Splits-Free Righty Bat
Anthony Rendon, J.D. Martinez, and a combination of Alex Bregman and George Springer. All of these hitters have taken down the Dodgers for three seasons in a row. What do they all have in common? Their ability to hit right-handed and left-handed pitching very well.
Does that sound familiar? Not to most Dodgers’ fans I’m sure, unless you’re thinking about David Freese. The Dodgers have had lefty-heavy lineups for the last few seasons, with Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Max Muncy leading the offense into postseason oblivion.
As far as in-house options go, Justin Turner is the obvious answer, yet he just does not quite have the impact that a Rendon or J.D. Martinez-type power hitter has. Even though Turner popped 27 home runs this season, he really just does not have the same ability to take over a game from the plate, with the last time he did probably coming in 2016 or 2017.
So how can the Dodgers address this for 2020? Obviously, they could sign Rendon, and maybe even Martinez (though he’ll probably stay with the Red Sox or at least stay in the AL). But beyond these two options, the team will probably need either a lower-cost option or to make a trade.
Who is available? Nicholas Castellanos comes to mind for me from the free-agent market. The 6’4 former-Tiger and former-Cub, Castellanos can flat out hit. After his trade to the NL, he hit 16 home runs and drove in 36 runs in two months. His splits are favorable too, as he hits lefties with a .370 AVG and has eight homers in 108 ABs against them.
He could play left field for the Dodgers over Matt Beaty or Chris Taylor, even though I really do love them both.
Off of the trade market, Khris Davis could be an interesting rental option from Oakland. Though the Athletics would be selling low and selling one of the faces of their franchise, he had a down year last season and he really may not fit into their long-term plans, though he may not quite be the dynamic hitter that Castellanos is, and his defense may actually be even worse.
I’ll get more into these sorts of rumors as the offseason progresses, but regardless, the Dodgers really were missing a right-handed staple in the middle of their order this postseason.