The Los Angeles Dodgers won a franchise-record 106 games this year, and a number of different players played a part in making that happen.
One of those under-the-radar players who wound up making a bigger impact than anyone could have expected was utility infielder Kristopher Negrón after coming over in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.
In 10 games with the Mariners this season, Negrón hit just .217/.280/.217 with three runs scored and an RBI. He fared much better with their Triple-A Tacoma affiliate, batting .310/.396/.503 with 12 home runs, 62 runs scored and 61 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 82 games.
That production led to the Dodgers dealing for Negrón in July when both of their most versatile players, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez, were on the injured list.
The 33-year-old came in and fit in well in the clubhouse, making the most of his limited opportunities to finish out the season. Negrón hit safely in his first seven starts with the Dodgers, and overall batted .259/.298/.389 with two home runs, nine runs scored and seven RBI in 30 games.
Ultimately, Negrón was only needed as a fill-in to finish out the regular season though as both Taylor and Hernandez returned in time for the postseason. Negrón was left off the National League Division Series roster but was still around to support his teammates throughout the series against the Washington Nationals.
Negrón’s first two games with the Dodgers took place against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field and they were memorable ones. Starting at second base, Negrón went a combined 3-for-8 in the two contests, hitting a home run in each of them en route to consecutive victories.
Major League Baseball’s annual Players’ Weekend was also a highlight for Negrón, not for his play on the field, but for the nickname he put on the back of his jersey. He went with Negrón James, paying homage to Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James, to make for one of the best nicknames in the league that weekend.
In what was a bit of a surprising move, Negrón announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2019 season. He is returning to the Mariners organization as an assistant to the director of player development.
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