James Outman & Bobby Miller rewarded, plus Dodgers sign a pair of former 1st rounders & a utility man

Well, despite the complaining on social media that Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto were holding up the hot stove, things have definitely reverted back to a cold stove since they signed. Thus, I guess this might be the last post of the year for Dodgers Digest.

Happy New Year!

Been a hell of an off-season so far.


James Outman and Bobby Miller will be rewarded for their 2023 campaigns out of the pre-arbitration bonus pool, with Outman scoring an extra $580,948 and Miller securing $406,035 for himself.

Those totals do not count against the CBT, but all teams pay $1.67 million into it by default every year and that does count against the CBT, so the Dodgers didn’t get their money’s worth last year by totaling $986,983 in bonuses.

Speaking of the CBT, the Dodgers are footing a $19.4 million bill for going over the competitive balance tax in 2023. They’ll obviously be paying more in 2024.


To clear room for the aforementioned Yamamoto after his signing, the Dodgers designated left-handed reliever Bryan Hudson.

Doubt the team wanted to do this, not only because he had promise, but also because they now have just Ryan Yarbrough, Caleb Ferguson, and Alex Vesia as lefties on the 40-man roster. They could’ve used the depth, if nothing else.


The Dodgers have signed Austin Beck to a minor-league contract. He’s a former first-round pick from back in 2017 (6th!), but has put up just a .252/.303/.384/.688 line with the Athletics as a pro. Beck has just 98 plate appearances above A+, will be 25 next year, and missed all of 2023 with an ACL tear.

The appeal? Well, the tools are loud, as this scouting report from after the 2017 season describes.

Beck is loaded with loud, promising tools. He generates well-above-average bat speed from the right side of the plate, albeit with a swing that currently has some holes and overall inconsistencies. That should improve as Beck gains pro experience, however, and it could make him an average hitter in time. Beck’s plus raw power likely will be his calling card and could translate to 25-plus-homer seasons during his prime.
Beyond his offensive tools, Beck also possesses the plus speed and athleticism needed to play center field, where he spent his entire pro debut, though some evaluators peg him as a future right fielder on account of his remaining physical projection and plus arm strength. It may take Beck some time to learn to harness his tools and refine his game, but the final product could be that of a run-producing, everyday outfielder who also adds value with his baserunning and defense.

Promisingly, even the last reports on him say he still has the tools, but basically just can’t put it together. Maybe the Dodgers can find something here, as extracting even quality depth would be a win.

Speaking of signing former first-round picks, the Dodgers also got the 2018 first-round selection by the Pirates in Travis Swaggerty on a minor-league deal. Heading into the 2019 season, he was rated as a Top 100 prospect, but since then he has struggled. In 2019 he put up a .728 OPS in high-A, then had just 48 plate appearances between 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and shoulder surgery, managed to bounce back a bit in 2022 to total a .747 OPS in AAA, and was again limited to struggling across three levels and 91 plate appearances last year due to vertigo and migraines. The 26-year-old Swaggerty made his MLB debut already back in 2022, getting one single in nine at-bats, but it’s been a rough road for him so far. Seems like another talented flyer for the Dodgers on a player that can cover center field, where they’re just hoping that he’s healthy and they can help him finally put something together.

Another notable minor-league signing is 25-year-old utility infielder Jonathan Arauz, previously of the Mets. He has a meager .184/.253/.308/.561 line across four big-league seasons and just 262 PA, but has played second, third, and short. He’s also coming off his best minor-league showing with a .755 OPS in AAA, for whatever that’s worth. Regardless, I’m guessing the main reason for this signing is Arauz can provide infield insurance for a team that could use the depth, especially if they trade away some of the major-league ready prospects at some point.


Anyway, hope you had a Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year as well.

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