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Dodgers sign outfielder Jake Marisnick to major league deal

MLB: JUN 04 Tigers at White Sox Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Dodgers signed veteran outfielder Jake Marisnick to a major league deal before their weekend series against the Mets in New York, adding a defense-first right-handed batter who can play all three outfield positions.

Outfielder Jonny DeLuca was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and pitcher Shelby Miller was moved to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Marisnick began the season on a minor league deal with the White Sox and reached the majors in May, but batted in only one of his nine games, serving almost exclusively as a ninth-inning defensive replacement in right field. Chicago traded Marisnick to the Tigers on May 30, and he started 24 of 35 games in center field for Detroit before getting sent outright to Triple-A on Thursday and declining the minor league assignment.

Marisnick hit .225/.263/.408 with an 82 wRC+ in his 77 major league plate appearances this season, which is right in line with his .228/.281/.385, 81-wRC+ career marks. He had four of his seven extra-base hits this season in the last week and a half.

In his career, Marisnick is a better hitter against left-handed pitchers (91 wRC+) than right-handers (74 wRC+).

But his calling card is his defense. Even in limited time in center field this season, just 24 starts and 205 innings, Marisnick rates at four Outs Above Average and five Defensive Runs Saved. For comparison, James Outman this season has three Outs Above Average and minus-five Defensive Runs Saved in 71 starts and 647 innings across all three outfield positions.

The Dodgers are Marisnick’s ninth organization in the last four seasons, playing in the majors for the Mets, Cubs, Padres, Pirates, White Sox, and Tigers, plus minor league deals with the Rangers and Braves since the start of 2019.

Before that, Marisnick played for the Astros for six seasons, including 66 starts for the 2017 team that was found to have electronically stolen signs during the season and postseason, including in that year’s World Series against the Dodgers. Marisnick fractured his right thumb that September and did not play during the postseason.

Marisnick hit .243/.319/.496 in 2017 with a 117 wRC+. In his career his only other year with a wRC+ above 85 was in the pandemic shortened 2020 with the Mets, when he hit .333/.353/.606 with a 159 wRC+ but only in 34 plate appearances.

Marisnick is the second player from the 2017 Astros to later join the Dodgers major league roster. First baseman Tyler White was a midseason acquisition by Los Angeles in 2019, though that was before news of the enormity of the sign-stealing story broke. The Dodgers also signed pitcher Ken Giles to a minor league contract this June. So far, the 32-year-old reliever has pitched two scoreless innings in the Arizona Complex League.

With the Dodgers, Marisnick will wear number 12.

DeLuca played sparingly during his nearly six weeks on the active roster. He batted just 36 times in the Dodgers’ 30 games, exacerbated somewhat by the team only facing seven left-handed starting pitchers during that time. DeLuca started eight games, four each in left field and center field.

He had seven hits in 33 at-bats with a double, a home run, and three walks, hitting .212/.278/.333. DeLuca hit his first major league home run on July 4, a go-ahead shot in the eighth inning against Angel Perdomo of the Pirates.

Transferring Miller to the 60-day injured list was expected due to the severity of his neck pain. The earliest Miller could possibly return is August 20.