The Rays have traded former relief ace Joel Peralta and triple-A pitcher Adam Liberatore to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two right-handed pitchers, first reported in my twitter stream by Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
#Rays trade RHP Peralta, LHP Liberatore to LAD for RHP Jose Dominguez (40-man) and Class A RHP Greg Harris. Will add Dominguez to 40-man— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) November 21, 2014
Peralta will be 39 in 2015, and last season he struggled to a 4.41 ERA, his highest since 2009, leading some observers to be surprised when the Rays picked up his $2.5 million option. That ERA was belied by excellent strikeout and walk numbers. In 2014, Peralta struck out 27.9% of batters he faced while only walking 5.7%, for a strong 3.11 xFIP. His problem was with the home run. Peralta is and always will be an extreme fly ball pitcher, but last season 11.3% of the fly balls he allowed left the yard -- a number far above his career norms. Apparently Andrew Friedman, the new Dodgers and former Rays GM, believes that Peralta has more in the tank than does his former coworker and current Rays GM Matt Silverman. It's an interesting trade, because the two of them likely had access to the same information regarding Peralta while they were both with the Rays.
Adam Liberatore is a 28-year old relief pitcher who was not selected in the Rule 5 draft last year despite impressive strikeout and walk numbers in 2013 for triple-A Durham. This past season, he improved on those numbers even more, stiking out 34.8% of the batters he faced while only walking 6.1%, en route to a 1.66 ERA and a 1.65 FIP. The former 21st round draft pick never carried much hype, but he'll likely get a chance to see if he can translate his prodigious success to the majors in LA.
Jose Dominguez, who will be 24 next season, has pitched 14.2 innings in the majors, but his minor league record shows a consistently strong strikeout rate and a walk rate that's a bit high, ranging over 10% for the past three years. The Rays have had some recent success helping young pitchers overcome their control problems (Chris Archer, Alex Torres, Brad Boxberger) and will hope to do the same with Dominguez. He does have a live arm, with his fastball averaging over 95 mph for his two short stints in the bigs, and both his slider and his changeup sitting around 85 mph. Dominguez needed to be added to the 40-man roster, and he has been. Here's his movement graph from Texas Leaguers:
Greg Harris is a 20-year old righty who started 16 games for the Dodgers' A-ball affiliate last season. He achieved a 4.45 ERA with a 24.5% strikeout rate and a 7.5% walk rate. He was a 17th round draft pick. I know nothing else about him.
While the trade didn't specifically clear a 40-man roster spot, it did accomplish something similar by moving Liberatore, who was one of the players likely to need protection from the Rule 5 draft. Greg Harris is not yet eligible for the draft.
All statistics are from FanGraphs.