- Left-hander Rich Hill hit the disabled list due to a finger injury, the Dodgers announced today. Fellow southpaw Adam Liberatore is up from Triple-A to take Hill’s place for the time being. Specifically, Hill told reporters that he’s dealing with a cracked fingernail and that the DL stint is “precautionary” in nature (Twitter link via Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times). The Dodgers have a reputation for aggressively utilizing the shortened 10-day DL and their Triple-A depth to keep their roster fresh, and that seems like the tactic they’re employing in this instance. Of course, as Aaron Sanchez’s 2017 season with the Blue Jays demonstrated, fingernail and blister issues can be more serious for pitchers than they initially sound.
The Reds and Dodgers have announced a swap that will send starter Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel to Cincinnati. In return, the Los Angeles organization acquires recently designated reliever Ariel Hernandez.
Neal had already cleared waivers after being designated in the first week of April, so he won’t require a 40-man spot. He briefly appeared with the Dodgers after signing a minors deal in the offseason. Neal carries a 4.94 ERA with just 3.9 K/9 and 0.7 BB/9 in his 85 2/3 total MLB innings. The 29-year-old will presumably represent a depth option for the Cincinnati staff.
The Reds also pick up Isabel, a 22-year-old who has yet to move past the High-A level. He has produced some solid numbers in the low minors, though, including a .259/.327/.489 slash with 28 home runs over 492 plate appearances last year at Rancho Cucamonga. That showing did come with a rather unhealthy tally of 172 strikeouts, and the Dodgers obviously did not see cause to move him up the chain since he was back at the same level to open the 2018 season.
It’s certainly arguable that Hernandez is the most interesting player involved in this swap. He has huge stuff but hasn’t yet shown he can harness it at the game’s highest level. The Dodgers obviously are willing to place a bet that they can straighten him out. Hernandez worked to a 5.18 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 24 1/3 MLB innings in 2017.
The Brewers announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Alec Asher off waivers from the Dodgers and optioned him to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Milwaukee had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is necessary.
Asher, 26, made six starts and 18 relief appearances for the Orioles last year, working to a total of 60 innings with a 47-to-23 K/BB. While the righty demonstrated an ability to pitch out of both the rotation and bullpen in multi-inning stints, he struggled to a 5.25 ERA and yielded 10 homers in last year’s 60 frames with the O’s. Asher does sport a quality 3.75 ERA in 170 1/3 innings of Triple-A work, where he’s averaged 6.4 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. That he has a minor league option remaining only makes him more appealing. He can be shuttled back and forth from Triple-A this season as the Brewers see fit.
With the Dodgers, Asher saw just one game in Triple-A, during which he worked three innings and allowed an earned run on three hits and no walks with one strikeout.
Two months after the Wasserman agency announced that it had “terminated” its relationship with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, the Beverly Hills Sports Council announced that Puig has signed on with them. Agents Dan Horwits and Cesar Suarez will serve as Puig’s representatives, per the release.
It’s not known precisely what prompted Wasserman to cut ties with Puig, though whatever behavior led to the decision didn’t bring forth any repercussions from the team or from Major League Baseball.
Puig, 27, is in the final season of the seven-year, $42MM contract he signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2012 season, but he won’t be a free agent next year at the conclusion of that pact by virtue of the fact that he’ll be a couple months shy of six years of MLB service time. As such, he’ll be subject to the arbitration process before reaching free agency upon completion of the 2019 campaign. While the polarizing slugger is off to a rough start in 2018 (.222/.283/.296), he delivered a strong 2017 season in L.A., hitting .263/.346/.487 with a career-best 28 homers and above-average defense in right field.
In joining BHSC, Puig will head to one of the game’s larger agencies, as can be seen in the MLBTR Agency Database. BHSC represents Alex Cobb, Jason Kipnis, Rougned Odor, Mike Leake and Salvador Perez, among many others. Puig’s change in representation is now reflected within our database, which contains info on more than 2,500 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any inaccuracies or omissions, please let us know via email: email@example.com.
