WASHINGTON -- Growing up, it was all “Dodgers, Dodgers, Dodgers,” Tyler White remembered hearing.
So now being able to don Dodger blue has made White more excited about his trade from Houston to Los Angeles. But more important to him is the opportunity a change of scenery may have on turning around what’s been a difficult season -- both playing-time and production-wise, which go hand-in-hand.
“I could never get a really good momentum going. I’d have good weeks or really good days, but I could never put together a good month, and that hurt me,” White said of his 2019 season, which has seen him bat .225/.320/.330 with three homers and 21 RBIs across 71 games. “I think that’s a good reason to be really excited to be here. It’s kind of a fresh start, and I’m excited to help this team out and get on the right track.”
White, who was designated for assignment last Saturday, was acquired from the Astros on Thursday in exchange for Minor League arm Andre Scrubb.
But White's playing-time woes could now change due in part to first baseman David Freese landing on the 10-day injured list Friday with a nagging left hamstring strain. Both occupy similar roles: a right-handed bat off the bench when needed and experience on the right side of the infield.
“It’s just something that we can’t get over and he’s doing everything he can to stay on the field, but we’re not getting the best version of him as far as his health,” manager Dave Roberts said of Freese. “[We want] to get him back to health and get that hamstring right and get his legs back under him where he can be as productive as he expects to be.”
Confidence lies in White’s track record. A 33rd-round pick in the 2013 Draft, White has played an important role for the Astros with his flashes of power and batting average over .275 each of the past two years.
“You never want to make comparisons, but in this particular case, the Max Muncy kind of foresight as far as he’s been a defender before,” Roberts said. “But the other side of the plate being a right-handed hitter could give us some optionality.”
“I’ve had a lot of success in the past pinch-hitting, so that’s definitely something I could [do to help],” White added. “I don’t look at this year as a bad year so far. … It hasn’t been as I planned, but there are always new opportunities and new chances to prove yourself.”
As for what the Dodgers gave up for White, it was Scrubb, an eighth-round pick in 2016, who was 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 29 games (two starts) for Double-A Tulsa.
This is the Dodgers’ first trade with the Astros since the Aug. 1, 2016, acquisition of reliever Josh Fields for Yordan Alvarez, who has gone on to be one of the most impactful rookie sluggers in MLB.