The Dodgers have released left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore, as first reflected on the MLB.com transactions page. Liberatore was designated for assignment last week after the Dodgers acquired Ryan Madson from the Nationals.
Liberatore, 31, enjoyed an excellent season with the 2016 Dodgers but has since been slowed by injury troubles — most notably a forearm strain that cost him much of the 2017 season. He’s tallied 13 big league innings in 2018 with a quality 2.77 ERA and a dozen strikeouts, though he also issued eight walks in that time and had some struggles in Triple-A Oklahoma City (5.19 ERA, 17-to-6 K/BB ratio, two hit batters in 17 1/3 innings).
At his best in 2016, Liberatore gave the Dodgers 42 2/3 frames of 3.38 ERA ball with 9.9 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 38.9 percent ground-ball rate. Despite being more of a fly-ball pitcher, he yielded only two long balls that year. He’s lost a couple of ticks off his fastball since that ’16 season, averaging 90.9 mph on his heater in his limited sample of big league innings this year, but Liberatore was still characteristically tough on left-handed opponents. Throughout his career, lefties have batted just .204/.294/.311 against him through 188 plate appearances.
Notably, Liberatore was on the minor league disabled list due to a knee issue at the time of his DFA, which explains the decision to release him rather than pass him through outright waivers. (Injured players cannot be passed through outright waivers during the season.) It’s common in these instances for the player to re-sign with his previous organization, though Liberatore will now have the ability to sign with any team.