The Padres have signed outfielder David Dahl to a minor league deal, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Dahl, 28, spent the past season at Triple-A with the Brewers and Nationals, slashing a combined .279/.345/.442 with ten home runs in 359 plate appearances.
He was once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, rising as high as 22nd on Baseball America’s overall list prior to the 2015 campaign. Drafted tenth overall by the Rockies in 2012, he quickly rose through their ranks and had an impressive rookie season in 2016, hitting .315/.359/.500 in 237 plate appearances and lining himself up to be a mainstay of the Rockies outfield for many years to come.
He suffered a stress fracture in his rib in spring training in 2017, and developed back spasms while rehabbing that summer, leading the Rockies to shut him down for the entire year. He returned in 2018, belting 16 home runs and posting a .273/.325/.534 line. That was followed up by an even better year in 2019, as Dahl earned his first trip to the All Star game amid a season where he wound up with 15 home runs and a .302/.353/.524 line in 100 games.
Unfortunately, 2019 was his last year of above-average production, and Dahl’s offense regressed considerably in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign as he battled shoulder and back injuries. That year, he hit just .183/.222/.247 without a home run and was released at the end of the season. The Rangers inked him to a one-year, $2.7MM deal that winter in a bid to help him rediscover his offensive potential, but Dahl would continue his struggles, slashing .210/.247/.322 in 220 plate appearances before being released mid-season.
Dahl has spent most of his time in the big leagues in left field, where he’s logged -10 Defensive Runs Saved over his five seasons. He graded out below average in center, but was worth 3 DRS in right field in about 500 innings there over his big league career.
While Dahl is now three years removed from his last above-average season, he’ll play the 2023 season at age-29 so is still young enough that he could still find his offensive groove again with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, and try and find an opportunity in the big leagues if injuries strike.
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