In a surprising move late yesterday, the Dodgers traded prospects Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom to the Mariners for Brandon League.
League, 29, is owed approximately $1.8MM for the rest of the season before becoming a free agent this winter. He’s pitched to a 3.63 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings this year, plus his usual sky-high ground ball rate is down to just 46.9%. The Dodgers have lost Matt Guerrier and Todd Coffey to injury this season, so League will add some late-inning depth.
Landry, 22, is hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 15 triples in 376 plate appearances for Los Angeles’ High Class-A affiliate this season while spending most of his time in center field. Bawcom, a 23-year-old right-hander, owns a 2.03 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 48 2/3 relief innings split between Single-A and Double-A this year. Neither player ranked among the team’s top 30 prospects in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook before the season.
Leon Landry wasn’t in my Prospect Rankings for 2012, but he was headed for a top 20 spot in 2013 prior to this deal happening. The leap comes as a result of his .328/.358/.559/.917 line at high-A and his defensive ability. His upside is probably as a fringy regular due to his poor plate discipline and lack of offensive tools, and I think he fits more as a reserve outfielder type in the majors.
Logan Bawcom wasn’t in my Prospect Rankings for 2012 either, but he too was headed there in 2013. He posted a 0.64 ERA with a 1.06 FIP in 14 innings at high-A, then followed that by posting a 2.60 ERA and 2.88 FIP in 34.2 innings at AA. He has command issues from time to time but has strikeout stuff that should play at advanced levels. Bawcom has a fastball that can sit in the mid-90s and a good sharp slider. He has the upside of a 7th inning guy and a floor that likely still has him as a bullpen contributor, both of which made him one of the arms I was talking about when I referred to relief arms as a system strength.
Brandon League comes to the Dodgers with a 3.63 ERA/3.43 FIP/4.40 xFIP/4.43 SIERA in 2012. After a career year in 2011, he has basically regressed to his career norms (3.69/3.88/3.64/3.34). He’s not without red flags though, as his 14.0 K% is his lowest since 2007 and his BB% is his highest since 2008. Essentially, he’s an above average bullpen guy who was once used as a closer.
On its face, one has to wonder what the point of this trade was. After all, how much of an upgrade is he over Scott Elbert, Javy Guerra, Josh Lindblom, and company? Hell, Jamey Wright is having an equally quality year at the moment and it already pains me when he enters the game.
What I have to assume is that he was acquired because the Dodgers are on the verge of trading a reliever like Lindblom or Guerra in a deal for a pitcher/first baseman/outfielder. If not, while nothing will quite top the Octavio Dotel deal, this will likely go down as another complete waste of assets. Hell, even if a trade involving a reliever does occur, it’s still a mediocre deal to me. Quality starters rarely make much of a marginal value impact after the deadline, much less average relievers.
For me to even get to that point of acknowledging it as mediocre though, a reliever would have to be traded out of the bullpen for help elsewhere. Here’s hoping it’s for something worthwhile.
Guess you can’t stop Ned Colletti, you can only hope to contain him.