Dodgers' Deal: Forget Hanley Ramirez, I Just Want Randy Choate
Obviously, Hanley is the man that the Dodgers need to bolster the infield (as I myself predicted several months ago), but to be frank, I'm more interested in the possibilities Choate offers up.
Choate is a player you'd want in a play-in game, which is what the Dodgers could be facing if they don't catch the Giants by the end of the year. In the playoffs, relief pitching is very important, so adding a reliever with a sub-2.50 ERA is quite useful.
Choate also improves the Dodgers' lackluster bullpen. The Dodgers are ranked third in the league in total ERA, but are ranked only eighth in bullpen ERA. Both Josh Lindblom and Jamey Wright, two of the Dodgers' pitchers with more than 30 total appearances, have ERAs over 3.50. Former closer Javy Guerra has a 1.61 WHIP, and is hurling for only 6.68 Ks per nine.
Offseason acquisition Todd Coffey went off the rails, hurling for a 4.66 ERA before joining Matt Guerrir on the DL. Mike MacDougall isn't even with the team anymore.
Choate offers a second lefty reliever option in addition to Scott Elbert. Though the two men have similar ERAs, Choate has a much better WHIP than Elbert (0.99 against 1.26).
Choate also has a much lower slugging percentage against than Elbert, and has twice as many holds. Both are rightly classified as specialists rather than setup men, with each having more than 20 appearances of less than one inning.
The move also remedies a roster allocation problem the Dodgers had—they were one of a few teams in the MLB that was carrying just one lefty reliever.
In short, I'm excied about Choate in that he (or a Choate-Elbert tandem) can give us solid pitching against left-handed batters—one of the weaknesses of the Dodgers last season.
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