Dodgers shake up outfield picture after signing former Diamondbacks star
The Los Angeles Dodgers are ... going for it in 2023? We still don't really know because they've collected an assortment of grizzled MLB veterans on one-year contracts, but have now made it official that they won't be dipping below the first luxury tax threshold. Friday's move makes that much harder to do so.
According to FanSided's Robert Murray, the Dodgers signed former Arizona Diamondbacks star outfielder David Peralta, whose best years game in 2015 (.893 OPS, 137 OPS+), 2018 (Silver Slugger) and 2019 (Gold Glove). He's since fallen off a bit, but still offers above-average production on both sides of the ball.
His D-backs tenure ended in 2022 when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the deadline. In 961 career games with Arizona, Peralta hit .283 with an .803 OPS, 112 OPS+, 110 home runs and 468 RBI. He added a cumulative three Defensive Runs Saved and 15 Outs Above Average in the outfield.
He's exclusively played left field for quite some time, so perhaps that's where the Dodgers will use him to start the 2023 season ... because we doubt they handed him $6.5 million to hang out on the bench.
What does this mean for guys like James Outman, Trayce Thompson and Chris Taylor? We'd guess Outman's status is unaffected because the Dodgers seem high on him. Then again, he still has much to prove. Is Thompson the odd man out? Will Taylor be more of a utility player rather than a consistent center fielder?
Dodgers sign David Peralta and shake up outfield picture
Mookie Betts has right field on lock. Center field was expected to, as of recently, be manned by Taylor, with some peripheral competition between Jason Heyward and Bradley Zimmer for more reps. Outman was also a potential candidate. The discourse surrounding Thompson kind of dissipated.
Left field was seemingly reserved for either Thompson or Outman, depending upon how spring training shook out. Now that it's likely Peralta's job (since JD Martinez will live in the DH spot), we can't help but think a trade might be on the way. Could the Dodgers be willing to part with one of Thompson or Outman? If Taylor will log most of his reps in center and/or left, do the Dodgers really need five outfielders?
Then again, the Dodgers are masterful at finding reps for their deep rosters. Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson technically weren't full-time starters during their time in LA, but they consistently played in 120+ games.
With Peralta in the picture, he at least provides a bit more stability and support since Thompson's consistency at the plate came into question toward the end of last season, while Outman, as promising as he looked, is still an unproven commodity.