While their National League West contending foes have added premium talent on offense so far this offseason, the Dodgers countered by adding a pitcher with a 0.00 ERA. Los Angeles acquired right-hander J.P. Feyereisen via trade from the Rays on Wednesday for minor league pitcher Jeff Belge, the teams announced on Wednesday.
Jeff Passan of ESPN was first to report the trade. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Belge was headed to Tampa Bay.
Last week the Padres signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280-million contract, and on Tuesday night the Giants reached a reported agreement with Carlos Correa on a 13-year, $350-million deal. What better way to combat this than by adding a pitcher who didn’t give up an earned run or extra base hit in 2022?
It’s not that simple, of course. Feyereisen was magnificent for the Rays last season, with seven singles and one unearned run allowed in his 22 appearances, with 25 strikeouts (a 29.1-percent strikeout rate) and five walks in 24⅓ innings. His ERA was zero, and his peripherals were very good, too, with a 1.67 FIP and 2.43 xERA.
But he last pitched on June 4.
Feyereisen missed a month in 2021 with shoulder discomfort, which resurfaced in 2022. The impingement this year eventually required surgery, a procedure on December 7 described as “a general cleanup of the rotator cuff and labrum,” per Adam Berry at MLB.com. That’s expected to keep Feyereisen out until at least after the All-Star break.
Less than one week after the surgery, the Rays designated Feyereisen for assignment on Tuesday to make room for newly-signed pitcher Zach Eflin.
Trading for Feyereisen is more of a long-term play for the Dodgers, as the right-hander — who turns 30 in February — has two years, 103 days of service time and two option years remaining. Think of the Tommy Kahnle signing two offseasons ago, but with less of a track record and the pitcher likely available in the first year with the team.
In parts of three seasons in the majors with the Brewers and Rays, Feyereisen has a 2.31 ERA and 3.89 FIP in 83 games, with 85 strikeouts and 43 walks in 89⅔ innings.
Feyereisen is the fourth pitcher added in a relatively quiet offseason to date for the Dodgers, along with the signings of Clayton Kershaw and Shelby Miller plus the waiver claim of Jake Reed. That gives the Dodgers 38 players on the 40-man roster.
Three of those players — Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen, and Feyereisen — can begin the season on the 60-day injured list, but for now they have to take up space on the 40-man roster until spring training starts in February. The Dodgers still need to add multiple position players and likely at least one starting pitcher, which will make the two months in between an interesting exercise, transactionally.
The Dodgers drafted Belge out of St. John’s in the 18th round in 2019. The left-hander, who turned 25 on December 4, had a 3.66 ERA in 29 games for High-A Great Lakes in 2022, with 50 strikeouts (a 36.8-percent strikeout rate) and 17 walks (a 12.5-percent walk rate) in 32 innings.
From Great Lakes Loons manager Austin Chubb:
Best of luck to one of my favorites! Tampa got a good one! https://t.co/vGxUJOKVgK— Austin Chubb (@AustinChubb) December 14, 2022