MLB Breaking News: The Oakland Athletics have agreed to trade infielder Sheldon Neuse (#5 prospect on mlb.com) and RHP Gus Varland (#28) to the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Adam Kolarek and outfielder Cody Thomas (Dodgers’ #29 prospect).
This MLB breaking news comes just after the Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer to a three-year deal, and the Athletics acquired Elvis Andrus.
MLB Breaking News: The Dodgers’ Side
Kolarek was the Dodgers’ designated LOOGY for Juan Soto in the 2019 NLDS, and carries a career 3.32 ERA, including a 0.95 ERA with a 5.6 BB% over 16 innings last year for LA.
The underrated star of this MLB breaking news is Cody Thomas. He is a remarkable hitter with tools similar to 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger, slamming 23 homers across 474 at bats in Double-A in 2019. He also raked in 2020 MLB Spring Training before it was cancelled in March while playing solid defense in right field.
Look for him to compete for the starting DH and RF role and to be a key contributor from the left-handed batter’s box.
The Athletics’ Side
The other side of this MLB breaking news is Sheldon Neuse. He is an excellent acquisition for the Dodgers, earning a cup of coffee at the MLB level in 2019. He is a better fielder than Edwin Ríos at third, and should compete for the starting third base job, or form a platoon with Ríos if the Dodgers are unable or unwilling to re-sign Justin Turner.
Neuse could potentially see some limited action at shortstop to give Corey Seager an off day or two with the MLB breaking news of the universal DH not coming to MLB in 2021, and could turn into another Oakland product that the Dodgers acquire and bring to the next level.
RHP Gus Varland tops out at 95 mph with a solid slider and a developing changeup. He only has 64.1 innings of MiLB experience, but in that time he held batters to 0.96 WHIP with a 1.54 ERA primarily out of the starting rotation before needing Tommy John surgery in 2019.
He is eligible for the Rule 5 draft after this season, and it will be interesting how the Dodgers plan to utilize him.
With how the Athletics have played this offseason, don’t expect this to be their last trade before Opening Day on April 1st.
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