodgers have turned into. It’s a kind of schizophrenia that I have no explanation for.

    1. I said this was a step forward. Dozier carries a 1.2 WAR, Forsythe a -.6 WAR. I said Dozier hits left handed hitters better than Forsythe. Not sure there is anything else I can say.

      I told you a few days ago what I would do. Hernandez at third, Machado at short, Taylor at second and Muncy at first. Release Forsythe. They went a different route.

      If the question is do I think Dozier makes the difference in this team my answer is no. If the question is does this move improve the team my answer is yes. We’ve gone from a 90 win team to a 91 win team.

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