The Los Angeles Dodgers received less-than-stellar production from outfielders Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger last season, but curiously didn’t add a regular outfielder until February. Los Angeles has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with David Peralta, who spent time last season with the Diamondbacks and Rays. Here’s a look at Peralta’s 2022 campaign, and how the new Dodger could fit in to Los Angeles’ plans for this season.
A Look at Peralta
35-year-old outfielder David Peralta is set to come back to the NL West, just a few months after being traded by the Diamondbacks to the Rays. Between time spent in Arizona and Tampa Bay, Peralta hit .251/.316/.415 with 12 home runs, 45 extra base hits, and 59 RBIs. All 12 home runs were hit while the left-handed hitting outfielder played in Arizona.
Despite a less-than-stellar run in Tampa that saw Peralta record a .652 OPS over 47 games (180 PA), the veteran outfielder stayed well within what has become the norm for the new Dodger. Every season, Peralta has seemed to be good for 10-15 home runs, all while making consistent, hard contact at the plate.
Defensively, Peralta did prove to be an above-average field in left. But with poor arm strength, the 35-year-old is essentially limited to that position.
By adding Peralta, the Dodgers bring in an outfielder with a solid track record, while also preserving long-term financial flexibility. Per ESPN, Peralta agreed to a one-year deal with a $6.5 million guarantee. It’s a deal that could be worth as much as $8MM if the veteran outfielder hits all incentives in the agreement.
What it Means
Prior to the acquisition of Peralta, the Dodgers outfield was set to feature Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, and Mookie Betts. While Betts is one of the game’s premier outfielders, Taylor and Thompson both are question marks in 2023.
The 32-year-old Taylor posted a well-below-average 35.2 K% in 2022, and failed to square ball balls in a 2022 campaign that saw the infielder/outfielder hit just .221/.304/.373 last season. Thompson, on the other hand, proved to be a sparkplug for the Dodgers after signing with the team in May 2022. The 31-year-old showed a penchant for laying off pitches out of the zone and making hard contact, but also accumulated a lot of strikeouts as well.
The acquisition of Peralta does give the Dodgers the ability to platoon him with Taylor, a right-handed hitter, in left field. It also gives the Dodgers the added ability to take it slowly with two of the team’s top outfield prospects in James Outman and Andy Pages. The former got a glimpse of the Majors after cracking 31 home runs in the Minors last season, and could have been an option on Opening Day. Outman still may be, but there’s no reason to rush after the signing of Peralta. Pages, meanwhile, is a little farther behind but did hit 26 home runs in 2022 with Tulsa (AA).