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Dodgers trade relievers Adam Kolarek and Dylan Floro for promising young players

Dodgers relief pitcher Adam Kolarek throws against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 17.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

With Justin Turner unsigned and third base still a question, the Dodgers acquired another third baseman Friday, sending left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek and outfielder Cody Thomas to the Oakland Athletics for third baseman Sheldon Neuse and right-handed pitcher Gus Varland.

The Dodgers, however, don’t view Neuse as Turner’s replacement. They’re still in play for Turner. Neuse is instead seen as a depth piece, a right-handed bat they could use after also losing Kiké Hernández this offseason.

Neuse, 26, made his major league debut in 2019 and didn’t appear in a game for the Athletics in 2020. He has 61 plate appearances and 25 games on his major league résumé.

A few hours later the Dodgers announced a second trade: Right-handed reliever Dylan Floro was sent to the Miami Marlins for left-handed reliever Alex Vesia and minor league right-hander Kyle Hurt.

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Neuse and Vesia were both on their previous teams’ 40-man rosters, so they moved directly to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. The Dodgers, as a result, would need to make another move to create a spot for Turner if he re-signs.

Floro, 30, arrived in Los Angeles in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds during the 2018 season. The sinker specialist had a 3.10 earned-run average in 98 2/3 innings across 104 regular-season appearances for the Dodgers. He allowed eight runs (six earned) in 12 1/3 innings over 14 games between the 2018 and 2020 postseasons.

Vesia, 24, made his major league debut in 2020 and struggled, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) in five games. But the Bay Area product was dominant in the minors; he posted a 1.76 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings across three levels in 2019.

The Marlins drafted the 22-year-old Hurt out of USC in the fifth round of last year’s draft. He hasn’t pitched in a professional game yet because the 2020 minor league baseball season was canceled.

Neuse also didn’t play in any games in 2020. He spent the season at the Athletics’ alternative training site in San Jose. He was last seen raking in the hitter-friendly triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2019. He batted .317 with 27 home runs and a .939 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 126 games.

Oakland Athletics third baseman Sheldon Neuse warms up.
The Dodgers acquired Oakland Athletics third baseman Sheldon Neuse in Friday’s trade.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

This isn’t the first time Neuse has been traded. The Washington Nationals drafted Neuse in the second round in 2016 and traded him, Blake Treinen, and Jesús Luzardo to the Athletics for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson the next summer.

Kolarek moves to Oakland after spending a season and a half with Los Angeles. The Dodgers acquired Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline in 2019. The 32-year-old allowed five runs (three earned) in 46 regular season relief appearances for the Dodgers. He gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings across seven playoff games.

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Thomas, 26, played with Neuse at Oklahoma in 2014 and 2016. He had a torrid spring training for the Dodgers last year and spent the season at the team’s alternative training site. Thomas, who also played quarterback at Oklahoma, batted .236 with 23 home runs and a .751 OPS in 130 games for double-A Tulsa in 2019.

The 24-year-old Varland hasn’t reached the majors yet. The right-hander posted a 2.73 ERA in 26 1/3 innings over five games (four starts) in 2019 at Class-A Stockton before undergoing Tommy John surgery. According to reports, Varland returned to pitch eight innings in an instructional league in the fall and had his fastball touch 95 mph.


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