If one team has improved their lineup the most in the last two weeks, its been the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers, within an hour before the deadline, made the move to acquire Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
Brian Dozier has been traded to the #Dodgers. Deal is done. @Ken_Rosenthal reported close.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 31, 2018
The Dodgers, who made the headlining move of the summer by acquiring Baltimore Orioles All-Star shortstop Manny Machado two weeks ago, have now bolstered their middle infield even further by acquiring Dozier.
Dozier, like Machado, is an impending free-agent. At the age of 31, Dozier has struggled in 2018, hitting just .224.
However, Dozier is a career 24.1 WAR hitter, and still has 16 home runs on the season. Dozier’s power is his top tool, as the second baseman hit 42 home runs in 2016, and 34 home runs in 2017.
Dozier now joins Machado, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger in what could be the best infield in all of baseball. After falling just short last season, it looks like the Dodgers are going all-in for the World Series this season.
In return, the Twins acquire two prospects and Logan Forsythe, the clear replacement at second base for Dozier.
Forsythe has been underwhelming in 2018, hitting just .207 in the final season of his three-year deal signed in 2016.
Forsythe was likely thrown in to keep the Dodgers under the luxury tax, as the 31-year old was owed over $6 million in 2018.
In addition to Forsythe, the Twins bring back two prospects.
The headlining prospect in the deal, the Twins acquire the Dodgers 19th-ranked prospect in Luke Raley. Raley, a 23-year old first-baseman/outfielder at the Double-A level, has had a solid 2018 season, hitting .275 with 17 home runs. He was originally a seventh round pick in 2016 from Lake Erie College. The power is real but he’s got some work to do with the strike zone, at least if his 24/105 BB/K ratio is any indication.
John did not have Raley ranked among the Dodgers Top-20 prospects back in February, but did have him ranked among the C+ prospects.
A pure power hitter and good defender, Raley projects as the potential Joe Mauer replacement a few years down the line at first base, but with an above-average arm, Raley could fit in right field as soon as 2019.
The second and final prospect heading to Minnesota in the deal, Devin Smeltzer projects as a future bullpen piece for the Twins.
A 22-year old lefty, Smeltzer has had a rough season in Double-A, recording a 4.73 ERA in 23 appearances, with 14 starts. Smeltzer’s low-strikeout rate (67 strikeouts in 83.2 innings) and opponents batting average of .281 likely pushed him out of a long-term starting role. He was originally a fifth round pick in 2016 from San Jacinto Junior College.
John also didn't have Smeltzer ranked among the Dodgers Top-20 prospects back in February, but did have him ranked alongside Raley with the C+-grade prospects.
Smeltzer is still young and is close to being major league-ready, and could make an impact in the Twins bullpen by 2019.