Dominican outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and the Dodgers have reached a one-year, $23.5 million deal, a source told MLB.com’s Juan Toribio. The club has not yet confirmed the agreement.
A constant source of power, Hernandez is one of 12 players to hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last four full seasons. That included 26 homers last year with the Mariners, whom he joined in an offseason trade from Toronto. However, his 2023 year didn’t quite live up to the expectations of a player who received MVP votes and a Silver Slugger winner in 2020 and 2021.
After posting a wRC+ of 130 or better in each of his last three years with the Blue Jays, Hernandez had a wRC+ of 105 with the Mariners. His wOBA dropped for the third year in a row to .336, and his .741 OPS was his lowest since his debut in 2016 with the Astros. Hernandez had just 100 games with Houston before being traded to the Blue Jays at the 2017 trade deadline.
Plate discipline has never been Hernandez’s strong suit, and that was especially true last season. His swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone was the worst of his career at 35.2%. He posted a career-low 5.6% walk rate with a 31.1% strikeout rate. His 211 strikeouts and 35.8% empty-strike percentage were among the highest among skilled players.
Hernandez often causes damage through contact, as evidenced by his outstanding true strike rates of 49.4% and 13.8%. The 31-year-old truly punished pitchers when they threw four-seam fastballs at him, posting a .302 batting average, a .659 slugging percentage and an extremely high 72.4% hard-hit rate.
He’s not an elite defender, but Hernandez provides value in the outfield thanks to his strong arm in right field. His 12 assists were third among all outfielders last season, and his 22 assists over the last two seasons trail only Lane Thomas of the Nationals.
Hernandez’s most productive full season to date came in 2021, when he hit 32 home runs, drove in 116 runs and hit .296/.346/.524 with Toronto.