Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been busy this offseason addressing their biggest roster needs, which saw them commit more than $1.1 billion to players and landing the two top available free agents in Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
The Dodgers also made one more notable acquisition in Teoscar Hernández, who is their most recent position player added to the group and figures to be a huge piece to their lineup.
Hernández joined the Dodgers on a one-year, $23.5 million contract to solidify their outfield mix. The 31-year-old has been one of Major League Baseball’s most consistent power bats, slugging 147 home runs since the 2018 season.
His free agent market didn’t develop as some projected, so Hernández signed the shorter term deal that will give him another opportunity to hit the open market after the 2023 season.
But the veteran outfielder is also optimistic about his new team, which is another reason he decided to sign with the Dodgers.
“It feels great,” Hernández said. “When you go into an organization that it doesn’t matter how much they have to spend to make their team better and the organization better, that’s where you want to go as a player and a free agent.
“They’re hungry for winning, I’m hungry for winning, and I don’t think there’s a better place than the Dodgers right now.”
Hernández has a prominent role in an already potent offense, but he won’t be asked to be a focal point with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani at the top of their lineup.
The Dodgers have lacked a power hitting right-handed outfielder for a few years, which makes Hernández an intriguing addition to an already loaded lineup, but his main focus is to mash against lefties. In his career, Hernández owns a 136 wRC+ against southpaws, but has also displayed a fair amount of pop in same-handed matchups.
How the Dodgers can utilize Teoscar Hernández
The outfield shakeup of the 2023 caused the Dodgers to utilize platoon roles to maximize their options with only James Outman as a regular in the outfield.
With the expectation that Hernández is an everyday player, the Dodgers can now utilize a platoon solely in one corner spot if they chose, or they could allow Manuel Margot to platoon with Outman while Chris Taylor mixes in for Jason Heyward.
Although Hernández graded out fairly solid in right field, the Dodgers may ask him to play left field next season.
In 1,160.1 defensive innings in 2023, Hernández managed a 6.7 UZR/150, which is a park-adjusted statistic that measure’s a player’s defensive ability over 150 games played, with a higher number being more favorable.
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