The Los Angeles Dodgers are already undergoing a change early on in the offseason. They’ve reportedly made a decision on Hanser Alberto’s team option for the 2023 season. Alberto was set to earn $2 million if it was picked up, or $250K if it was rejected.
And $250K it’ll be! According to Juan Toribio of MLB.com, the Dodgers will be declining the veteran’s team option in what some might characterize as a surprising move.
Alberto wasn’t an impact player, but he served as a consistent positive force of energy in the clubhouse. Additionally, he was versatile on defense (he’s played every position with the exception of center field and catcher) and he was the perfect garbage innings reliever. When the Dodgers were in a pinch, they could throw him somewhere on the field or use him to preserve the bullpen.
So, for $2 million, some might say that’s a good price for what he brought to the table. The Dodgers don’t feel that way, it seems, and now they’ll add another need to their growing offseason docket.
Just a week ago, Alberto got a ringing endorsement from Mookie Betts, which seemed like it’d play a significant role in his return for 2023. Maybe the two sides work out a deal at a cheaper price now?
Dodgers to reportedly decline Hanser Alberto’s 2023 team option
The Dodgers also declined Jimmy Nelson’s $1.1 million option for 2023.
With so much payroll flexibility, though, nobody really expected the Dodgers to be penny pinching like this. Perhaps they’ve identified a better candidate via trade or on the open market and are willing to pay more? It’s unclear who that might be, but jettisoning Alberto undoubtedly affects the continuity.
Alberto’s overall offensive numbers weren’t good, but he hit .350 with a .981 OPS in 21 plate appearances with two outs and runners in scoring position. He provided a positive impact on defense (0.2 dWAR). For the last guy on the bench, who’s arguing with that output?
The best part, though? His postgame videos goofing around with his teammates. His various celebrations from the top of the dugout whenever somebody delivered in a big moment. His jovial postgame interviews that always revealed how grateful he was to be a Dodger.
If this is the end, fans will remember Alberto’s 2022 in a positive light. That video with Joey Gallo and Cody Bellinger in Chippendales outfits? Never forget.