Dodgers reportedly sign bat-first former Royals IF to MLB deal

Adam Weinrib
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 17: Hanser Alberto #49 of the Kansas City Royals waves to the crowd as he does a post-game interview after their 3-1 win over the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium on August 17, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 17: Hanser Alberto #49 of the Kansas City Royals waves to the crowd as he does a post-game interview after their 3-1 win over the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium on August 17, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have dipped their toes slowly into the free agent pool after the curtain rose on the so-called “frenzy” Thursday evening.

Since the end of the lockout, LA has mostly gone about business as usual: welcoming Clayton Kershaw back, but on a short-term, one-year deal, as well as diving heavily into the Freddie Freeman chase, seemingly registering as a co-finalist with the Atlanta Braves.

Somewhat quietly, the Dodgers added another face to their infield mix sometime between Saturday and Sunday (you know, what with the time change and everything).

Reportedly, the team has inked a deal with infielder Hanser Alberto, who could remain a Dodger in 2023 as well if his rumored club option is picked up.

Dodgers’ Hanser Alberto has glowed up from days with Royals, Orioles

For years, Alberto floated around the game as a waiver claim, flitting from the Rangers to the Yankees to the Orioles to the Giants and back again to Baltimore at the beginning of the 2019 season.

From there, though, he shed his reputation as a light-hitting infield fill-in by smacking 12 homers and batting .305 in 139 games with the Orioles. The downside? His OBP was just .329 and his OPS+ mark of 98 represented a theoretically below-average season.

In other words, Alberto grips it and rips it since emerging as a confident ballplayer. There’s room for that, but Dodgers fans shouldn’t expect a Moneyball mastermind who takes his walks to be en route to the dugout.

Regardless, Alberto’s had quite the rise over the past several years. Once upon a time in 2014, he was an award-winning defensive shortstop (?!) at the minor-league level. Now? He’s bulked up and ready to sit at the hot corner and swing away.

Los Angeles isn’t done accruing assets, but the Alberto addition should fill Edwin Rios’ backup third base duties, presuming he’ll have to spend a good chunk of time in the outfield.

Alberto can also take reps at second, mash as the Universal DH, and maybe even get some first base tips from Freeman after he joins the Dodgers in a few days.

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