The Dodgers have top-of-the-line outfielders within the recreation in Mookie Betts. However after him, abruptly, the outfield scenario in LA seems to be a bit — unsettled, to place it calmly.
The non-tendering of Cody Bellinger put a dent within the outfield depth, even when he isn’t the participant he as soon as was (and he nonetheless might come again). After Betts, the outfield depth chart is as follows:
And you can throw Miguel Vargas and his restricted time in left area within the combine. That’s … not nice. Positive, there’s some potential with Outman and Pages, however Taylor is coming off an injury-plagued season, Thompson isn’t a positive wager to be the man he was in 2022 going ahead, Lux might be higher suited at second base and DeLuca is generally an unknown at this level.
Lengthy story brief, the Dodgers are going to wish to handle the outfield scenario. Listed here are some guys who ought to be on the radar.
Clearly, Aaron Decide is the largest identify out there amongst outfielders this offseason. The reigning AL MVP is coming off a 62 residence run season and goes to receives a commission. There was some scuttlebutt in regards to the Dodgers being taken with Decide — and even that Mookie Betts, in keeping with some, would think about a transfer to second base to make room for him — however I nonetheless don’t see it. Decide goes to command a mammoth deal and is coming into his age-31 season. Positive, the Dodgers final spring gave Freddie Freeman a big contract forward of his age-32 season, however Freeman had been a way more constant performer than Decide over his profession and was a lot more healthy. Nonetheless, if the Dodgers felt snug sufficient giving Decide the contract he has earned, then it’d be type of arduous to not be on board with it.
Others nook outfielders on the free-agent market who might make some sense embody Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, Adam Duvall, Mitch Haniger (to whom the Dodgers have been linked), Joey Gallo, Andrew McCutchen, Tyler Naquin, David Peralta, AJ Pollock, and Jurickson Profar. I’m undecided how a lot guys like Duvall, McCutchen, Naquin and Peralta are actual upgrades over what the Dodgers have internally, so there won’t be a lot there. The Gallo experiment didn’t precisely return the outcomes (.671 OPS) the Dodgers have been anticipating. A Pollock reunion won’t be the worst thought, however he’s restricted to only left area. Profar is principally a unique model of Taylor — versatile with offensive flaws. Benintendi appears destined for a second-division crew to be a full-timer, whereas Brantley — regardless of being the perfect hitter of this bunch — might be solely a chosen hitter at this level. Of the free-agents, Haniger makes probably the most sense, however he additionally figures to have quite a lot of curiosity. If solely Joc Pederson hadn’t obtained (and accepted) the qualifying supply, which is wild to consider.
Due to the subpar non-Decide choices, the commerce market would possibly make extra sense. We’ve already seen Teoscar Hernandez, Kyle Lewis and Hunter Renfroe traded this offseason, so there can be motion on that entrance. Different names who could possibly be in the marketplace embody Ian Happ, Austin Hays, Aaron Hicks, Max Kepler, Bryan Reynolds, Anthony Santander, Jorge Soler and Jesse Winker.
Reynolds can be ultimate, as they may put him in left area and, in concept, get good offense and improved protection as a result of Reynolds isn’t an incredible heart fielder. Nonetheless, he’d have the best acquisition price since he’s not a free agent till after the 2025 season. Happ is a powerful defender in left with good energy who’s a free agent after the 2023 season, so he might most likely be had. Hays can be an attention-grabbing buy-low candidate, however the Orioles aren’t precisely trying to commerce younger expertise at this level. The remainder all have some type of different flaw of their respective recreation. Kepler has two above-average seasons (by wRC+) in his profession, and one was the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Santander is in the identical boat of inconsistency, whereas Soler and Winker are higher suited to be designated hitters. Hicks is kind of injury-prone, however he does have some expertise (even when he hasn’t been good the final two seasons).
Middle area is a little bit of a unique scenario. Positive, the Dodgers might go along with an Outman/Taylor/Thompson amalgom, however they may most likely do higher.
Non-Bellinger free-agent heart fielders embody Kevin Kiermaier (reported curiosity in him), Brandon Nimmo and … that’s about it. Kiermaier can be be at the very least on par, if not higher, defensively than Bellinger, and Nimmo can be a large improve over the present model of Bellinger, whereas being considerably serviceable-ish in heart. As for Decide, wherever he finally ends up signing, he’s most likely going to play in a nook and never heart area, regardless of spending greater than 600 innings there in 2022.
Groups aren’t precisely lining as much as commerce their controllable heart fielders, so the marketplace for a commerce might not be there. Significantly, I’m having a tough time even arising with any names who could possibly be out there and can be upgrades over what the Dodgers have proper now. I assume Cedric Mullins is the most certainly, and that’s not even possible. Possibly Ramon Laureano is the man, even when he has been inconsistent on each side of the ball.
Factoring in what it will take to land stated outfielders — both cash or commerce — listed here are my Prime 5 non-Bellinger and Decide nook and heart fielder decisions from the gamers talked about above, ranked:
Happ’s commerce acquisition price shouldn’t be prohibitive and Haniger’s free-agent deal shouldn’t be too pricey. Nonetheless, Hangier’s well being is a little bit of a priority. Reynolds would take rather a lot to accumulate from Pittsburgh, but it surely would possibly in the end be value it. Pollock and McCutchen are interchangeable, actually, and possibly there’d be some Albert Pujols-like late-career resurgence for a man like McCutchen.
Kiermaier is the perfect defender of the lot, so it’d be like having Bellinger of the previous few years on the market with most likely higher offense for a lower cost. Lauerano can be a medium-risk, medium-reward man. Hays might be higher in a nook and I’d really wish to see what LA might do with him. Nimmo goes to receives a commission handsomely and I don’t assume the Dodgers are the one who will do it. Mullins most likely isn’t going anyplace.
You already know what? Screw it. Simply commerce for Mike Trout.