2012 Dodgers exit interviews: The outfield

Rob Carr

The final look back at the 2012 Dodgers focuses on the outfield.

Our final look back at the 2012 Dodgers looks at the outfield, which was decimated by the best player on the team missing a third of the season. Dodgers' outfielders hit .265/.331/.412, 11th in the National League with a 97 OPS+ and tied for 10th with 52 home runs.

Here is a look back at the nine players who were primarily outfielders for the Dodgers in 2012.

Andre Ethier

What went right: Ethier hit 36 doubles, joining Jackie Robinson as the only Dodgers to hit 30 or more doubles in six seasons, and Ethier is the only one to do so in six straight years. He posted a 123 OPS+, his fifth straight season with an OPS+ of 120 or higher.

What went wrong: Ethier continued to struggle against left-handed pitchers, hitting .222/.276/.350, his fourth straight sub-.300 on-base percentage against southpaws and his fifth straight sub-.700 OPS against lefties. He went 30 games and 129 plate appearances without a home run, from July 15 to Aug. 16, part of a span that saw Ethier his two home runs in 65 games.

2013 status: Ethier will make $13.5 million in the first season of a five-year, $85 million contract extension signed in May.

Matt Kemp

What went right: Kemp was the best player in baseball in April, as he hit .417/.490/.893 with a franchise record 12 home runs in 23 games, with 24 runs scored and 25 runs batted in. Kemp also shook off several injuries in a five-game hot streak in the final week of the season, hitting .550 (11-for-20) four home runs and three doubles.

What went wrong: Injuries derailed a potential MVP campaign. Kemp had two left hamstring strains in May that caused him to miss 51 games before the All-Star break. Then he ran into the center field wall in Colorado on Aug. 28 and suffered a right knee contusion and a labrum tear in his left shoulder that required surgery after the season. Kemp played through the pain but hit .214/.267/.420 after running into the wall, including his hot streak.

2013 status: Kemp will make $22 million in the second season of his eight-year contract, which includes a $20 million salary and $2 million deferred from 2012. After surgery, Kemp will not be able to swing until January, and while the Dodgers say he should be ready for opening day that might be optimistic.

Shane Victorino

What went right: Victorino had a nine-game hitting streak from Aug. 6-15, and hit .375/.432/.550 during that span. Victorino provided a defensive upgrade over Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu in left field. He stole 15 bases in 17 attempts in his 53 games as a Dodger. Victorino was able to keep the same nickname many Dodgers fans had for him when he was with the Phillies.

What went wrong: He did not provide the spark at the top of the lineup, hitting just .245 with a .316 on-base percentage.

2013 status: Victorino is a free agent.

Elian Herrera

What went right: Herrera was a great story, Luis Cruz before Luis Cruz. The 27-year old career minor leaguer made his major league debut and hit .305/.407/.390 in his first 31 games. Herrera had game-winning hits in back-to-back games against the Phillies in Philadelphia on June 4-5. He provided great versatility, starting games at third base, second base, left field, center field, and right field, and also played two games at shortstop. Herrera had a pinch-hit, walk-off single to beat the Giants on Oct. 1, that kept the Dodgers alive for one more day. He played 207⅓ innings in the outfield and 200 innings in the infield, which for our classification purposes puts Herrera in the outfield.

What went wrong: After his hot start, Herrera hit .183/.247/.256 with 23 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances, including a 9-for-64 (.141) stretch that got him optioned to Triple A at the All-Star break.

2013 status: Herrera has 89 days of service time and two options remaining.

Bobby Abreu

What went right: The 38-year old wasn't quite done, as he gave the Dodgers a .361 on-base percentage in 92 games after getting released by the Angels in April. Abreu hit .326/.444/.461 in his first 33 games as a Dodger. After accepting a minor league assignment in August, Abreu returned in September and was exclusively a pinch-hitter, hitting .188/.381/.375 in 22 games.

What went wrong: Abreu followed that hot start up with a 16-for-90 (.178/.267/.222) slump and was designated for assignment on July 31 to make room on the 40-man roster for Victorino.

2013 status: Abreu is a free agent.

Scott Van Slyke

What went right: He hit a pinch-hit, three-run home run to beat the Cardinals on May 20, his first major league home run.

What went wrong: In two stints with the Dodgers, Van Slyke hit .167/.196/.315 (9-for-54) and was not recalled from Triple A Albuquerque when rosters expanded.

2013 status: Van Slyke has 41 days of service time, and two options remaining.

Alex Castellanos

What went right: He tripled, singled, and drove in two runs in his second major league game, on June 1 against the Rockies. Castellanos hit his first major league home run on Oct. 3 against the Giants, in his final game of the season.

What went wrong: Castellanos hit just .174/.200/.391 (4-for-23) in his limited time with the Dodgers.

2013 status: Castellanos has 39 days of service time, and two options remaining.

Tony Gwynn Jr.

What went right: He hit .298 with a .347 on-base percentage in his first 41 games of the season.

What went wrong: Gwynn was exposed a bit while playing nearly every day in place of Kemp in center field in May and June, and hit .194/.236/.242 in 62 games after his hot start. Gwynn was designated for assignment on Aug. 6 after his role as a defensive replacement all but disappeared with the Victorino trade.

2013 status: Gwynn is under contract for $1.15 million next year, but it is not guaranteed. He is still not on the 40-man roster.

Jerry Sands

What went right: Sands was red hot with Triple A Albuquerque, hitting .426 (40-for-94) with 12 home runs in a 23-game stretch from July 20 to Aug. 15, including a double header with 10 runs batted in and two grand slams in one game on July 29.

What went wrong: Sands came to spring training with a new swing, and played his way out of a likely spot on the opening day roster. He hit .174/.208/.261 (4-for-23) in his brief stints with the Dodgers.

2013 status: Sands went to the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal as a player to be named later, officially joining Boston on Oct. 4.

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