Teoscar Hernández reaches deal with Dodgers (source)

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Joined: Nov 2016

5:28 AM UTC

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers’ impressive offseason got even better late Sunday night, as the club and All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernández agreed to a one-year, $23.5 million contract, sources confirmed to MLB.com. The club has not confirmed the deal. 

Even after adding Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot, the Dodgers were in the market for a right-handed-hitting outfielder that could hit lefties and hold his own against right-handed pitching. 

Hernández was identified as an early target for the Dodgers this winter. The two-time Silver Slugger had plenty of other offers, including two-year deals from the Red Sox and Angels, according to sources, but ultimately decided on a one-year pact with the Dodgers in order to be part of what should be one of the top offenses in the Majors, perhaps even the best. 

A consistent power source, Hernández is one of 12 players to hit at least 25 homers in each of the past four full seasons. That includes his 26 dingers last year with the Mariners, whom he joined following an offseason trade from Toronto. Yet his 2023 season didn’t quite live up to expectations for a player who received MVP votes and was a Silver Slugger winner in 2020 and 2021.

Regardless of the ballpark, one thing Hernández has always excelled at is hitting left-handed pitching, with a career .887 OPS against southpaws. With the Dodgers, Hernández would get most of the starts in right field against left-handers and would slide over to left field against right-handers, as Mookie Betts projects to play most of his games at second base. Chris Taylor will also get at-bats as a utility man this season. 

With Hernández on board, the Dodgers will likely not be adding any more position players this winter. The club has explored options at shortstop, but nothing has materialized via trade, particularly with the Brewers for Willy Adames. 

After registering a wRC+ of 130 or better in each of his final three years with the Blue Jays, Hernández turned in a 105 wRC+ with the Mariners. His expected weighted on-base average declined for the third straight year, down to .336, and his .741 OPS was his lowest since his 2016 debut year with the Astros. Hernández saw just 100 at-bats with Houston before he was dealt to the Blue Jays prior to the 2017 Trade Deadline.

Plate discipline has never really been Hernández’s forte, and that was especially true last season. His chase rate was a career-worst 35.2 percent. He recorded a career-low 5.6% walk rate against a 31.1 percent strikeout rate. His 211 K’s and 35.8% whiff rate were each near the top among qualified players.

Hernández often stung the ball whenever he did make contact, as evidenced by his stellar 49.4 percent hard-hit rate and 13.8 percent barrel rate. The 31-year-old really punished four-seam fastballs to the tune of a .302 average, .659 slugging percentage and an extremely high 72.4% hard-hit rate.

He’s not an elite defender, but Hernández does provide value in the outfield thanks to his strong, accurate arm in right field. His 12 assists were tied for the third most among all outfielders last season, and his 22 assists over the past two seasons trail only the Nationals’ Lane Thomas.

Hernández’s most productive full season to date came in ‘21, when he socked 32 homers, drove in 116 runs and compiled a .296/.346/.524 slash line with Toronto.


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