The Popular Option, The Underlying Option, The Low-Risk High-Reward Option For A Right-Handed Bat.

It’s well known where the Dodgers’ focus is in shaping the roster this off-season. President of baseball ops, Andrew Friedman, has acquired more than a handful of relievers in Corey Knebel, Andrew Schwaab, Garrett Cleavinger, Tommy Kahnle (2022 bullpen option), Brandon Morrow, to name a few, to address needs in the bullpen. The other focal point that’s lacked attention, the need for an impactful right-handed bat.

Unless Friedman knows something about Eliot Soto the rest of us don’t, the Dodgers are still in the market for a righty hitter. And although Justin Turner and Kiké Hernandez reportedly remain on L.A.’s radar, rumors continually arise, hinting both will eventually be replaced.

David John LeMahieu

The Dodgers showing continual interest in a player that fields multiple positions is something fans are highly familiar with. But LeMahieu doesn’t fall into the typical platoon role the team often searched for in the past. Hitting .356 with a .982 OPS against lefties and .295 with a .802 OPS versus righties for the last three seasons earns him a bonified everyday spot in a lineup. His low strikeout and whiff rate plus high hard-hit percentage are elite enough to slide him into the top of the lineup.

And elite is the level LeMahieu has played at through most of his career. Since 2014, he’s been an all-star and gold glove winner three times as well as a silver slugger twice. He’s also been in the top 5 in MVP voting the last two seasons.

There are two cons to LeMahieu. He’s 32 years old and looking for a five-year, $100 million contract. The five years isn’t completely out of the doable realm, especially if the designated hitter spot becomes universal in the majors. The $20 million average annual value, which would likely put the Dodgers over the collaborative bargaining tax threshold this season, might discourage such a deal from happening. But the team does have around $80-90 million coming off the books after the upcoming season. The Dodgers could take a tax hit this season and still reset for the next even if they decide to re-sign both Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw.

Eugenio Suarez

The Reds are perceived to be selling and headed toward a rebuild after losing Trevor Bauer, moving closer Raisel Iglesias and reportedly listening to trade proposals on their other highly-valued players. One of them being Eugenio Suarez. The third baseman is one of the better right-handed hitters in the past three seasons. From 2018 to 2020, he holds a .892 OPS and has the 11th most weighted runs created among righties in baseball. He also has the 18th most barreled balls in the majors in that timespan where only two other current Dodgers sit ahead. Simply put, he can hit.

How about his plate discipline? Suarez strikes out a ton, but he also walks a lot. One thing he does really well is not swinging at pitches outside the zone, ranking 15th in that category in the National League since 2018, which is something only two other Dodgers have done at a lower rate. Another notable quality, he’s ranked 18th among all ball players in win probability added since 2018.

Suarez, 29, is NL ranked 14th in fWAR since 2017 and owed $44.6 million for the next four seasons, but his contract’s annual average rate is $9.4 million. HE’S. A. BARGAIN. Not only does acquiring him keep the team under the CBT threshold this year, but his AAV also allows for plenty of financial flexibility moving forward. That considered, trading for him could come at a steep price. Or will it?

Baseball Trade Values has a simulator that allows you to build hypothetical trade proposals. The module carefully assigns each player a value based on multiple criteria (production, money owed, age, projections, etc.). So, one trade proposal that would work via the trade simulator:

To LAD:

3B Eugenio Suarez

To CIN:

RHP Josiah Gray

2B Michael Busch

UT Zach McKinstry

According to BTV, this proposal is considered a minor overpay. In the Dodgers case, overcompensating for the caliber of a player such as Suarez is justified because he provides more value to them since their odds of winning a World Series is greater than most other teams. Adding him, obviously, increases those odds. Nonetheless, giving up three solid prospects can be considered a small price to pay for a team increasing its already high chance of winning a championship and sits in the upper echelon of player development systems.

Hanser Alberto

There’s also the low-risk, high reward route the Dodgers are infamously known for taking. If they’re serious about preventing taking a tax ding, adding Hanser Alberto to the lineup in a platoon role is ideal. It’s safe to assume that Alberto will have a low price tag. The 28-year-old was non-tendered by the Baltimore Orioles early in December. Offensively, his overall numbers have been below par. Or rather, his terrible stats against right-handed pitchers have oversaturated his overall numbers.

Since 2018 and among right-handed hitters with at least 250 plate appearances versus southpaw pitchers, Alberto’s OPS (.936) ranks higher than Ronald Acuna Jr, Marcell Ozuna, Mookie Betts, Tommy Pham, and many other well-known sluggers. Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, and Chris Taylor are the only current Dodger righties that have created more runs against lefties than Alberto in the last three seasons.

Hanser mostly plays second and third base. And he fields them well. He’s not considered a liability on defense and has played nearly every position. He’s actually pitched one inning in his career. Considering he’ll only play a majority of the four and five spots with L.A., platooning him with Gavin Lux or Edwin Rios is viable.

These are only three options of many. But they cover a popular spectrum of choices the Dodgers can make if they don’t believe Turner or Kiké will return.

Oskar is a writer for Dodgers-Lowdown. Follow him on Twitter @2Rawsko94. Photo Credit: DJ LeMahieu (Elsa/Getty Images), Eugenio Suarez (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP), Hanser Alberto (Capital Gazette).