This news came out of nowhere. I know the Dodgers had been without a left-handed bat off the bench since they DFA'd Carl Crawford, but I didn't expect them to fill that void through free agency. I figured they'd look from within and bring up infielder Micah Johnson or even longtime minor league veteran/journeyman Corey Brown. Instead, the Dodgers signed former Padres outfielder Will Venable. Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of outfielder Will Venable (#25) to a one-year contract.Venable had yet to play in the Majors this season. He had been in the Phillies system until he opted out of his contract a few days ago. With the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Will slashed .205/.304/.307/.611 in 41 games. He had been walking at a healthy clip (17 this season) and stolen two bases in two attempts. Generally, Venable is thought to have a good glove and has some speed on the basepaths. He also had some pop in his bat. In 2013 Will hit 22 home runs for San Diego, but has never gotten anywhere near that since.
The 33-year-old has a .251 career batting average with 81 home runs and 307 RBI in 955 big league games during eight seasons with the Padres (2008-2015) and Rangers (2015). The left-handed hitter has appeared at all three outfield positions, with 555 career games (385 starts) in right field, 322 games (252 starts) in center field and 91 games (52 starts) in left field. Venable opened the season with the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley club, batting .205 with seven doubles, two homers and 19 RBI in 41 games prior to being released on June 10. Venable was originally selected by the Padres in the seventh round of the 2005 draft out of Princeton University.
To create room on the roster, the Dodgers optioned catcher/infielder Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Barnes has gone 2-for-19 with an RBI in 10 games with Los Angeles this season.
Frankly, this signing puzzles me. Nevertheless, I'll cheer like the homer-ish fan that I am.
In celebration of his signing by the Dodgers I decided to make a couple fantasy Baseball cards of him. For the card on the left I using a photo taken from the Getty and the 1994 Fleer Baseball card design. For the card on the right I grabbed another photo taken from East Village Times and the 1993 Topps Baseball card design.
Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:
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