The Dodgers have acquired groundball specialist Scott Alexander in a three-team trade with the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox, according to people familiar with the situation. The Dodgers will send right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks to Kansas City, while the White Sox will receive Dodgers reliever Luis Avilan.
The Dodgers also received minor league infielder Jake Peter from the White Sox, while sending minor league infielder Erick Mejia to the Royals. The White Sox also received right-handed reliever Joakim Soria from Kansas City.
Alexander, a 28-year-old left-handed reliever, appealed to the Dodgers as they refurbish their bullpen while trying to keep their luxury-tax payroll below the $197-million threshold. The Dodgers lost left-hander Tony Watson to free agency, but can pair Alexander with fellow left-hander Tony Cingrani in 2018.
The appeal of Alexander involves his talent, his salary and his relatively brief time in the majors. Alexander will not be a free agent until 2023. He is not eligible for arbitration until 2020. As a rookie in 2017, he posted a 2.48 earned-run average in 58 appearances, while leading all qualified big-league relievers by producing grounders at 73.8% clip.
Oaks, 24, posted a 3.64 ERA in 16 appearances for triple-A Oklahoma City in 2017. His path to the majors was blocked by pitchers such as Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart.
Avilan, 28, is still under team control for two more seasons, but he is eligible for arbitration, and the Dodgers do not want to violate the luxury-tax rules in 2018. He made 61 appearances in 2017 with a 2.96 ERA.