The Dodgers have selected the contract of left-hander Adam Kolarek, per a team announcement. In corresponding moves, right-hander Andre Jackson was optioned to Triple-A and transferred outfielder Trayce Thompson to the 60-day injured list.
A veteran of six MLB seasons, Kolarek made his MLB debut with the Rays in 2017, struggling to a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings of work in his first taste of big league action. He turned things around after that shaky debut, however, as he posted a 3.94 ERA (109 ERA+) in 77 2/3 innings with the Rays split between the 2018 and 2019 seasons prior the being shipped to the Dodgers at the 2019 trade deadline.
Kolarek was a revelation in LA, with a 0.77 ERA in 11 2/3 innings down the stretch with the Dodgers. He followed up with another sterling performance during the shortened 2020 campaign, pitching to a 0.95 ERA in 19 regular season innings as the Dodgers stormed to a World Series championship in 2020, though Kolarek allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings during the 2020 postseason.
After being swapped from the Dodgers to Oakland ahead of the 2021 campaign, Kolarek’s dominance with the Dodgers seemed to vanish. In 26 2/3 innings of work with the A’s between the 2021 and 2022 campaigns, Kolarek struggled to a 5.74 ERA with a 5.53 FIP. That downturn in performance came primarily from struggles with control, as Kolarek walked a 10% of batters faced with the A’s compared to just 5.7% of batters faced across the 2018-2020 campaigns. With an equal number of walks and strikeouts during his time in Oakland, it was no surprise when the A’s designated Kolarek for assignment last summer.
Since then, Kolarek returned to LA on a minor league deal and has dominated at the Triple-A level in 2023, with a 2.18 ERA in 20 2/3 innings of work this season. Kolarek figures to give the Dodgers an addition left-handed option in their bullpen alongside the likes of Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia, and Victor Gonzalez going forward.
Headed out in favor of Kolarek is Jackson, who returns to the minors after a three scoreless innings against the Phillies yesterday. It was a solid rebound for Jackson, who posted an ugly 7.98 ERA in six games over two previous call-ups to the majors this season. Going forward, Jackson figures to continue serving as valuable, optionable depth in the club’s bullpen who is capable of delivering in multi-inning stints.
Thompson’s placement on the 60-day IL clears a roster spot for Kolarek and comes as little surprise after manager Dave Roberts noted recently that the outfielder would miss more than a month with his current oblique strain, though the injury is not expected to end Thompson’s season. After a breakout season with the Dodgers in 2022, Thompson has struggled in 87 plate appearances this season to a .155/.310/.366 slash line while logging time at all three outfield spots.