We’re in December now. The season ended a few months ago. I have yet to solve the riddle of Billy McKinney.
For some reason, the Dodgers loved him. They gave him every opportunity imaginable. But yet, the eye test didn’t agree with the front office’s love for him. Then again, with the Dodgers’ depth in 2021, you can make the case McKinney was their best option. Hell, he probably was.
Still, I just don’t get it.
McKinney was acquired from the New York Mets on July 21 in exchange for a minor-league prospect. A first round pick in 2013, the outfielder bounced around from organization to organization, unable to find a home throughout his career. LA picked him up, with the hopes that he could figure things out at the plate and provide much needed depth to a team desperate for it.
Throughout his career, McKinney was known for having a solid glove in the outfield. His defense wouldn’t be the problem. It was his hitting that has kept him in the minors and going from team to team. As I mentioned, the Dodgers gave him every opportunity to figure it out at the plate. He just couldn’t.
During the regular season, McKinney appeared in 37 games with LA. He had three extra base hits, while hitting .146 with an OPS of .507. If there are any positives to take away from those numbers, he posted a walk rate of 14.3 percent and struck out less than 25 percent of the time. Those are the only real positives.
He hit .091 over his final 24 games and .048 over his final 14 games.
McKinney played first base for the final two innings of the Wild Card game. He also played first base in the final three games of the NLDS for a total of seven innings. In his lone at bat, he struck out.
Unfortunately, he was left off the NLCS roster. He was replaced by Steven Souza Jr. Boy, that’s another name from this season I’d like to forget.
During the offseason, McKinney was designated for assignment by the Dodgers. He was traded along with Zach Reks to the Rangers for cash.
Stats: .146/.276/.232/.507, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 2B, 40 OPS+, .235 wOBA, 47 wRC+
Game of the year
I feel honored to say I was at McKinney’s best game as a member of the Dodgers. Against the Pirates on August 16, he hit his lone homer while with LA. He sure picked a hell of a time to do it, as his solo shot in the seventh tied the game at one.
He also had an incredible throw from right field earlier in the game to get the runner out at third. This is the game the Dodgers envisioned when they acquired him. Sadly, we saw it just once.
McKinney is currently a free agent.