About two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million contract with former Arizona Diamondbacks (and Tampa Bay Rays) outfielder David Peralta in what was viewed as an offseason twist. The deal was announced three days later.
Where did this come from? Why are the Dodgers continuing to go further beyond the first luxury tax threshold with underwhelming signings? Does this mean there's a lack of faith in any one of Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson or James Outman?
All legitimate questions. But after learning this week that Peralta underwent offseason back surgery to fix a herniated disc (mentioned by insider Robert Murray on The Baseball Insiders), his addition to the active roster becomes even more confusing. This marks the second injured player this offseason the Dodgers spent money on and/or traded assets for, with Miguel Rojas being the first.
Rojas was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins (for No. 15 prospect Jacob Amaya) and then signed to a one-year extension despite undergoing offseason wrist surgery (and dealing with complications after the fact).
Typically, this wouldn't be of the utmost concern, but the Dodgers actively downgraded this offseason and added two hobbled veterans (Rojas is 34 and Peralta is 35). Though both haven't been pegged as surefire starters, we can probably estimate they'll play in 120+ games.
Dodgers' David Peralta underwent offseason back surgery
Even more puzzling is the Dodgers expressed interest in Peralta early on in the offseason, knew he needed surgery, and then ended up footing the bill anyway right before spring training.
"Peralta’s market this winter was slow going, not just as his numbers fell during his time with the Rays, but also because of health. The outfielder required back surgery to address a herniated disk over the winter, with the discomfort coming 'out of nowhere' with Peralta not sure enough to speculate how that might have affected his production. His $6.5 million deal includes up to $1.5 million in additional incentives based on his time on the active roster."- Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic
Back pain "out of nowhere" that immediately requires surgery? Following back-to-back "down" campaigns? And the Dodgers deemed $6.5 million (with the potential for him to earn $8 million) as an appropriate price ... for a platoon player?
This is nothing critical of Peralta. He's had a lengthy, successful MLB career. But the Dodgers have been plagued by injuries the last two years that have derailed their postseason runs. They're introducing younger players into the fold, all of whom still have a lot to prove. Insurance is needed behind them.
Rojas and Peralta as the next line of defense, after learning of their recent ailments, doesn't exactly instill confidence. Guess we'll just have to play the odds in 2023.