Monday, July 30, 2012

Dodgers acquire Brandon League for Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom

The Dodgers traded Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom to the Mariners for Brandon League tonight, but I'm not really sure why this deal was made.

I'm not really ever high on trading for relievers, especially for relievers who can't get strikeouts. Despite being a power arm, League's strikeout rate is less than impressive. His career strikeouts per nine innings pitched is 6.6 -- not exactly great for a guy who averages nearly 96 MPH on his fastball.

As a 26-year-old in Toronto, League averaged 9.2 strikeouts per nine in 74 2/3 innings. That was clearly an aberration. His second-best mark is 6.6 K/9, set last season when he was an All-Star.

Ahh, that's it. Ned Colletti can't help but trade for All-Star relievers. We all remember Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany for Danys Baez and Lance Carter, right? But I digress.

League's best pitch might be his split-finger fastball, which he added in 2009. FanGraphs has it valued at 3.0 this season after it was a 3.4 pitch last season. His 95.2 MPH fastball is a 1.3 pitch right now.

But I don't understand this because I didn't see right-handed relief pitcher as high on the list of Dodger needs. Another starting pitcher and bat are much, much higher on the list.

League is owed roughly $1.8 million for the rest of the season, which I'm sure the Dodgers will pick up. He'll also be an unrestricted free agent after the season, so this is purely a rental. Then again, Colletti has been known to give relievers undeserved, long-term deals, so maybe League will be around for a bit (depending on performance, of course).

I'm higher than others on Landry, as most see him as just a fourth outfielder. However, I think what he's doing in the California League is impressive. Yes, I'm sure the numbers are inflated a little, but he has ability. He was a third-round pick in 2010 out of LSU and cracked my Top 10 the following season after a stellar debut.

When I see a poor man's Carl Crawford in him -- a poverty-stricken version is more like it. Still, he has talent and ability. His worst tools are his power and arm. But he has good speed, can put the bat on the ball and plays a slick center field.

Bawcom is a good relief prospect. He began the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and was quickly promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. He struggled for a bit after his promotion, but he seems to have figured it out. He should join a prospect-laden Jackson Generals' team.

It's hard to get too upset at this deal. After all, the Dodgers again dealt from their depth. Outfield and right-handed pitching are the two deepest positions in their farm system. However, they still dealt for a "proven" reliever. That hasn't especially worked out well in the Colletti era (Baez, Carter, George Sherril, Octavio Dotel, etc.).

I'm assuming League will split time with Ronald Belisario in the eighth inning. This also opens up the Dodgers to trade Josh Lindblom, whose name has come up in talks for Shane Victorino.

I'm expecting at least one more trade before tomorrow afternoon, but hopefully two (a starting pitcher and another bat). I'm just hoping Victorino isn't the other bat acquired.

Photo credits
League: swswigart, Flickr
Landry: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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