In the first major transaction of 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals completed a three-team trade. The Dodgers will acquire left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander from Kansas City and infielder Jake Peter from the White Sox. The Dodgers will send right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks and infielder Erick Mejia to the Royals and left-handed pitcher Luis Avilan to the White Sox. The White Sox will also receive right-handed pitcher Joakim Soria and cash considerations from the Royals.
Alexander, 28, had a very strong 2017 for the Royals, posting a 2.48 ERA over 69 innings pitched with supporting peripherals including a 3.23 FIP. While he has shown some minor struggles with control, it doesn’t look like it will be a big problem. He seems likely to slot into a middle relief role for the already loaded Dodger bullpen where he will provide an upgrade over Avilan.
Peter, 24, is a favorite of mine. He was left off of the White Sox 40-man roster in November in advance of the Rule 5 Draft but wasn’t selected. Peter slashed .279/.344/.417 between Double-A and Triple-A while posting 13 home runs and 11 stolen bases over 516 plate appearances. Peter brings with him versatility as he can play second, shortstop, third base, and all throughout the outfield. With a solid combination of power and speed, he looks like a very solid back-of-the-order bat. Peter will have the opportunity to compete for a bench role in spring training with Kiké Hernandez and Rob Segedin, but seeing as how he is not currently on the 40-man roster, it appears more likely to see him receive a midseason call-up.
The Royals get two Dodgers prospects in Oaks and Mejia. Oaks, now 24, had his contract purchased by the Dodgers in advance of the Rule 5 Draft last month. He posted a 3.83 ERA over 91.2 innings pitched last year, mainly in Triple-A Oklahoma City. He’s a solid mid-level prospect, but the ceiling is not very high. Oaks looks like a solid back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher with a rather high floor of a legitimate swing man. While he’s no ace, he looks as if he can be a dependable backend guy for the Royals. Mejia looks to me like a utility infielder. He has solid contact ability and solid versatility. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have power nor does he have very strong plate discipline to be a legitimate starter.
The White Sox acquired veteran reliever Soria, who will earn $9,000,000 in 2018, as well as lefty Avilan. Soria has experience in high-leverage situations and can be looked at as a potential midseason trade chip. While Soria posted something of a lacking 3.70 ERA, his 2.33 FIP and K/9 of 10.3 are promising.
Avilan is a solid, controllable lefty who has seen major league success recently. He’s the type of piece who could be a part of the White Sox future, as he has posted a 3.02 ERA with a 2.71 FIP with an 11.0 K/9 over the past two seasons. He will remain under the White Sox control through 2019 at rather affordable rates.
Personally, the Dodgers get the win from me after acquiring Peter, who could be a revelation, as well as a controllable lefty in Alexander. My projections have Peter at a .240/.309/.400 clip with five home runs over 72 games. While that may seem a tad bit underwhelming, Chris Taylor hit just .207/.258/.362 in his first season with the Dodgers before he broke out. Both players bring with them versatility, power, and speed and reached Los Angeles right at the age where a breakout could be very realistic.
Furthermore, the Sox and Royals didn’t make out too poorly either. The Royals were able to drop some salary while getting a decent, major league ready arm in Oaks as well as an auxiliary piece in Mejia, while the Sox were able to get their hands on two players who will eat innings and could turn into very profitable flip candidates. We cannot judge the White Sox return just yet, as their level of success in this deal will come further returns from Soria or Avilan, if they do not see him as a longterm piece.