The Dodgers have inked outfielder Will Venable to a one-year contract, per Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider. The club optioned outfielder Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Venable opted out of his minor league contract with the Phillies over the weekend after hitting .205/.304/.307 in 149 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. However, as Weisman notes, the Dodgers lack a left-handed hitting outfielder after recently cutting ties with Carl Crawford.
The Dodgers owe Crawford the balance of his $20.75 million salary for the 2016 season and $21 million next year. Crawford compiled a meager .464 OPS in 87 plate appearances, so the organization must consider Venable a better player at this point despite a lackluster performance at Triple-A with the Phillies.
The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment. This comes after Gonzalez batted a mere .210/.282/.276 over 117 plate appearances in Cleveland. That came after he had to settle for a minor league contract with the Indians in mid-March.
A few years ago Gonzalez was a superstar, winning three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, making the All-Star team three times and coming in third in the MVP balloting once upon a time. That was then, however. His most recent good season came in 2016, when he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and drove in 100. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to hit .232/.269/.334. Between his falloff in production and the fact that his big numbers of the past were heavily supported by playing at Coors Field, it should not be shocking that he couldn’t make it work in Cleveland.
If he wants to continue his career, he’ll no doubt have to take a minor league gig someplace. Otherwise, this could be the end of the line.