Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a few storylines this offseason with more to accomplish than filling the void in their starting rotation.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman put together a mix and match combination of veteran outfielders this past season with Jason Heyward and David Peralta, in addition to the breakout performance by rookie James Outman.
Heyward and Peralta are back on the open market, which presents another challenge in replacing them on the roster.
The Dodgers have Jonny DeLuca, and recently acknowledged Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch could see time in the outfield next season. But the team may opt to look outside the organization by dipping into free agency or the trade market to address the outfield, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
Corner outfield will be a priority for the Dodgers this winter. With Betts likely to continue to play a large chunk of second base, the Dodgers could be looking for a left fielder and right fielder.
Outman is locked into a starting role, presumably in center field, but he could also move to one of the corner spots.
Mookie Betts’ play saw an offensive uptick when he shifted to the infield, and perhaps there’s something to that switch. Betts has previously said playing the infield feels like a day off for him, and Roberts believed taking on the new challenge helped keep him more locked in.
It also provided the Dodgers with an opportunity to platoon outfielders and get Heyward on the field more often while having an MVP-caliber player at second base. With that being the plan moving forward, corner outfield does seem to be the best spot to address in the lineup.
There is believed to be mutual interest between the Dodgers and Heyward, who made the most of his playing time against right-handed pitching. The veteran enjoyed a resurgent year, batting .269/.340/.473 with 23 doubles, 15 home runs and 40 RBI in 124 games.
Possible outfield targets for the Dodgers
Looking past high-price free agents, the Dodgers have a solid crop of options. Aside from Teoscar Hernández, who the team reportedly has interest in, Friedman could go a few different ways.
Hunter Renfroe is a free agent for the first time in his career and has shown the ability to be a consistent power bat with a plus-arm. He’ll be 32 years old when the 2024 season kicks off, but has slugged 80 home runs since 2021, and could make a return to the National League West after leaving the San Diego Padres after the 2019 season.
Jorge Soler is perhaps the most intriguing name, mainly because of his past success with the Atlanta Braves during their 2021 World Series title run. Soler’s home run ability is evident, mashing 36 long balls for the Miami Marlins this year and becoming an anchor in their lineup.
The Dodgers could also sorely use his proficiency to attack left-handed pitching. Soler logged a 181 wRC+ and had a 1.080 on-base plus slugging percentage in 112 at-bats against southpaws.
The final name to note is Joc Pederson, with a reunion that would be welcomed by fans, and in the lineup as he’s been a consistent postseason performer at every stop in his career. Like Soler, Pederson’s had a huge sample of playoff moments, both with the Dodgers, and against them in the 2021 NL Championship Series.
The biggest downside to Pederson is he may be strictly a designated hitter at this point in his career. But if the Dodgers feel comfortable putting him in left field, his offense would be beneficial to the lineup.
From the trade market, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Tyler O’Neill is reportedly available and could be a solid fit for the Dodgers.
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