Despite a career 2.99 FIP and 11.1 K/9, Josh Fields has struggled throughout his career to turn strong peripherals into positive results, possessing a 4.34 ERA in four MLB seasons. Fields is either one of the unluckiest players in baseball, or has a real problem with batted balls in play that is in FIP's blind spot. The Dodgers decided to take a chance on him at the 2016 trade deadline by acquiring him from the Astros and were rewarded with a 2.79 ERA in 19.1 innings, good enough to land him a playoff roster spot. Fields throws a mid-90s fastball and an inconsistent knuckle curveball, a deadly combination when they're both working. He could stand to get some late-inning opportunities for the Dodgers in 2017 if his improvement with them is real, but he doesn't have much time left to develop at age 31.
Fields has seen his velocity dip to the 91-92 mph range after averaging 94.7 mph last season, the Los Angeles Times' Andy McCullough reports. Manager Dave Roberts believes the lack of velocity could be the reason the veteran reliever has surrendered nine earned runs in four Cactus League innings. There is no report of an injury or a case of Fields experiencing a dead arm. It is still early in the spring campaign, so there is time for the 31-year-old to figure out his power issues. If he doesn't, Fields' roster spot could be in jeopardy, considering he relies on his fastball (64 percent) as his primary weapon on the mound.
Fields and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.05 million deal, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Fields' career has been a case study in underperforming his peripherals, as his career 2.99 FIP is more than a run under his 4.34 ERA. That probably din't help in the arbitration negotiations, given that the process is mostly rewarding for traditional stats.
Fields was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday. The veteran reliever has missed bats but failed to prevent runs at an acceptable rate with both the Astros and Dodgers this season. As such, he should pitch primarily in low-leverage situations down the stretch.
Fields was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The right-hander has given up five runs in his last five appearances but pitched well initially upon arrival from Houston, and will likely return next week when rosters expand to 40 players.
Fields was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. As expected, the Dodgers have opted to send Fields to Oklahoma City. He's been a fantastic option from the bullpen at the Triple-A level this season, posting a dominant 1.65 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.