Looking at who could fill the Dodgers’ right-handed hitting outfield need

Tommy Pham (Via)

This has been quite the offseason for the Dodgers thus far. They landed the biggest and best free agent in Shohei Ohtani, the best free-agent starting pitcher in Yoshinobu Yamamoto and an ace-level talent in Tyler Glasnow. For most, that’d be a wrap. But for Andrew Friedman and Co., there’s still a little more work to be done.

They need to figure out what to do with Michael Busch. They also could look to add one more bullpen arm and — the point of this post — a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Yes, they acquired Manuel Margot in the Glasnow trade, but he doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as the right-handed portion of an outfield platoon, even if he might be OK outside of Tropicana Field. Plus, he’s the primary backup in center field and right field, so the Dodgers might need another body anyway.


Before we get to some of the external options, let’s take a look at who the Dodgers have in-house to play left field, after Margot.

Chris Taylor

Taylor is the most obvious choice. Left field is probably his best position, defensively, but part of his value comes from being versatile defensively and finds the sweet spot of the bat at the dish. With the infield pretty much set, Taylor could see most of his time in the outfield in 2024. However, he’d be the first man up if Mookie Betts and/or Max Muncy miss any time during the season (Miguel Rojas has dibs at shortstop should Gavin Lux miss time).

Miguel Vargas

Vargas struggled after a decent start last season. he spent most of the second half of the season with Oklahoma City. I’m not sure if playing the third baseman at second base had anything to do with his struggles, but he struggled nonetheless. There is talk of trying to utilize him in left field as the right-handed portion of a platoon. It seems plausible if for no other reason than he needs a chance to play (a la Busch) because he has nothing left to do/learn in Triple-A (except maybe how to play the outfield). If the Dodgers don’t acquire anyone, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Vargas get a shot as the primary left fielder against left-handed pitching (with Margot and Taylor deployed elsewhere).

Andy Pages

Surprise! Pages was on the fast track to the majors before a shoulder injury/surgery cost him most of his 2023 season. Still, he posted a .925 OPS with Double-A Tulsa in 33 games and showed why he was a Top 100 prospect. If he can come back and still have the pop (and physique) he had before he got hurt, an external addition may not be necessary.


Speaking of, let’s look at some the external options.

Teoscar Hernandez

Hernandez, 31, has been the free agent outfielder who has been most linked to the Dodgers. After a couple strong seasons in 2021-22 with the Blue Jays, Toronto traded him to the Mariners for a pair of pitchers. It’s not difficult to see why the Dodgers would be interested in the bat. Hernandez has been in the red in terms of almost every Statcast statistic the Dodgers prioritize — average exit velocity, HardHit%, wxOBA, xBA, xSLG and so on. Those numbers fell off a bit in 2023, but he was still in the 81st percentile in EV (91.3 MPH) and 90th in HardHit% (49.4). Defensively — despite not being the rangiest of outfielders — he has a strong arm that helps make up for other deficiencies. He’s looking for a multi-year deal in the $20 million/year range, so it’d be surprising if the Dodgers met (or came close to) that number. He’d also be more of a starter than a platoon player, so I’m not sure the fit is there.

Robbie Grossman

Grossman, 34, is a free agent coming off World Series title with the Rangers. The overall numbers aren’t overly impressive — .238/.340/.394, 102 wRC+ — but he does a lot of his damage against left-handed pitching. Since 2020, he has the 21st-best OPS (.876) against southpaws (minimum 100 plate appearances). He isn’t much with the glove, but Dave Roberts could stick him in left field without much issue. With the Dodgers being left-handed heavy, a right-handed (in this case, a switch-hitter) bat like Grossman’s could make some sense.

Enrique Hernandez

Kiké isn’t exactly an external option, but let’s just go with it. We all know who and what he is as a player and clubhouse presence. If the Dodgers want the really familiar and easy route, they’d just go with him and call it a day. The fact that he hasn’t been mentioned much in Dodger rumors makes me believe they want more of an upgrade to fill this spot. There could still be room for him on the squad, but other moves would have to happen first.

Tommy Pham

Pham, 36 in March, is another outfielder the Dodgers have contemplated in the past and this offseason. He has been a bit of an enigmatic player since his breakout in 2017. He’s never been able to repeat that production (.306/.411/.520, 149 wRC+, 6.3 fWAR), but he’s been a solid contributor for the Rays, Padres, Mets, Red Sox, Reds and Diamondbacks in that time. His .787 OPS and 116 wRC+ against lefties since 2020 is going to be bested by some others on this list, but his 2023 Statcast profile won’t be: 93rd percentile EV, 89th percentile HardHit%, 85th xwOBA, 90th xBA and 79th xSLG. He could play either corner and even handle center field in a pinch.

AJ Pollock

Pollock hasn’t enjoyed much success since the Dodgers traded him to the White Sox for Craig Kimbrel after the 2021 season. He has hit just .228/.276/.371 with an 82 wRC+ in a single-season’s worth of plate appearances (671). This would be more of a familiarity signing, as the Dodgers know what Pollock is (if he isn’t cooked). He’s a left field-only guy, but he does hit lefties well (.892 OPS since ’20).

Michael A. Taylor

Taylor, 33 in March, has also been linked to the Dodgers this offseason. He has just one season in his career with a wRC+ better than 100 (104 in 2017), but he’s best-known for his glove. He’s still an above-average fielder out there and is one season removed from being elite. He could be insurance for a James Outman regression, but Margot also seems to fit that description. He gets his barrel on the ball (89th percentile), but he hits in on the ground a fair amount (42.2%). As a platoon guy, he’d probably be OK, but he seems a bit redundant with Margot in house.

Lane Thomas

This one is courtesy of a towel in the Dodgers Digest Discord server. Thomas, 28, is coming off his best season as a pro (.268/.315/.468, 109 wRC+) with the Nationals. That was thanks, in part, to him destroying left-handers to the tune of .331/.375/.573 with a 153 wRC+ (25th-best in MLB, minimum 100 PA). He isn’t a free agent for two more seasons and Washington would probably want a decent return for him, but he’d be nothing if not an interesting get for LA.

Randy Arozarena

I put Arozarena in here, and at the bottom, for due diligence and for the fact that it’s highly unlikely to happen. He’s one of the most dynamic players in the game and isn’t a free agent until after the 2026 season. If the Dodgers were going to acquire him, it probably would have been in conjunction with Glasnow. It isn’t often the same two teams make big trades with each other multiple times in one offseason. Having said all that, he’d be the absolute perfect addition. Since 2020, he has the 6th-best OPS (.952) against lefties in MLB, 5th-best wRC+ (164) and is a noted postseason performer. He also has 86th- and 85th-percentile, respectively, in EV and HardHit%. This ship has probably sailed (if it was even in the dock to begin with), but it’s fun to dream sometimes.


Here’s how I’d rank them in terms of likeliness (minus the in-house guys and Arozarena):

  1. Pham
  2. Hernandez
  3. Kiké
  4. Taylor
  5. Grossman
  6. Pollock
  7. Thomas

It’s lining up pretty well for Pham, and while I’m sure the Dodgers would love to get Hernandez, it’d have to be at their price. Kiké and Taylor seem a bit redundant (CT3 and Margot), while Grossman is a bit uninspiring. Pollock may or may not be a shell of his former self, and Thomas is a solid fit who probably won’t get moved.

Honestly, it isn’t like the Dodgers have to fill this hole now. They could wait until the July 30 trade deadline to do so. It’d also give them an extended look at who they have in-house and if they even need to make such a move. But if they feel like an addition would strengthen the team that much more, then they’re going to find a way to get it done.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. 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.