1:19pm: Forsythe’s shoulder doesn’t have any structural damage, so the Dodgers expect him back at the end of the 10-day DL window, Roberts announced (via Hoornstra, on Twitter).
12:41pm: The Dodgers have placed infielder Logan Forsythe on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group was among those to report. The club recalled fellow infielder Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Forsythe’s spot.
Forsythe’s injury forced him depart the Dodgers’ loss to the Diamondbacks in the sixth inning on Saturday. Like his team, which is just 4-9 after winning the NL pennant in 2017, Forsythe has gotten off to a slow start this season. The 31-year-old slashed a meager .174/.224/.283 in 49 plate appearances before landing on the DL. A second baseman for most of his career, Forsythe began the year at third for the Dodgers because of star Justin Turner’s absence. Turner suffered a broken left wrist last month, and there’s still no timetable for his return.
Now that they’re without both Turner and Forsythe, the Dodgers will turn to Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Farmer and Valera at third, manager Dave Roberts suggested Saturday. Valera offers a bit of variety as a switch-hitter, while both Hernandez and Farmer bat from the right side.
The Dodgers just acquired Valera in a trade with the Cardinals earlier this month. The 26-year-old has since slashed .316/.417/.418 in 24 PAs with OKC, contributing to a terrific overall line at the Triple-A level (.323/.387/.438 in 751 PAs). Despite his effectiveness in the Cards’ system, Valera wasn’t a factor in St. Louis, as he picked up just 11 major league PAs (all in 2017).
- Dodgers infielder Logan Forsythe exited the team’s game Saturday with right shoulder discomfort and subsequently underwent an MRI, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Results should come Sunday, Gurnick adds; if Forsythe does require a stint on the disabled list, the Dodgers will divide third base among Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Farmer and a minor league call-up, manager Dave Roberts suggested. Primarily a second baseman, Forsythe has only been manning the hot corner this year because of an injury to starter Justin Turner, who suffered a broken left wrist last month. Forsythe has gotten off to a rough start filling in for Turner, having batted .174/.224/.283 in 49 plate appearances.
- Injured Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is taking dry swings, but the team remains unsure when he will make his 2018 debut, manager Dave Roberts told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday. The superstar has been out since late March with a broken left wrist, and the defending NL champion Dodgers have clearly missed him during a 4-8 start. In Turners’s absence, their third basemen have hit an ugly .250/.293/.382 (65 wRC+) in 82 plate appearances.
- Speaking of agents, Yasiel Puig has been in talks with “several agencies” about representation since the Wasserman agency cut ties with the Dodgers outfielder in February. Puig has also been considering having one of his current financial advisors represent him, though the MLBPA has “strongly advised” Puig to work with an established agency.
The Dodgers have claimed righty Alec Asher off waivers from the Orioles, per a club announcement. Fellow right-hander Michael Kelly, who was also recently designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and been outrighted by the O’s. To clear a 40-man spot for Asher, the Dodgers have designated righty Zach Neal.
Asher and Kelly were each late-spring roster casualties for the O’s. The former is a 26-year-old swingman who has not yet found much success in the majors. In his 170 1/3 innings at Triple-A, though, he owns a useful 3.75 RA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. Obviously, the Dodgers see something they like.
As for the 29-year-old Neal, he recently had his contract selected and appeared in one inning at the MLB level. The former Athletics hurler had joined the Dodgers on a minors pact. In his 85 2/3 lifetime innings at the game’s highest level, Neal owns a 4.94 ERA with an unusual mix of 3.9 K/9 and 0.7 BB/9.
The Pirates have claimed righty Jesus Liranzo off waivers from the Dodgers, per a club announcement. He has been optioned to Double-A.
Liranzo, 23, has bounced around since being designated for assignment by the Orioles just before Opening Day. Clearly, his talent has attracted plenty of attention, though teams are wary of committing a 40-man spot to a player that isn’t ready to contribute at the MLB level.
Though he reputedly has a big arm, Liranzo has struggled to keep the ball in the zone, averaging 5.5 walks per nine in his five minor-league seasons. Liranzo pitched to a 4.85 ERA in 65 innings at Double-A last year, with 10.4 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9.