Per the report, the Dodgers are considering De Aza as an alternative acquisition target to Chase Utley. While the two obviously don’t play the same position, Rosenthal suggests that adding De Aza would allow Los Angeles to continue deploying Kike Hernandez at second base in place of the injured Howie Kendrick.
In spite of that explanation, it seems a curious fit unless another move is also being contemplated. De Aza hits from the left side, and the Dodgers already have three left-handed-hitting outfielders in Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Joc Pederson. And it’s not as if the 31-year-old De Aza posts reverse platoon splits; to the contrary, he’s been far more productive against right-handed pitching this season and over his career. (The same holds true of the team’s incumbent options.)
De Aza does have some extra flexibility given his extensive (though somewhat outdated) experience in center field. But the same can be said to greater or lesser extent of the three players just mentioned — including, of course, the team’s current up-the-middle defender, Pederson.
The major difference between De Aza and the in-house veterans lies in the contractual realm. Boston only took on $1MM of his salary in acquiring him from the Orioles, and he’ll hit free agency after the season, so he’s a cheap rental piece at this point. Ethier ($38MM over two seasons) and Crawford ($41.75MM over two seasons) come with significant guarantees after the current year, though both have been rather productive at the plate. It’s conceivable, at least, that Los Angeles would have interest in an immediate replacement for either player if they found a trade partner willing to take on a piece of the future obligations.
While he’s best as a platoon player or fourth outfielder, De Aza is a useful piece — he’s slashed .313/.362/.520 since coming over to Boston. And it’s fairly clear that he holds more function to a team other than the cellar-dwelling Red Sox. But it’s also not immediately apparent that he makes a ton of sense for the Dodgers, as that team’s roster is currently structured.
Of course, being that it’s August, De Aza would need either to be claimed by the Dodgers or have already passed through revocable waivers to be dealt. It has not been reported whether or when De Aza was placed on waivers.