The Dodgers have released outfielder Bradley Zimmer, per the transaction log at MiLB.com. He’d been playing with their Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City after signing a minor league contract back in December.
The 30-year-old Zimmer is a veteran of six big league seasons, the majority of which were spent in Cleveland. A former first-round pick and well-regarded top prospect, Zimmer has long displayed plus speed and defense but never solidified himself as a regular outfielder at the MLB level, due largely to ongoing strikeout issues.
Zimmer’s penchant for punching out was magnified in 2022, when he spent the bulk of the season with the Blue Jays. Toronto clearly valued his baserunning acumen and defensive prowess, but Zimmer appeared in 100 games and received just 101 plate appearances — a testament to his long-running offensive struggles. In that time, he batted just .101/.200/.213 with a 40.6% strikeout rate. Certainly, the infrequency of his at-bats put Zimmer in an unenviable position in terms of trying to find some semblance of a rhythm at the plate, but on the whole he’s a career .213/.298/.333 hitter with a 33.9% strikeout rate.
Defensively, Zimmer has graded out fantastically wherever he’s been placed in the outfield. The bulk of his work in the big leagues has come in center field, but he’s also tallied 406 innings in right field and another 63 in left field. Defensive Runs Saved (13), Ultimate Zone Rating (5.2) and Outs Above Average (11) are all complementary of his work in 1783 innings in center field, and that trio grades his entire body of work in the outfield with similarly strong respective marks of 15, 7.8 and 14. Zimmer is also 42-for-50 in career stolen base attempts (84%) and landed in the 93rd percentile of big leaguers in terms of sprint speed in 2022, per Statcast.
Zimmer’s work with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate this year featured the same general characteristics that have come to be expected of him over the years. His .219/.322/.343 batting line was well below the league average, with a 38% strikeout rate standing as the primary culprit. However, he drew a fair number of walks, flashed a bit of pop (three homers), swiped eight bases (in nine tries), and spent some time in all three outfield slots (145 innings in right, 71 in center, nine in left). He’ll head back to free agency and look to latch on with another club in search of some center field depth.