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Dodgers signing OF Teoscar Hernandez to one-year, $23.5 million deal

Los Angeles continues its offseason spending spree by landing a much-needed righty option in the outfield.

Teoscar Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Globe Life Field on September 23, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers had already dropped over a billion dollars so far this winter, so what’s $23.5 million more? It may not be as landscape altering as Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto or Tyler Glasnow, but Andrew Friedman and Co. continued to add talent to their roster, reportedly reaching agreement on a one-year deal with former Blue Jays and Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernández late Sunday night.

The team has not yet confirmed the move. But per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, $8.5 million of the $23.5 million will be deferred and paid out over a ten-year period from 2030 through 2039.

Hernández, who turned 31 last October, is coming off a relatively disappointing season with the Mariners in which he slashed .258/.305/.435 (106 OPS+) with 26 homers, 93 RBI and seven steals in 160 games. Prior to coming to Seattle, he appeared to be one of the game’s more underappreciated sluggers, posting a combined slash line of .283/.333/.519 (133 OPS+) from 2020 through 2022 while getting MVP votes twice and earning an All-Star nod with the Toronto Blue Jays.

It feels like we pretty much know who Hernandez is as a player at this point. He’s up there to mash, and he’s never met a pitch he didn’t think he could send a long, long way. That means lots of homers — he’s hit at least 25 in four of the last five years — but also lots of strikeouts, and the Dodgers will be hoping that he makes enough contact for the former to outweigh the latter. Luckily for L.A., though, they’re perfectly positioned to maximize Hernández’s strengths while hiding his weaknesses.

Despite bringing in Manuel Margot as part of the Tyler Glasnow trade, Los Angeles still found itself at least one outfielder short — preferably a righty-hitting one, given the extreme platoon splits of James Outman and Jason Heyward. The Dodgers won’t need Hernández to be an everyday player, shielding him from tougher righties while letting him feast on the left-handed pitching he’s excelled against for his entire career. (Hernandez has a .887 career OPS against southpaws and a .772 mark against righties.) This is a pretty hefty salary for one year, but it’s also just one year, and money is no object for Andrew Friedman and Co. right now. Plus, Hernandez was the team’s cleanest fit of all the available corner bats on the market.