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Dodgers trade Caleb Ferguson to Yankees for Matt Gage, Christian Zazueta

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Monday was a busy day for the Dodgers bullpen, first with the re-signing of reliever Ryan Brasier to a two-year contract. But also, left-hander Caleb Ferguson was traded to the Yankees in a three-player deal.

Left-hander Matt Gage and 19-year-old minor league pitcher Christian Zazueta were sent by New York to Los Angeles, with Gage taking Ferguson’s spot on the 40-man roster. Zazueta had a 3.29 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 16 walks in 52 innings in the Dominican Summer League last season.

The Dodgers still have only four left-handed pitchers on the roster at the moment, one of whom is starter James Paxton. Ryan Yarbrough is more of a swingman, leaving Alex Vesia and Gage as the only two short-inning lefty relievers the Dodgers have at the moment.

Dodgers 2024 bullpen

Pitcher Optionable?
Pitcher Optionable?
Evan Phillips No
Brusdar Graterol Yes
Joe Kelly No
Ryan Brasier No
Blake Treinen No
Ryan Yarbrough* No
Alex Vesia* Yes
Michael Grove Yes
J.P. Feyereisen Yes
Ricky Vanasco Yes
Gus Varland Yes
Matt Gage* Yes
*Left-handed

Ferguson was a high-leverage reliever who had a 2.84 ERA and 3.21 FIP with 107 strikeouts and 40 walks in 95 innings over the last two seasons. He settled with the team on a $2.4 million contract in January to avoid salary arbitration, but with five years of service time Ferguson could not be sent to the minors without his consent, and he’ll be a free agent after the season.

Gage has three and a half years older than Ferguson, but has only pitched in 16 major league games in his two seasons. Gage had a 1.83 ERA and 3.97 FIP with 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 19⅔ innings for the Blue Jays and Astros. He was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on January 29. He turns 31 on Sunday.

Gage has an option year remaining, giving the Dodgers bullpen a little more needed flexibility in roster management. But they lack left-handed options in short relief, having now traded both Ferguson and Victor González to the Yankees in separate deals.

The Dodgers still have pitchers who can get left-handed batters out, but most of them throw with their right hand. Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol are solid at the back end against all comers. Joe Kelly doesn’t have discernible platoon splits in his career, especially as a reliever.

Brasier, who is reportedly back on a two-year deal that hasn’t yet been finalized, during his career has allowed an .802 OPS against lefties compared to .580 against right-handers. But last year he added a cutter that was deployed nearly exclusively against left-handers, and held them to hit just .226/.287/.366, including a paltry 7-for-57, .123/.167/.211 with a 30-percent strikeout rate against lefties after joining the Dodgers.

Blake Treinen has pitched in only five games in the last two seasons, but is back healthy this year and will be fully ready to start spring training. During his time with the Dodgers (since 2020), Treinen has held left-handed batters to just .153/.275/.236 in 171 plate appearances.