Looking at some under-the-radar free agent hitters who could interest LA

Jason Castro. (via)

The Dodgers, admittedly, don’t have a ton of openings for position players who aren’t named Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or Anthony Rendon.

They have one of the deepest teams in the league, but Andrew Friedman is always looking to upgrade. So, here are a few under-the-radar position players the Dodgers could target in free agency. A guy like DJ LeMahieu last year — someone I wanted the Dodgers to get — would fall into this category.

Like yesterday’s post, this is the second in a series of four that looks at potential lower-level offseason targets for LA.

CF Shogo Akiyama

I’m going to admit: I don’t know a ton about Akiyama. The 31-year-old is going to be posted after spending nine seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball. In that time, he hit .301/.376/.454. In the last three seasons, he has found a little more power than he had shown earlier in his career, hitting 25, 24 and 20 dongs from 2017-19. His biggest draw, though, is the fact that he’s a legitimate center fielder. Daniel is pretty high on him, so that’s good enough for me. He, obviously, wouldn’t start, but he could be a nice bench piece. The biggest issue with him and his fit with the Dodgers is the fact that he hits left handed, and we know the Dodgers have a ton of left-handed hitters on the roster already.

C Jason Castro

A catcher? Let’s get wild. Castro, 32, is coming off only the second 100-plus wRC+ season of his career (129 in 2013). That’s good. He draws walks (12.0 BB%). That’s also good. And he has a strong history of pitch framing. There are some negatives for him at the plate — his career 27.9 K% isn’t great — but as a backup catcher, the Dodgers could do worse. The left-handed hitter is virtually unplayable against left-handed pitching, which is fine because Will Smith should get the lion’s share of the playing time. But the only reason I’m mentioning Castro is because of Austin Barnes‘ struggles the last two seasons (.204/.311/.316, 73 wRC+). He’s only projected to make $1.3 million in arbitration, so LA probably won’t mess with bringing in Castro, but if they wanted to improve the backup catcher position for a season before Keibert Ruiz is truly ready, they could do much worse than Castro.

UTIL Brock Holt

We all know Friedman loves versatile players, and Holt is one of the most versatile in the game. The 31-year-old has experience at every non-catcher position in his career and he’s just one of “those” pesky kinds of players. He doesn’t hit for power, but Holt’s .340 career OBP and 93 wRC+ are plenty good enough for a quality bench player. My guess is a guy like Holt would only interest the Dodgers if they looked into dealing Enirque Hernandez or Chris Taylor.

3B/2B Mike Moustakas

Moustakas, 31, is coming off one of the most powerful seasons of his MLB career. He hit 35 home runs and posted a career-best .262 ISO. He wasn’t all about the dongs, though, as he had a solid (because of the power) .329 OBP and played a very average third base. He also logged more than 350 at second base for the Brewers, so he’s the lightest version of Max Muncy. There’s talk of the Dodgers wanting to move Justin Turner across the diamond in the final year of his contract, and doing so for Moustakas could make sense — if the Dodgers strike out on Rendon. The So Cal native has long rumored wanted to come home, but the team an hour down the 5 probably makes more sense.

IF Eric Sogard

Sogard is coming off a career-year with the Blue Jays and Rays that saw him hit .290/.353/.457 with a 115 wRC+. The 33-year-old utility player has never really been an offensive threat in his career and hasn’t been overly impressive on defense, but he can play all around the field much like Holt, so if the Dodgers are looking for a Holt-like player, Sogard could be it.

——

Honestly, I don’t see the Dodgers bringing any of these guys in, but if they need to fill roster spots (maybe because of offseason deals), perhaps one or some of these guys could be the answer. 

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.