5:30pm: The Dodgers are going to select the contract of right-hander Ryan Brasier, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. Corresponding moves will be required to get him onto the active and 40-man rosters.
Brasier, 35, was a late bloomer in major league terms. After a stint in Japan, he had his North American breakout in 2018 at the age of 30. He made 34 appearances for the Red Sox that year with a 1.60 ERA, striking out 23.4% of opponents against a 5.6% walk rate. He carried that over into the postseason with a 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 frames, helping the Sox win the World Series.
However, his effectiveness slid in recent seasons and his career ERA now sits at 4.45. Things have looked especially bad recently, as he had a 5.78 ERA last year and an even worse mark of 7.29 this year. Those struggles led to him getting released by the Red Sox and signing a minor league deal with the Dodgers. He’s pitched three scoreless innings in Triple-A in the past week.
There are some reasons to suspect that those inflated earned run figures aren’t entirely his fault. His 56.2% strand rate and .335 batting average on balls in play last year were both on the unlucky side of league averages, leading to a 3.61 FIP and 3.12 SIERA that suggest he deserved better. It was a similar story here in 2023, with a .344 BABIP, 52.8% strand rate, 4.37 FIP and 4.58 SIERA. That being said, it’s probably oversimplifying things to simply say that he’s been unlucky. His hard hit rate, which hovered between 35 and 40% for his earlier seasons in Boston, jumped to 46.5% last year and 53% this year.
The Dodgers have faced uncharacteristic struggles on the pitching front this year as the pitching staff as a whole currently has a 4.66 ERA, a mark that places them 25th out of the 30 clubs in the league. The bullpen is an even bigger concern, with the relief corps posting a collective 5.04 ERA on the season, which puts them ahead of only the lowly Athletics in that department.
Those struggles have coincided with each of Daniel Hudson, Jimmy Nelson, Phil Bickford, Tyler Cyr, J.P. Feyereisen, Alex Reyes and Blake Treinen landing on the injured list. Some of that group could soon be available to the big league club again, as each of Hudson, Nelson and Bickford are each joining Triple-A Oklahoma City for rehab assignment, per OKC’s Broadcaster/Communications Director Alex Freeman.
But for now, the club will take a flier on a Brasier bounceback, which is essentially risk-free from a cost perspective. Since the Red Sox released him, they are still on the hook for the majority of what remains of his $2MM salary. The Dodgers will pay him the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the roster, with that amount subtracted from what the Sox pay.