On the eve of the 2021 season, the Dodgers made a minor signing to bolster their Triple-A depth.
Steven Souza Jr., 32 next month, is coming off a few injury-plagued seasons with the Diamondbacks and Cubs. He was signed by the Astros in February but was released. The Dodgers scooped him up on a low-risk, minor-league deal.
He’s been part of two massive 3-team deals in his career. The first in 2014 that involved Wil Myers, Joe Ross, Trea Turner and more, which saw him move from the Nationals to the Rays. The second one in 2018 was a little less significant in terms of name notoriety, but involved the likes of Anthony Banda, Brandon Drury, Nick Solak and more. Souza went from the Rays to the Diamondbacks.
He has a career .232/.322/.416 batting line with a 103 wRC+ in 1,840 plate appearances in the majors. That has come with a 31.5 K% against a 10.7 BB%, so he definitely has some room for improvement in that department. He appeared in 11 games for the Cubs last season in which he hit just .148/.258/.333 with a 61 wRC+. That came after missing the entire 2019 season with a gnarly knee injury. He tore his ACL, LCL and partially tore his MCL after stepping on home plate in a Spring Training game in 2019. He missed most of 2018 with various injuries as well. He’s probably a 45-50 defender in a corner with enough arm for right field.
Souza appears to be not just a reclamation project for the Dodgers (and we know they’re good at those), but also a bit of a security blanket for DJ Peters, because he’s the next man up when it comes to right-handed hitting outfielders. Having Souza could take some pressure off Peters and the Dodgers, should the need for a RHH outfielder arise. But, we’re a long way from that. Souza has to prove he’s relatively healthy and then the Dodgers’ player development system can try to work its magic.