One of the biggest priorities for the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason was improving their depth on the bench and throughout the organization, which led to signing the likes of Hanser Alberto, Eddy Alvarez, Jason Martin, Jake Lamb and Tony Wolters, among others.
The majority of the aforementioned players were added on Minor League contracts, but Alberto signed a one-year deal that includes a $2 million team option for the 2023 season, and $250,000 buyout. Alberto’s arrival led to Matt Beaty getting designated for assignment and ultimately traded to the San Diego Padres.
Although Alberto’s initial impact with the Dodgers on the field was minimal — it was later revealed he was dealing with left knee trouble — his joyful presence in the clubhouse was a big benefit.
During a recent episode of the “Holding Kourt Podcast,” Justin Turner credited Alberto for his exuberance and impact it has on the team:
“Obviously I love all our guys and everyone is great, but his guy just brings a little bit different edge to the table, and he’s probably one of the least talked about guys that we got this year. Hanser Alberto. High energy, funny, always in a great mood. He reminds me a little bit of Juan Uribe. Like personality, everything, how he goes about it, he reminds me of Juan Uribe. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun playing on the same team this year. Keep an eye out for Alberto. I think he’s a sleeper and man, what a spark plug. What a personality. He’s very vocal in the dugout, very positive and constantly rooting for everyone. He’s been an absolute gem of a human.”
Alberto is batting .246/.252/.373 with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs and 14 RBI over 55 games. When not playing, he can regularly be seen dancing by himself or with teammates to celebrate highlights.
Alberto’s gesture after an Edwin Ríos home run in April went viral, and was replicated by Dodgers broadcasters Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, who referred to the hand motion as grinding pepper.
Then in May, Alberto was seen giving Mookie Betts a shaka sign — or “hang loose” hand motion. That quickly became a regular Dodgers celebration.
“Switch it up,” Alberto explained of his hand motion. “In 2020 in Winter Ball, we were winning the final three games to one, and we lost it. They came from behind, won all three games in a row.
“So then last year, I went to the team and said, ‘Every time we get a hit, (does hand motion), we switch it up.’ “So I brought it here, and now everybody does switch it up.”
Dave Roberts fond of Hanser Alberto
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also has spoken highly of Alberto since the team signed him to a one-year contract. “He’s fantastic,” Roberts said earlier this year.
“He is a huge addition to this ballclub. His energy, his baseball acumen, his positivity and willingness to be ready when called upon and he’s a heck of a ballplayer. He’s been very additive.”
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