The answer to who will be the Dodgers’ everyday starting center fielder still remains a mystery. After the Dodgers non-tendered former MVP and Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger, in mid-November, it was obvious that Belli’s days in Dodger blue were numbered. Cody ended up signing with the Chicago Cubs, and with that came a significant hole that needs to be filled at centerfield for L.A.
The Dodgers have plenty of options, whether trading for a proven/All-Star level center fielder or giving someone in-house the opportunity to take over the role.
Los Angeles was interested in the glove of former Tampa Bay Ray Kevin Kiermaier, but it would’ve been more of the same for L.A. in the past three seasons; great glove, lousy bat. Instead, the Blue Jays were willing to give Kiermaier more money, so Toronto was it.
L.A. also can trade for Pirates All-Star Bryan Reynolds, but the price seems too hefty.
The Dodgers’ in-house options look more and more likely as we get closer to Opening Day. Trayce Thompson and James Outman are currently on the 40-man roster, and the offseason signings of Jason Heyward and Steven Duggar could be options even though they were signed to minor-league deals.
We posted a poll on our Twitter page asking Dodger fans who they think will emerge as the everyday center-fielder, and the results were riveting.
Who emerges as the everyday center fielder in 2023?#dodgers
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) January 2, 2023
Trayce Thompson was quite a surprise in 2022. Thompson was not even on the Opening Day roster for L.A. but became a Dodger after Mookie Betts had to miss some time due to injury and was excellent in filling the role.
He continued to play good baseball even after Mookie returned from injury and posted a .901 OPS in 205 ABs in 2022. Towards the end of the season, Thompson finished with a strikeout rate of 36%, higher than Chris Taylor’s 35.2% rate.
James Outman came out the gate and set Dodger fans into a frenzy over him. He’s young and flashy but has minimal time in the major leagues. He’s hit very well in the minors and plays good defense, so he’ll undoubtedly spend more time in the major leagues in 2023.
Jason Heyward was one of the best outfielders of his day, but those days seem long gone. However, he is experienced, and if the Dodgers can squeeze whatever is left in him, he can get some play time in the outfield in the majors.
It’ll only be a matter of time before we find out who will become the permanent center-fielder for the Dodgers.
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