All-star outfielder Teoscar Hernández agrees to a one-year deal with Dodgers

Seattle Mariners' Teoscar Hernandez follows through in a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Dodgers’ December spending spree has spilled into the New Year.

After doling out more than $1 billion on three star acquisitions last month, the Dodgers made another splash Sunday night by agreeing to a one-year, $23.5-million deal with free-agent outfielder Teoscar Hernández, according to a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal, first reported by ESPN, gives the Dodgers the right-handed hitting outfielder they coveted to complete their offseason overhaul.

Hernández, 31, is an eight-year veteran and one-time All-Star who has a career .261 batting average, .802 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and 159 home runs.

Read more: Hernández: How Shohei Ohtani inspired Yoshinobu Yamamoto to be a Dodger

The slugger is coming off a down season in 2023 with the Seattle Mariners, when he batted just .258 with a .741 OPS. That was still above league-average production, however, with Hernández collecting 26 home runs and 93 RBIs.

His best two seasons were with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020 and 2021, when he posted a combined .882 OPS and received MVP votes twice.

With the Dodgers — whose lineup was already bolstered by the addition of two-way star Shohei Ohtani — Hernández will be asked to fill another important role, giving their new-look offense another weapon at the plate.

Among Hernández’s best attributes: He hammers left-handed pitching, highlighted by a career .887 OPS against southpaws.

Hernández can also handle right-handers (.772 career OPS), which should enable him to fill more of an everyday role in the team’s outfield.

Currently, the Dodgers appear likely to platoon in right field with Jason Heyward and Chris Taylor. James Outman will still play the majority of time in center. With Mookie Betts slated for a full-time shift to second base, that left an opening for an everyday option in left field. While the Dodgers have been considering prospects Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch for corner outfield time, a bigger move for an established bat such as Hernández always seemed to be the safer path.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernandez warms up in the on-deck circle before an at-bat against the Oakland Athletics.

The Dodgers’ pursuit of Hernández began during November’s general manager meetings, when the club first signaled a serious interest in the Dominican Republic native.

In the meantime, the Dodgers were busy with their three headline moves. They signed Ohtani to a heavily-deferred $700-million contract. They struck a trade and contract extension for Tyler Glasnow to bolster their rotation. Then they netted another Japanese star, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, on the biggest pitching contract in major league history.

During that period, the Dodgers had also evaluated other outfield options. According to one person with knowledge of the situation, the team had a meeting with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. shortly before Ohtani’s signing. Gurriel ultimately re-signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Read more: Yoshinobu Yamamoto the next Dodgers ace? Scouts praise his skill, question his durability

Many evaluators will see Hernández as an equally impactful addition, especially at his relatively team-friendly cost. The high single-year salary (which does reportedly include $8.5 million of deferrals) should push the Dodgers’ payroll past the top luxury tax threshold of $297 million. The limited long-term risk of the deal, however, probably appealed to a club that suddenly finds itself saddled with hefty future financial commitments.

Now, with spring training still a month away, the Dodgers have crossed yet another key item off their winter to-do list.

They’d already won the Ohtani sweepstakes. They’d already remade their starting rotation. With Hernández, the core of their lineup looks just about complete, too, injecting another big name (and millions more dollars) into the club’s continued offseason frenzy.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.