(Game date: Oct. 23, 2018) — The Toronto Nomads have offloaded right fielder/DH Victor Sarmiento to the California Tidals, picking up 25-year-old third baseman Dusty Vega in return.
The cannon-armed Sarmiento was a key player in the Toronto re-tooling after a sizzling 2016 season, when he hit .311 and had an OPS of .898, raking 12 home runs in 59 games.
But last season, he tapered off, sinking to a .230 average, and seeing declining numbers in runs, HRs, and OPS. He struggled through shoulder tendinitis for a few weeks in 2017 that had an impact on his performance at the plate.
This past season, “Visa” Sarmiento was out for 5 weeks with a finger fracture suffered on opening day. He managed just 32 games before he was on the DL again with a PCL strain, and may not recover before spring training.
California spent the year rebuilding, meanwhile, and a healthy Sarmiento for 2019 adds some of the power lost in their earlier Jim Lahey trade with Nevada, at a reasonable price. Sarmiento’s arbitration award was just $845K after his injury-plagued year.
The other half of the deal, Dusty Vega, fills a need for Toronto at the hot corner, where they’ve had a succession of players try for a full-time spot there without much success. Vega, a native of Tucson, doesn’t have Sarmiento’s power, but is a patient bat with some baserunning speed and a great infield glove.
In 74 games this year, his rookie season, he hit 10 home runs, scored 28 runs, stole 4 bases, and hit for a .229 average. However, Toronto see improvement on the horizon for Vega, who at the least can take the reigns at 3B until Brock Deetz makes more progress.