Let’s get on the same page here: the Dodgers have no glaring needs for an outfielder at all. Sure, making improvement would be nice and they could perhaps trade either Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson for a pitcher, opening up a spot for a signing or trade. But, at the end of the day, improvements to the outfield in Los Angeles are more so a matter of wish rather need.
That being said, let’s start our wish list in left field.
The market for outfielders this offseason is certainly plentiful with left field being the weakest of the bunch. Marwin Gonzalez is available and so is Derek Dietrich. But, Michael Brantley is my pick for the Dodgers.
Brantley is a weird case- great baseball player but he is made of glass (the really thin kind that breaks way too easily). Over the last three seasons, the now 31-year old has played in just 244 games after dealing with leg and core related injuries in each of the last three seasons with 2018’s version being over significantly lesser significance than the other two years.
But, what Brantley lacks in the ability to avoid the DL, he makes up for in his skills with a bat. In full seasons played since 2014 (120+ games) Brantley has not hit lower than .309 and his lowest OPS+ in the same stretch is 123. Brantley also has a knack for avoiding the strikeout, one of the Dodgers biggest issues, as he has been punched out a combined 479 times in his 10-year career of 4,055 at-bats.
Brantley’s on-field issue is his defense. In 2018, his DRS in left field was -3 while his UZR stayed positive, albeit just barely, at .5.
The offense, the defense and the health issues come together for a $15 million per year valuation. At 31-years old I would worry about the overpay but when Brantley is healthy he is really good. If we are being totally honest I take Brantley over Kemp. $45 million over three years is the goal here and if that can happen, sign me up.
As for honorable mentions, I’ll rethrow the bone to Marwin Gonzalez and Derek Dietrich. Gonzalez hurt the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series so if you can’t beat him buy him. As for Dietrich, he is the youngest option for left fielders this offseason and I would buy in because he showed some promise in 2018.