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Dodgers decline 2023 options for Hanser Alberto and Jimmy Nelson

Both are now free agents

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Tuesday declined their club option for 2023 on utility man Hanser Alberto, who is now a free agent.

Alberto will receive a $250,000 buyout in lieu of what would have been a $2-million salary for 2023, part of the one-year contract signed in March that paid the infielder $1.6 million in 2022.

Playing all over the infield was the charge in Los Angeles for Alberto, who started 21 games at second base, 13 games at third base, and twice at shortstop. He even played 10 innings at first base, though all three of his games there were in reserve, and started another game in right field.

Expectations weren’t high for Alberto on offense, but he managed to slide under them with the bat, hitting .244/.258/.365 in 73 games and 159 plate appearances with a 73 wRC+, his worst in four seasons. Alberto in his career is an above-average hitter against left-handers, hitting .323/.341/.449 with a 109 wRC+. But in 2022, he hit just .279/.286/.394 with a 90 wRC+ against righties.

Those weren’t the only duties for Alberto, who was also the undisputed leader of vibes in the Dodgers clubhouse. But he also pitched in 10 games, all in blowouts, but perhaps more amazingly, eight of his 10 games on the mound closed out Dodgers wins. Alberto had a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings in his 10 games on the mound, with three walks and one strikeout.

“It’s been amazing what he has done for our ball club, on the field, in the clubhouse,” manager Dave Roberts said in October, after Alberto was left off the Dodgers National League Division Series roster. Perhaps that was a harbinger of things to come.

Nelson signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers in March for the major league minimum salary of $700,000 while he rehabbing. The right-hander, who will turn 34 next season, had a $1.1-million option for 2023, with no buyout.

Nelson missed all of the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair in his right elbow from August 2021. He last pitched in a major league game on July 30, 2021.

When on the mound, Nelson was arguably the Dodgers’ best relief pitcher in 2021, with a 1.86 ERA and 1.89 FIP in 28 games, with 44 strikeouts (a team-leading 37.9-percent K rate) and 13 walks in 29 innings. But being health enough to pitch has been a problem for Nelson, who has pitched a total of just 51 innings over the last five seasons.

During that time, Nelson has had surgeries that have kept him out of full seasons on his shoulder (2018), back (2020), and elbow (2022), and has also been sidelined on the injured list with forearm inflammation and a lumbar strain.

With this move, the Dodgers have 35 players on the 40-man roster. The Dodgers also have club options on Justin Turner and Danny Duffy, which will be decided by Thursday.