Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Part of the Los Angeles Dodgers taking a conservative approach to free agency last offseason was signing David Peralta to a one-year, $6.5 million contract. His deal included incentives that amounted to the potential to earn an additional $1.5 million in bonuses.
The Dodgers had been plenty familiar with Peralta, as he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks over parts of nine seasons. Peralta’s stint with the Diamondbacks came to an end at the trade deadline last year, when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The veteran outfielder had a down 2022 season but was confident undergoing back surgery would lead to a bounce-back year in 2023. That largely played out until Peralta was among several Dodgers to struggle against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series.
After the Dodgers were swept, Peralta thanked fans, his teammates and others for an otherwise enjoyable season with the organization.
Peralta batted .259/.294/.381 with 25 doubles, seven home runs and 55 RBI over 133 games. He was largely regulated to a platoon role in left field but did have modest success in limited opportunities against left-handed pitching.
But Peralta was not afforded such opportunity in Game 3 of the NLDS, when Austin Barnes pinch-hit in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ eventual 4-2 elimination loss.
“It was a situation we needed to get a hit. And I just think with the left-on-left, the ball going away from him, it’s a sinker, David has a tendency to put the ball on the ground,” manager Dave Roberts explained after the game.
“Austin is a guy who has been in many postseasons, got huge hits for us. It was a chance to get a righty on the lefty. He just expanded. It was a ball down below the zone and let him off the hook right there.”
Torey Lovullo appreciates David Peralta
Peralta was back in the postseason this year for the first time since facing the Dodgers in the 2017 NLDS as a member of the Diamondbacks.
Previously playing for the organization allowed him to develop a close bond with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.
“Personally, David was a player that I gravitated to, appreciated his effort, his honesty, his ability to connect emotionally with me, the players around him, the staff,” Lovullo said during the NLDS.
“And then he connected with the community in an unbelievable way. I know he was a fan favorite because of the freight train and all that stuff. He’s emotional. But the things he did inside of our baseball community and inside of the Phoenix community are amazing.
“And a lot like Mookie Betts, I enjoy watching David compete and go out there. Of course, we don’t want them to do well. We try to figure out how to get them out at all times. But when I’m seeing them from afar and they’re having success and they’re helping the team win, I get pretty excited for them.”
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