The Dodgers’ Motives Behind the Tyler White Trade

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On Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers announced and confirmed a deal the team agreed upon with the Astros, sending Houston’s first baseman, Tyler White, to Los Angeles in exchange for Dodgers’ pitching prospect, Andre Scrubb. Although this isn’t the blockbuster deal that many fans are on edge to see, this trade has a number of different benefits that will help the Dodgers down the stretch. Let’s take a look at some of the key motives in the Dodgers’ choice to make this deal happen:

White Succeeds Against Left-handed Pitching

Tyler White fills a void that has plagued the Dodgers for years, since the team has so many young, left-handed hitters. While the team has brought in other players such as AJ Pollock, David Freese, and Chris Taylor to help combat this issue, the team still struggles in those situations.

Before the 2019 season, in 178 plate appearances, Tyler White posted a 145 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. Anything about a 140 wRC+ is considered a great figure, according to the FanGraphs Sabermetric Library.

Freese May Need Extra Rest

The Dodgers’ backup first baseman, David Freese, recently came off the 10-day IL with which he was placed in late June due to a hamstring injury. Since then, Freese hasn’t seemed to have the same level of success at the plate, as he currently holds his worst month-long OPS since March.

Tyler White is primarily a first baseman, so Freese would not have to be rushed back into the lineup if he does not feel ready. White works as a placeholder to Freese on the offensive and defensive sides of the Dodgers’ scheme.

Spot Starts With Taylor Injured

This motive is very similar to the one before, except for the defensive positioning.

Chris Taylor went on the IL with a fractured forearm, following the Boston series, and is expected to be out for extended time. Taylor works as both a right-handed bat in the Dodgers’ lefty-heavy order, and a super utility player in the field. Most often, Taylor will play in the middle infield and the outfield when he is in the game.

In his four seasons in the Major Leagues, Tyler White has experience as a starter at first base, second base, and left field. He has logged innings as a third baseman, but has never started there. With that being said, if the Dodgers are in need of an extra right-handed bat while being shorted Chris Taylor, White could play the part at a number of different positions.

Conclusion: Was the Trade Worth it?

Tyler White provides a decent bat, with favorable splits, while giving the Dodgers the opening to utility defense, which is a common-place favorite of Dave Roberts’ Dodgers. While all checks out on the receiving end, the pitching prospect that the Dodgers traded away, Andre Scrubb, was unranked in either the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects, ranked by Baseball America, or the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.

This is the kind of low-risk, high-reward trade that the Dodgers are known for. Should the reward come back high for Los Angeles, this could turn out to be a very important trade, come October.