David Dahl can hit. But in his career, what the 26-year-old outfielder has hit most is the Injured List.
In 2015, he ran into an outfield wall in the minor leagues and had to have his spleen removed.
He suffered a stress fracture of a rib in 2017. Then, when he attempted to come back from that, he hurt his back. He wound up missing the entire season.
He missed two months of the 2018 season with a broken foot.
Finally healthy, he made the All-Star team in 2019 but injured an ankle in early August and was out for the season.
He never got it going in 2020, eventually being shut down for shoulder surgery in September.
Because of that, the Rockies non-tendered him last month, making him a free agent.
Yesterday, the Ranger made him a Ranger, signing Dahl to a reported one-year, $3-million contract.
If there was ever a player who needed a fresh start and a dose of luck, it’s David Dahl. If there was ever a team that needed a fresh start and a dose of luck, it’s the Texas Rangers. Maybe it’s a match made in heaven. Or, in the operating room.
It’s a low-risk gamble on a guy with All-Star caliber talent, a proven hitter on a team that has no offense. This is the offensive equivalent of all those injured, damaged pitchers Jon Daniels has pulled off the scrap head and signed. Two worked out in Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. Dozens didn’t, like Matt Moore, Drew Smyly, Kyle Lohse, Rich Harden, Shelby Miller, and others too painful to continue listing.
Ignoring last year where Dahl hit .183, with an on-base percentage of .222, he is a career .286 hitter, with a career .828 OPS, immediately making him one of the best hitters on the Rangers. Which isn’t saying much.
Dahl’s primary position with the Rockies was center but he also spent considerable time at the corners in the outfield. If Solak is, indeed, going to play second (and if you believe that, there’s swampland in Florida available for immediate purchase), that would open left for Dahl, with Taveras in center, Gallo in right, and Calhoun DHing.
This helps explain why the Rangers DFAed Scott Heineman. They are full at the inn when it comes to outfielders now.
Let’s hope Dahl can stay healthy in 2021.