Dominican outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and the Dodgers have reached a deal on a one-year, $23.5 million deal, a source tells MLB.com’s Juan Toribio. The club has not yet confirmed the agreement.
A consistent source of power, Hernandez is one of 12 players who have hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last four full seasons. This includes 26 homers last year with the Mariners, whom he joined after an offseason trade from Toronto. However, his 2023 didn’t entirely live up to expectations for a player who received MVP votes and was a Silver Slugger winner in 2020 and 2021.
After posting a wRC+ of 130 or higher in each of his previous three years with the Blue Jays, Hernandez had a wRC+ of 105 with the Mariners. His wOBA dropped to .336 for the third consecutive year, and his .741 OPS was his lowest since his debut year with the Astros in 2016. Hernandez had just 100 at-bats with Houston before being traded to the Blue Jays before the 2017 deadline.
Plate discipline has never really been Hernandez’s strength, and that was especially true last season. His swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone was the worst of his career, at 35.2%. He posted a career-low 5.6% walk rate against a 31.1% strikeout rate. His 211 strikeouts and 35.8% blank swing percentage were the highest among eligible players.
When Hernandez makes contact he often does damage, as evidenced by his excellent 49.4% hard-hit rate and 13.8% hit rate. The 31-year-old really punished pitchers when they threw four-seam fastballs at him, posting a .302 average, .659 slugging percentage and an extremely high 72.4% hard-hit rate.
He is not an elite infielder, but Hernandez provides value in the outfield thanks to his strong arm in right field. His 12 assists last season ranked third among all outfielders, and his 22 assists over the last two seasons trailed only the Nationals’ Lane Thomas.
Hernandez’s most productive full season to date came in 2021, when he hit 32 home runs, drove in 116 runs and posted a .296/.346/.524 line with Toronto.
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