The Dodgers agree to terms with free-agent outfielder David Peralta

Tampa Bay Rays left fielder David Peralta against the Boston Red Sox.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder David Peralta jogs the field during a game against the Boston Red Sox in September. (Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ plans in center field remain unclear the week before spring training.

On Friday, however, the team improved its depth in left field, agreeing to a contract with veteran outfielder David Peralta, according to a person familiar with the deal not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal is reportedly for one year and will pay Peralta a base salary of $6.5 million, plus incentives that could boost his earnings to $8 million, per ESPN.

A 35-year-old left-handed hitter with a career .281 batting average and .796 on-base percentage plus hits, Peralta spent nine seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the deadline last year and becoming a free agent this winter.

Peralta’s performance declined after the move to Tampa Bay, especially his power numbers, as he batted just .355 and failed to hit any home runs in 47 games with the Rays.

His overall production in 2022, however, was still above the league average, with an OPS+ of 109.

For a Dodgers team experiencing significant outfield turnover — and were looking for another addition to that group to fill out the offseason — Peralta provides another veteran presence that should bolster their depth.

Prior to Friday, the team’s uncertainty in center, where they have yet to decide exactly how to replace Cody Bellinger, also left their options in left field somewhat unknown.

Chris Taylor seemed to be the fittest choice. But it may be necessary to take over in the center – and he is coming off a disappointing and injury-ridden 2022 season.

Trayce Thompson also saw time in left field last year, though like Taylor, he’s another option to move into center.

If Thompson hits right-handed and stays left, he could potentially platoon with Peralta, who was significantly worse against left-handed pitching last season.

The Dodgers also took flyers on several other veteran outfielders this winter, signing minor league contracts for Jason Heyward, Bradley Zimmer and Steven Duggar. Prospect James Outman is also expected to see more time in the majors this year.

All of them will compete in the center field contest during spring training.

Peralta has played sparingly in center in his career, but his ability to cut into left should still help ease some of the Dodgers’ outfield concerns, giving the club a more proven option as it looks for the best combination to play together in the outfield right Mookie Betts.

A former pitching candidate in the St. Louis Cardinals system whose future on the mound was derailed by injuries, Peralta made a comeback as an outfielder with some pop during his time with the Diamondbacks.

In four of his first five seasons there, he recorded an OPS of .796 or better four times. In 2018, he set career highs in home runs (30) and RBI (87).

Peralta production has since declined. Still, he remained a coveted asset into last year’s trade deadline—the Dodgers were one of several teams connected to him before he shipped to Tampa—and still ranked high among the league’s big hitters in important underlying metrics like average output speed and the percentage hit hard.

Like most of the Dodgers’ other acquisitions this winter, he wasn’t the flashiest name on the free agent market and comes to Los Angeles in a short-term, relatively low-risk deal.

But at the very least, the team hopes it can help complete its puzzle in the outfield and serve as another small building block in an effort to remain a contender in a stacked National League.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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