The Dodgers were unable to land a high-leverage reliever at the trade deadline Wednesday, but at the last minute acquired left-hander Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league outfielder Niko Hulsizer.
Kolarek, 30, is 4-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 54 appearances this season. He has accumulated only 43 1/3 innings because he’s often used to face left-handed batters late in games. The Dodgers have a need for a situational left-hander, although they would have preferred to acquire a dominant left-hander such as Felipe Vazquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Dodgers, however, were not willing to pay the price the Pirates demanded.
In parts of three seasons with the Rays, Kolarek is 6-3 with a 4.19 ERA and 59 strikeouts, while limiting left-handed batters to a .209 batting average. This season, he’s held left-handers to a .238 batting average, two home runs and a .531 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 80 at-bats.
The Dodgers entered the season with left-handers Tony Cingrani, Caleb Ferguson and Scott Alexander to deploy. But injuries and poor performance left them with a hole in the bullpen.
Cingrani was sidelined during spring training with a shoulder injury and started the season on the injured list. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the package for infielder Jedd Gyorko on Wednesday.
Left-handers accumulated a .976 OPS in 35 plate appearances against Alexander before he was placed on the injured list June 11 with left forearm inflammation. He hasn’t pitched since. Ferguson was the the final left-hander standing and is currently on the Dodgers’ roster. He has a 5.88 earned-run average in 27 appearances around two stints in the minor leagues.
Hulsizer, 22, is batting .265 with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in Class A this season. He was the Dodgers’ 18th-round draft pick in 2018.