The Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger to kick off this offseason, and Belli eventually signed with the Cubs. The question of who will play center field for Los Angeles in 2023 is still an open one, with James Outman, Trayce Thompson, and Chris Taylor all among the internal options.
L.A. added another option over the weekend, although it’s a pretty long shot for him.
Dodgers are signing outfielder Bradley Zimmer to a minor league deal, source tells The Athletic.
The 30-year-old center fielder has big league time with Cleveland, Toronto and Philadelphia.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 18, 2022
Bradley Zimmer, like Bellinger, debuted in 2017, batting .241 with a .692 OPS in 332 plate appearances. Unfortunately for him and his Cleveland team, that represented a high mark for his OPS, which has been .598 since his rookie year. Cleveland traded Zimmer to the Blue Jays just as the 2022 season was beginning, and the Phillies nabbed him off waivers in August.
Zimmer is a former top prospect, hitting as high as 23 on the Baseball Prospectus top 100 list before 2016. He was a first-round draft pick out of the University of San Francisco in 2014, but he never quite met his potential.
Zimmer is a solid defensive center fielder, but what will determine his future is whether he can make the jump from minor-league hitter to major-league hitter. In parts of seven seasons in the minors, he has an .827 OPS, although his 26.4% strikeout rate in the minors doesn’t bode well for him even if it is significantly better than the 34.0% K rate he’s posted in the big leagues.
In the end, the Dodgers are simply taking a no-risk flier on a guy who used to be a prospect. Maybe they can fix him and he can contribute at the big-league level, or maybe we’ll hardly ever think about him again.
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