According to Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic, the Tigers have swung a trade with the Dodgers in order to acquire left-handed minor leaguer Lael Lockhart, who the club has assigned to Double-A Erie. MLive’s Evan Woodbery adds that the Dodgers are receiving cash considerations in return.
Lockhart, 25, was the Dodgers’ ninth-round pick in the 2021 draft and reached the High-A level in his first professional season, pitching 12 2/3 innings with a 3.55 ERA and 23 strikeouts against seven walks. In 2022, Lockhart began to work as a starter to solid results, posting a 3.71 ERA with a 23.9% strikeout rate in 111 2/3 innings of work split between the High-A and Double-A levels. Those quality full season results are belied, however, by Lockhart’s struggles in Double-A last year, where he posted a 4.93 ERA in 34 2/3 innings with a deflated 19% strikeout rate.
Lockhart returned to the bullpen to open the 2023 season, and has struggled badly in 15 Double-A innings with an 11.40 ERA and 13 walks against just 18 strikeouts. Presumably, Detroit is hoping that a chance of scenery in a new organization will help Lockhart regain the form that saw him find success at the High-A level during 2021 and 2022.