Dodgers trade Ferguson to NYY, add Brasier on 2-year deal

February 8th, 2024

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have been the most active team in the league this offseason, but they’re not done just yet. In fact, with pitchers and catchers reporting on Thursday, this could be a busy week for Los Angeles.

The activity got started Monday morning, when the Dodgers put some final touches on their bullpen. First, the club finalized a trade that sent left-hander Caleb Ferguson to the Yankees for left-hander and righty pitching prospect Christian Zazueta Jr.

With Ferguson off to New York, the Dodgers had an open bullpen spot, which they quickly filled by agreeing to terms with veteran right-hander on a two-year, $9 million deal.

Ferguson played a big role for the Dodgers last season, posting a 3.43 ERA over 68 appearances (seven starts, all as an opener). The left-hander did, however, struggle in high-leverage situations and against lefty hitters.

Brasier, on the other hand, was an integral part of the Dodgers bullpen’s drastic second-half turnaround. After getting cut by the Red Sox, Brasier signed a Minor League deal with the Dodgers with hopes of reviving his career. He was able to do that, and emphatically.

The 36-year-old right-hander spent a few weeks at Camelback Ranch working on a cutter that could help him against left-handed hitting. Brasier succeeded in doing so and was nearly untouchable as a Dodger in ‘23.

Brasier made 39 appearances in the regular season with Los Angeles and allowed just three earned runs over 38 2/3 innings. Brasier’s 0.70 ERA with L.A. represented the best 39-game stretch of his career in the Majors.

Now that he’s back in the fold, Brasier will once again be asked to serve as one of the Dodgers’ highest-leverage relievers. Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol are expected to handle the bulk of the eighth- and ninth-inning duties, but the Dodgers also have Joe Kelly and Brasier in the mix.

If there’s one concern with the Dodgers’ bullpen, at least up to this point, it’s the group’s lack of left-handed pitching. With Ferguson and Victor González both traded to the Yankees this offseason, Alex Vesia and Gage are the lone traditional lefty relievers on the 40-man roster. Ryan Yarbrough will also be in the mix, but he will be competing for a spot in the rotation and would only be used in multi-inning situations.

Over the next week, the Dodgers are expected to remain busy. A reunion with Kiké Hernández is still in play, though it would require the Dodgers to trade away someone from their current position-player group. Bringing back Clayton Kershaw is also a priority if the lefty, a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, decides he wants to continue his career with the Dodgers.

If Milwaukee decides to listen to offers on shortstop Willy Adames and/or reliever Devin Williams, the Dodgers will likely be among the teams interested.

With the additions of Gage and Brasier, the Dodgers will need to make room on their 40-man roster, which could also create some other moves. The Dodgers will be able to transfer injured pitchers like Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin to the 60-day injured list beginning on Thursday, which would clear some room.

Zazueta, 19, pitched in 12 games for the Dominican Summer League Yankees last season, making 12 starts and allowing 19 runs in 52 innings while striking out 50.