The Dodgers have one of the greatest outfielders in the sport Mookie Betts. But after him, out of the blue, the outfield scenario in LA seems a bit — unsettled, to place it calmly.
The non-tendering of Cody Bellinger places a much bigger dent in the outfield depth, even when he is not the participant he as soon as was (and nonetheless may come again). After Betts, the outfield depth chart is as follows:
And you possibly can throw Miguel Vargas and his restricted time in left area in the combine. That’s… not nice. Sure, there’s some potential with Outman and Pages, however Taylor is coming off an injury-plagued season, Thompson is not a positive wager to be the man he was in 2022 going ahead, Lux might be higher suited in at second base and DeLuca is generally an unknown at this level.
Long story quick, the Dodgers are going to need to deal with the outfield scenario. Here are some guys who needs to be on the radar.
Of course, Aaron Judge is the largest identify out there amongst outfielders this offseason. The reigning AL MVP is coming off a 62-home run season and goes to receives a commission. There has been some scuttlebutt about the Dodgers being in Judge — and even that Mookie Betts, in keeping with some, would contemplate a transfer to second base to make room for him — however I nonetheless do not see it. Judge goes to command a mammoth deal and is coming into his age-31 season. Sure, the Dodgers gave final spring Freddie Freeman a big contract forward of his age-32 season, however Freeman had been a way more constant performer than Judge over his profession and was a lot more healthy. Still, if the Dodgers felt snug sufficient giving Judge the contract he has earned, then it’d be type of arduous to not be on board with it.
Other nook outfielders on the free-agent market who may make some sense to incorporate 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, Prof. Jurickson. I’m undecided what number of 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 did not precisely return the outcomes (.671 OPS) the Dodgers have been anticipating. A Pollock reunion won’t be the worst concept, however he’s restricted to simply left area. Profar is principally a unique model of Taylor — versatile with offensive flaws. Benintendi seems destined for a second-division crew to be a full-timer, whereas Brantley — regardless of being the greatest hitter of this bunch — might be solely a chosen hitter at this level. Of the free brokers, Haniger makes the most sense, however he additionally figures to have loads of curiosity.
If solely Joc Pederson hadn’t acquired (and accepted) the qualifying supply, which is wild to consider.
Because of the subpar non-Judge choices, the commerce market may make extra sense. We’ve already seen Teoscar Hernandez, Kyle Lewis and Hunter Renfroe traded this offseason, so there will likely be motion on that entrance. Other names that could possibly be on the market embrace Ian Happ, Austin Hays, Aaron Hicks, Max Kepler, Bryan Reynolds, Anthony Santander, Jorge Soler and Jesse Winker.
Reynolds could be supreme, as they may put him in left area and, in idea, get good offensive and improved protection as a result of Reynolds is not an excellent middle fielder. However, he’d have the highest acquisition price since he is 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 may in all probability be had. Hays could be an fascinating buy-low candidate, however the Orioles aren’t precisely trying to commerce younger expertise at this level. The relaxation all have some type of different flaw in their respective sport. Kepler has two above-average seasons (by wRC+) in his profession, and one was the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Santander is in the similar 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).
Center area is a bit of a unique scenario. Sure, the Dodgers may go together with an Outman/Taylor/Thompson amalgam, however they may in all probability do higher.
Non-Bellinger free-agent middle fielders included Kevin Kiermaier (reported curiosity in him), Brandon Nimmo and … that is about it. Kiermaier could be not less than on par, if not higher, defensively than Bellinger and Nimmo could be a large improve over the present model of Bellinger, whereas being considerably serviceable in middle. As for Judge, wherever he finally ends up signing, he is in all probability going to play in a nook and never middle area, regardless of spending greater than 600 innings there in 2022.
Teams aren’t precisely lining as much as commerce their controllable middle fielders, so the marketplace for a commerce is probably not there. Seriously, I’m having a tough time even arising with any names who could possibly be out there and could be upgrades over what the Dodgers have proper now. I assume Cedric Mullins is the almost certainly, and that is not even in all probability. Maybe Ramon Laureano is the man, even when he has been inconsistent on each side of the ball.
Factoring in what it would take to land mentioned outfielders — both cash or commerce — right here are my Top 5 non-Bellinger and Judge corner- and middle area decisions from the gamers talked about above, ranked:
Happ’s commerce acquisition price should not be prohibitive and Haniger’s free-agent deal should not be too expensive. However, Hangier’s well being is a bit of a priority. Reynolds would take loads to accumulate from Pittsburgh, however it may 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 greatest defender of the lot, so it’d be like having Bellinger of the previous few years on the market with in all probability higher offense for a lower cost. Lauerano could be a medium-risk, medium-reward man. Hays might be higher in a nook and I’d truly prefer to see what LA may do with him. Nimmo goes to receives a commission handsomely and I do not suppose the Dodgers are the ones who will do it. Mullins in all probability is not going wherever.
You know what? Screw it. Just commerce for Mike Trout.