The Dodgers stayed true to their recent modus operandi of augmenting roster depth with a veteran addition. This time it’s outfielder David Peralta, who agreed to a one-year contract per multiple reports.
Free-agent outfielder David Peralta in agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers, pending physical, according to sources familiar with the deal.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 10, 2023
Outfielder David Peralta and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in agreement on a one-year, $6.5 million contract, pending physical, sources tell ESPN. Incentives can take the deal to $8 million. Peralta, 35, joins Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor and others likely to get left-field ABs.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 10, 2023
The contract has not yet been officially announced by the Dodgers, who have a full 40-man roster and would need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Peralta. But given that players begin reporting to spring training next week and the Dodgers have pitchers Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen, and J.P. Feyereisen all recovering from surgery, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Peralta’s deal takes a few days to be finalized, once one of those three pitchers could be placed on the 60-day injured list.
Dodgers fans should be quite familiar with Peralta, who played nine seasons with the Diamondbacks before getting dealt at the 2022 trade deadline to the Rays. He hit .251/.316/.415 with 30 doubles, 12 home runs, and a 104 wRC+ last season.
The left-handed Peralta hit .267/.329/.449 with a 116 wRC+ against right-handers last season, and just .154/.247/.215 (10 for 65) with a 38 wRC+ against southpaws. Forty-three of his 45 extra-base hits last year were against right-handed pitching. Peralta has exaggerated career splits as well, with a 121 wRC+ versus righties and a 76 wRC+ against left-handers.
Think of Peralta as a faster Joc Pederson with less power but better defense.
The most likely spot on the Dodgers for Peralta is the better half of a platoon in left field, where he’s made all of his outfield starts over the last four seasons. Peralta won a Gold Glove at the position in 2019, and last year rated above average at the position by Outs Above Average (+5) and Total Zone Rating (+1), but was considered below average by Defensive Runs Saved (-5).
Peralta, 35, makes the outfield a little more crowded, with a competition remaining in centerfield between Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, and James Outman. If the Dodgers wanted to, they could run a platoon or at least a timeshare in both left and center, with a right-handed batter and left-handed batter at each position, whether Outman or non-roster invitees Jason Heyward or Bradley Zimmer make the team.
The Dodgers lack of experienced depth among position players on the 40-man roster was obvious since December, and in the last month they’ve added a pair of veterans — Miguel Rojas in the infield (plus the occasional Miguel Vargas coaching) and now Peralta in the outfield.
Peralta was listed on Venezuela’s roster for the World Baseball Classic, which would give the Dodgers potentially nine players on the 40-man roster taking part in the tournament, depending on the availability of Rojas as he recovers from a second hand surgery.