LOS ANGELES — Thor may have been a big hit in Hollywood with “The Avengers,” but the Noah Syndergaard version of Thor ended his time with the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Looking for a way to end what was a failed attempt to revitalize the career of one of the game’s most dominant pitchers from the late 2010s, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians in exchange for Amed Rosario, who will give L.A. more options at shortstop. While Syndergaard never delivered on the mound during his brief time with the franchise, the Dodgers have also not found the right solution at shortstop either this season as the shadow of Trea Turner, who left for Philadelphia and a mega-contract in the offseason, still looms large.
The Guardians are hoping that Syndergaard can be serviceable enough to return to a rotation that needs someone who can eat innings. The Dodgers are hoping that a change of scenery can rectify the defensive issues that have plagued Rosario this season (he is, by FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved metric, the worst shortstop in the league at minus-15).
Basically, this is a trade based on hope for both teams.
Los Angeles Dodgers hoping Amed Rosario can be more effective than Noah Syndergaard
Following Wednesday’s matinee loss at Chavez Ravine to the Toronto Blue Jays, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t discuss the trade much since it wasn’t official at the time, only quipping, “I know he’s a heck of a ballplayer.”
That’s on the offensive side, where Rosario is slightly below his career slash line numbers this season with a .265/.306/.369 mark in 412 plate appearances. He’s been very effective against lefties, slashing .303/.345/.477, so could he join the recently acquired Kiké Hernandez as a platoon player who would specialize against those pitchers?
Meanwhile, Syndergaard hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since giving up six runs on seven hits in 3.0 innings of work against the Cincinnati Reds on June 7. It was his eighth consecutive outing without a quality start and, with the blister on his right index finger that landed him on the 15-day injured list after that performance in Cincinnati, it was clear that the right-hander was done in a Dodgers uniform. Even with all of the injuries and inconsistency that has happened this season on the mound in L.A., Syndergaard would have been more of a continuation of the problem rather than the solution.
His final numbers with the Dodgers? Over 12 starts, he posted a 7.16 ERA/5.54 FIP/1.446 WHIP. Those numbers are all the highest of his career in a season where he has made more than two starts.
After that start in Cincinnati, Syndergaard told reporters, “When it rains, it pours. It’s just kind of hard to stop the bleeding right now. I’m running out of words to explain what’s going on.”
Those words and his numbers signified Syndergaard was done in L.A. Rosario was coming to the end of his contract in Cleveland. It’s a trade where both teams are hoping they can grab a lottery ticket, with the Dodgers having the more likely shot of that thanks to Rosario’s abilities at the plate.