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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dodgers agree terms with infielder Hanser Alberto to bolster bench depth

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Kansas City Royals second baseman Hanser Alberto throws during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 19, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

The Dodgers added depth to their bench on Sunday, agreeing to deal with infielder Hanser Alberto on a major league contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The contract, which is reportedly for one year with a club option for a second, is pending a physical, although Alberto had already reposted several mentions of the signing on his Instagram story on Sunday morning.

The 29-year-old has played parts of six major league seasons, including 103 games with the Kansas City Royals last year. He is a .276 career hitter who also has 17 home runs and 106 RBIs. Defensively, he has played primarily second base, third base and shortstop.

He fills the need for the Dodgers, who saw their normally deep lineup take a hit with injuries last season. On Friday, manager Dave Roberts specifically pointed to bench depth when asked where he might add the team to the roster before spring training.

“I think a little bit of depth on the position player side is a good starting point,” Roberts said.

Alberto began his major league career with the Texas Rangers in 2015, playing for them sporadically over the course of the next four years. In 2019, the Baltimore Orioles drafted him off waivers and he played almost every day at second and third base, batting .305 with 12 home runs, 51 RBIs, a .751 on-base plus slugging percentage, and a solid RPG. defensive metrics.

Alberto was productive again for the Orioles in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, hitting .283 while appearing in all but six games, but the team did not offer him a contract. After signing with the Royals last year and hitting .270, the arbitration-eligible Alberto was waived and became a free agent again.

Alberto, a right-handed hitter, has been significantly better against left-handed pitchers in his career, hitting .333 with an .815 OPS against lefties compared to a .240 average and .596 OPS against righties. While he doesn’t hit very hard, he is one of the best players in the game to make contact at the plate.

It’s all contributed to three consecutive seasons of above-replacement production for Alberto, according to Fangraphs’ version of wins above-replacement. And for a Dodgers team that ran out of options last year, especially in the postseason, he’ll add some versatility and experience off the bench.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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