The Los Angeles Dodgers added yet another notable name to an already star-studded lineup. On Sunday, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the SF Giants division rivals have signed veteran outfielder Teoscar Hernández to a one-year, $23.5 million pact.
SF Giants division rivals continue to bolster roster in historic offseason
Passan notes that Hernández will defer $8.5 million of the deal to be paid out from 2030 - 2039, thereby lowering the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) hit. The right-handed bat had multi-year offers on the table but took the one-year deal with a higher annual value instead.
This is an example of a team making a player a target and, perhaps, being a bit irrational to get it done. That is not a bad thing either. That said, it makes sense given that the Dodgers will feature a lineup that leans a bit in favor of left-handed hitters with Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, James Outman, and Max Muncy.
Hernández's right-hand bat brings a little more balance to the roster. Joining him from the right side will be Mookie Betts, Chris Taylor, and Will Smith among others.
At any one point, Hernández might be the sixth-best option in the lineup, so why would the Dodgers commit $23.5 million to add the veteran bat? His overall numbers are solid as he has slashed .261/.316/.486 (118 OPS+) with a 7.0 percent walk rate, 29.7 percent strikeout rate, and a .225 ISO across eight seasons.
He has tallied at least 20 home runs in each of the last five full seasons. There is a bit of swing and miss to his profile, but the lineup will not rely entirely on his contributions. There are plenty of other above-average hitters to shoulder some of that load.
However, the Dodgers will be counting on him to be in the lineup each day, but they expect him to produce in platoon matchups. The 31-year-old bat is relatively platoon-proof, but he has an .887 OPS against left-handed pitchers in his career.
Teams like the Atlanta Braves have been adding lefty pitchers this winter seemingly with the intent of trying to gain a slight edge against a lefty-heavy Dodgers lineup. The Giants added Robbie Ray last week, but the Dodgers have a counter move of their own now.
It has been a frustratingly strong offseason for the division rivals. They have added Ohtani, Hernández, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Tyler Glasnow. It is tough to compete with that level of star power. Unfortunately, the rest of the NL West will have to face off against them 13 times each next season.