Dodgers sign Scott Van Slyke & Chris Hatcher to 1-year deals, avoid arbitration

Outfielder/first baseman Scott Van Slyke and right-handed relief pitcher Chris Hatcher will be back with the Dodgers in 2017 following seasons that had them as potential non-tender candidates.

The money isn’t known yet (Update: SVS – $1.325 Million & Hatcher – $1.25 Million), but it’s significant enough just that they will even be back with the team in 2017 considering the potential roster crunch the Dodgers have. That’s not to say their returns are necessarily surprising, however.

Chris Hatcher will be entering his age-32 season, but he had a terrible 40.2 innings in 2016 after a promising finish to 2015 that featured him as a setup man for Kenley Jansen. Hope was high that Hatcher could continue that form, but he ended up with a 5.53 ERA and 5.21 FIP, with the worrying numbers being a significant drop in the strikeout rate (23.8% 2016/27.1% 2015/25.9 2014) and bump in walk rate (11.6% 2016/7.8% 2015/5.2% 2014) compared to his previous two seasons. As if that wasn’t bad enough, 18.2% of the fly balls he allowed went for homers. Almost mercifully, his season ended with an oblique strain in the middle of July.

Of course, the upside is still there. Hatcher was throwing as hard as ever (95.7 MPH), still had his three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, change), and he had a 3.51 ERA and 2.90 FIP in 2014 and 2015.

Most importantly, he did the Twitter own.

Worth it.

Scott Van Slyke is another player that was shockingly a non-tender candidate after his 2016. In 398 plate appearances in 2013 and 2014, SVS posted a .276/.369/.501/.871 line for a 145 OPS+ while playing above-average defense and looked like a player who deserved a shot at a full-time role. However, he will now enter his age-30 season next year coming off a 2016 marred by a back injury and a wrist injury that eventually needed surgery. In 366 plate appearances in 2015 and 2016, SVS had a .235/.310/.361/.671 line for an 86 OPS+. Not great.

Aside from the hope that a healthy SVS will be able to turn back the clock, he also has a career .845 OPS against lefties versus a .678 OPS against righties. That split maintained even with his struggles in 2016, as he put up a .739 OPS against LHP versus .529 against RHP. Given the Dodgers struggles against lefties last season, it’s not all that surprising that they would carry him as at least a platoon option for the outfield and first.

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The Dodgers have about 27 hours until Friday at 5 PM PST to decide on arbitration-eligible players Yasmani Grandal, Alex Wood, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan, Darin Ruf, Vidal Nuno, and Louis Coleman.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
I get paid millions by the Dodgers. MILLIONS!