The Dodgers are entering the winter meetings with the hopes of upgrading a lackluster rotation, however, they can certainly peek into the corner outfield market as well.
If there is one hole within the Dodgers’ roster, it is the left field position, as the projected starting left fielder for the 2024 season, according to FanGraphs.com, is Chris Taylor. If the Dodgers are looking to add a full-time outfielder that has All-Star caliber talent, then they can look at adding the 2021 AL Rookie of the Year and 2023 All Star Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays are notorious for keeping their payroll on the lower end of baseball, and with players such as Tyler Glasnow entering free agency next offseason, the Rays could be tempted to deal away their most valuable players on their roster.
Can confirm what Jack is reporting here. That’s been the buzz this week. If traded, Randy is a huge get for whoever lands him. https://t.co/zMhctnRVcZ— Michael Marino (@MarinoMLB) November 29, 2023
Here are a two main reasons for why the Dodgers should look to acquire Arozarena this offseason.
Before the start of the 2020 postseason, Arozarena was not well known in the baseball world, only totaling 99 at bats in 42 games in parts of two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay. What Arozarena did in the 2020 postseason alone solidified himself as one of the most clutch hitters in October.
It started with the AL Wild Card series against the Toronto Blue Jays, where he went five for nine with two doubles in a two game sweep. The next opponent was the New York Yankees, who were coming off an ALCS appearance the year prior. This was when the legend of Randy Arozarena was born.
The Rays would go on to win the ALDS three games to two, with Arozarena crushing three home runs in three consecutive games, slashing an absurd .421/.476/.895 in the five game series. Their next opponent would be the Houston Astros, who were coming off their second World Series appearance since the 2017 season.
The series looked to be an easy sweep for Tampa Bay, that is until the Astros stormed back to tie the series at three games apiece. In Game 7 of the series, Arozarena crushed a huge two-run home runs which helped propel the Rays to win the series and advance to their first World Series since the 2008 season. In the ALCS, Arozarena continued to crush, slashing .321/.367/.786 with four home runs and six RBI, being named as the 2020 ALCS MVP.
The Rays would go on to lose in six games to the Dodgers, but Arozarena continued to shine when the lights were at their brightest, as he slashed .364/.462/.773 with an additional three home runs and four RBI.
Arozarena entered the 2020 postseason with eight home runs in 42 games at the big league level; he hit 10 alone in a span of just 18 games in the postseason, setting a major league record for the most home runs ever hit by one player in a single postseason. Keep in mind, he did all of this before playing in his first full season, where he was awarded with the AL Rookie of the Year.
The Dodgers’ bats floundered in the postseason in back-to-back seasons, and adding a bat like Arozarena would help provide a spark plug to the top third of the lineup.
Power and speed threat
Arozarena has never led baseball in home runs and he has never led baseball in stolen bases, but that shouldn’t take away from what he has been able to do on the field over the past three seasons.
Since the 2021 season, Arozarena has managed to hit at least 20 or more home runs and steal at least 20 or more stolen bases, topping out at 32 in the 2022 season. Arozarena became the first player in professional baseball history to record three consecutive 20/20 seasons.
As far as analytics are concerned, Arozarena ranks within the 86th percentile in average exit velocity, 85th percentile in hard hit rate, and 82nd percentile in barrel rate. Arozarena averaged an exit velocity of 91.7 mph, ranking 36th among all qualified hitters this season, and had a maximum exit velocity of 114.3 mph (a career best), ranking 37th among all qualified hitters this season.
When looking at his speed, Arozarena ranked within the 78th percentile in sprint speed, averaging 28.4 ft/second.
The stolen base leader for the Dodgers in the 2023 season was their first baseman, Freddie Freeman, who ranks within just the 34th percentile in sprint speed. Adding Arozarena would not only provide the Dodgers with another consistent 20 home run hitter, but also an aggressive runner on the base paths that has 30 stolen base potential.
If there is one knock to Arozarena’s game, it is his defensive abilities. Arozarena registered just -6 outs above average in 2023 along with posting a -1.6 UZR. His range in the outfield is among the worst in baseball, as he ranked within just the 10th percentile in both range and arm value. On the flip side, when looking at regular counting numbers, Arozarena had a clean glove in 2023, not committing a single error while manning both left and right field.
Despite the his underwhelming defense, Arozarena is still one of the most electric players in baseball with his ability to hit for power and steal at least 20 bases. Not to mention, he has cut down on his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate since the 2020 season, netting him a very commendable .364 OBP in 2023.
Adding a player like Randy Arozarena would help the Dodgers solidify their left field depth chart, while also giving the team another 20/20 caliber player alongside Freddie Freeman. His postseason success would be a huge benefactor for the Dodgers, and would give the team a needed spark plug not seen since Corey Seager’s electric postseason run in 2020.