Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers brought in Teoscar Hernández to remedy a spot in their outfield mix, signing the veteran right-handed bat to a one-year, $23.5 million deal.
Hernández is slated to join his third team in three years, but he joins a Dodgers’ lineup that is loaded with star power. The 2023 season was a down-year by all accounts, but the 31-year-old was able to post a .258/.305/.435 slash with 26 home runs and 93 RBI.
His 105 wRC+ in 2023 was down from the three-year average of 133 wRC+ he held in previous seasons, but Hernández discussed his struggles in 2023 and if he had free agency on his mind.
“I mean, not really, Hernández said. “I was trying to not think about my free agency and trying to get focused on the season. And like I always say, try to help the team win, and win games, as many games as we can. And that was one of my main focuses.
“You know, swing and miss has been in my game my whole career, but I just tried to make adjustments and try to make it better, and just trying to rebound and have a better season than last year.”
Hernández saw his strikeout rate climb to 31.1%, which was a tick up from the previous three seasons (27.2%). The Dodgers haven’t approached him with any adjustments to his game.
“Not really, not really,” Hernández said. “I’m going to be focused on that when I get to Arizona. Right now I’m getting to know everybody and trying to be in the same mind, in the same spot with everybody on the same goal that is winning. And then let’s see what happens in Spring Training.”
Since becoming a staple at the Major League level for the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners, Hernández has 147 home runs, 442 RBI and 391 runs scored.
While he has always been one of the top bats on his club, the Dodgers won’t ask him to be one of their top-three options with immense pressure to produce alongside Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani at the top.
Teoscar Hernández splits in 2023
With the Mariners in 2023, Hernández endured a very rough go across the board. His .217/.263/.380 slash at home was a far cry from his .295/.344/.486 numbers while on the road.
A 45-point difference in wRC+ when at home (81 wRC+) when compared to his road numbers (126 wRC+) is incredibly noticeable when searching for focal points in Hernández’s attractiveness as a free agent. Because his free agent market reportedly never got going, the Dodgers took an expensive gamble on a consistent power threat from the right-hand side.
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