Outfielder David Dahl has opted out of his minor league contract with the Nationals, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Washington could choose to select him onto the MLB roster to keep him in the fold, but Dougherty indicates they’ll let him head back onto the open market.
It’s the second consecutive minor league deal for Dahl that hasn’t resulted in a big league opportunity. He spent a year with the Brewers top affiliate in Nashville after signing a non-roster pact last August. Despite posting solid numbers with the Sounds, Dahl was let go by Milwaukee this July. He latched on with the Nats a couple weeks later, with the club seemingly eyeing him as a possible late-season replacement after some forthcoming deadline trades that subtracted from the lineup.
That didn’t wind up coming to be, as Dahl struggled over his 18 games with their highest affiliate in Rochester. He hit .224/.304/.343 in 79 trips to the plate, striking out on 22 occasions (27.8% rate). That’s a far cry from the .294/.357/.468 showing he’d posted in 280 plate appearances with Nashville earlier in the year, and the Nationals instead selected the contract of first baseman Joey Meneses and claimed outfielder Alex Call off waivers from the Guardians to backfill the 40-man roster.
Dahl’s most recent MLB came action came during the first half of the 2021 season with the Rangers. Signed to a $3MM deal the preceding offseason, the lefty-hitting outfielder hit .210/.247/.322 over 63 games in Arlington before being released. That came on the heels of an injury-wrecked 2020 season that had led the Rockies to cut him loose, and it’s now been three years since Dahl looked like a potential core piece in Colorado. The former #10 overall pick was an above-average hitter when healthy in each of his first three MLB seasons, which included a .302/.353/.524 showing in 2019 that earned him an All-Star nod.
The 28-year-old heads back into free agency in search of another opportunity. He seems likely to catch on elsewhere on a minor league pact, with a team that seeks non-roster outfield depth likely to be intrigued by his prior MLB success and recent solid production at the upper levels with Milwaukee. If Dahl finds a new landing spot by September 1, he’d technically be eligible for postseason play.