As the Los Angeles Dodgers continue their offseason, the focus lies on Shohei Ohtani and upgrading their starting rotation, but they still have a few other areas to address as well.
Adding to the outfield was among the priorities for the Dodgers this offseason, according to general manager Brandon Gomes, and they already made an addition there by reportedly re-signing Jason Heyward to a one-year contract.
Even following the signing of Heyward, the Dodgers still expressed interest in adding another left-handed outfielder, with Joc Pederson and Max Kepler being among the considered targets. It also was reported that Teoscar Hernández is a target for the club, although he hits right-handed.
Meanwhile, Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch are considered options in the outfield as well.
Amid a possible surplus of outfielders, manager Dave Roberts told Alanna Rizzo on MLB Network’s “High Heat” that the Dodgers plan to make Mookie Betts their starting second baseman:
“I think it’s pretty safe to say No. 50, Mookie Betts, is going to be our everyday second baseman. It’s one of those things where he’s a Gold Glover in right field, but I think when you’re talking about putting together a roster and someone who can be so offensive at second base, you can get more games out of him if he is playing second base. And obviously with the signing of Jason Heyward, to put him out there in right field to go out there and play versus right-handed pitching and play Gold Glove right field, it just makes our club better. Now we get a happy Mookie Betts, a guy that can post and play 160 games, it makes the Dodgers much better. It’s pretty much a no-brainer.”
Playing Betts in the infield helped keep him focused and healthy, Roberts said last season, with the move to the infield almost acting as a day off for the superstar. The permanent move to the infield makes sense from a team building perspective as well with quality outfielder more abundantly available.
Betts ended up playing in 70 games at second base for the Dodgers in 2023, and another 16 games at shortstop, along with 107 games in right field. That made him a finalist for the utility Gold Glove Award, but he lost out to the San Diego Padres Ha-Seong Kim.
During this past season, most of Betts opportunities in the infield came against right-handed pitching and he platooned in the outfield with Heyward. Now, the Dodgers will need to find a new platoon partner with Heyward, along with either an everyday option for left field or another pair to platoon there.
Chris Taylor and Jonny DeLuca are both potential options to work in as the right-handed hitters of a platoon, and Miguel Rojas may see time out there as well. Rojas was expected to see time in left field last season before the injury to Gavin Lux made him the starting shortstop.
As of right now, it seems likely the Dodgers would go with Taylor and Heyward platooning in right field, while Vargas and Busch handle left field.
However, there’s still a lot of time left in the offseason for the Dodgers to add to their outfield, so their current group is unlikely to be their Opening Day group.
Randy Arozarena could replace Mookie Betts
The Tampa Bay Rays are open to potentially trading Randy Arozarena and have already discussed him with the Seattle Mariners, so he could be an option for the Dodgers as well if they are looking to solidify their outfield with some star talent.
Arozarena is under team control via arbitration through the 2026 season. MLB Trade Rumors projected Arozarena to receive a $9 million salary in 2024. He would then be in line for raises in each of the two seasons that followed.
Although the Rays are a small-market team that has often operated with finances in mind, Arozarena’s projected salaries are not astronomical figures and thus a trade is not considered absolutely necessary.
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