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2023 Dodgers in review: Jake Marisnick

Los Angeles Dodgers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Outfielder Jake Marisnick played for three different teams in 2023, ending the year with the Dodgers. But if you blinked, you might have missed his tenure with the team.

The defense-first outfielder began the season on a minor league deal with the White Sox before getting called up in May. Chicago used him as a late-inning defensive replacement, as Marisnick only batted in one of his nine games there.

Marisnick was traded on May 30 to the Tigers, where he started in center field for a while. During the All-Star break, Detroit sent Marisnick outright to the minors, but he declined the assignment, instead becoming a free agent.

The Dodgers swooped in, signing Marisnick for a reserve role that was filled the previous month and a half by rookie Jonny DeLuca’s first major league stint. Marisnick joined the Dodgers on July 14 at the start of a nine-game road trip.

In a way, Marisnick signing with the Dodgers meant coming home, as he played his high school baseball at Riverside Poly, from where he was drafted by the Blue Jays back in 2009.

Except his time with the Dodgers, at least on the active roster, was so short that all four of his games came on the same road trip. He did not play at Dodger Stadium.

Any awkwardness that might have come with Marisnick’s association to the sign-stealing Astros in 2017 was dampened by his relatively minor role — he was injured and did not play during that year’s World Series — and that he had existing relationships with a few Dodgers who vouched for him.

Austin Barnes played with Marisnick in high school, and Chris Taylor played in a travel ball tournament with Marisnick around that time.

“I know [Marisnick] a little bit. I’ve been on vacation with him, ironically enough,” Clayton Kershaw told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register in July. “For some reason, I don’t get as mad at him because he wasn’t in the lineup – selfishly, I guess. He didn’t really affect me. At least it’s not one of the other guys, I guess.”

Jake Marisnick — not one of the other guys — played in four of the five games for which he was active, all in reserve. He was hit by a pitch in his first game in New York against the Mets, and singled in a pair of games against the Orioles in Baltimore.

That last single came on July 18, when in the third inning the right-handed Marisnick pinch-hit for the left-handed Jason Heyward, who hit a three-run home run earlier in the game, because Baltimore brought in a left-handed pitcher.

This was the at-bat that served as the catalyst for a story you likely heard from Joe Davis on a Dodgers broadcast in the second half of the season. Dave Roberts went to Heyward, who was heavily platooned this season, to explain why he was making the move so early. But the veteran Heyward, who impressed in just about every facet during his first season in Los Angeles, told Roberts something to the effect of, “You don’t have to explain to me. Whatever you decide, I’m all in.”

As for Marisnick, he singled and played the bottom of the third in center field. But while stretching in between innings he felt something pop in his left hamstring, and was removed from the game.

The next day, DeLuca was back as Marisnick landed on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, and remained there for the rest of the season. Marisnick was transferred to the 60-day injured list on August 15.

Marisnick played eight games on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City during the final two weeks of the regular season, though he did not play in any of OKC’s three postseason games. The Dodgers didn’t have room for Marisnick on their major league roster, and had no real incentive to make the corresponding roster move necessary to activate him.

2023 particulars

Age: 32

Stats: 4 games, 2 for 5, HBP, caught stealing

Salary: unknown

Game of the year

On July 17 against the Orioles, Marisnick pinch-hit for David Peralta in the eighth inning, and singled against left-hander Nick Vespi. He was caught trying to steal second base on the next pitch.

Both of Marisnick’s hits with the Dodgers came against left-handed pitchers, in three at-bats.

Roster status

Marisnick became a free agent the day after the World Series ended.