The 26 year old outfielder was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies, a move that surprised most folks, given that Dahl was expected to only make $2.5-3 million in 2021 through arbitration. The 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft was a highly regarded prospect throughout his minor league career and has shown flashes in the majors, but he has struggled to stay healthy — he missed much of 2015 after an outfield collision left him with a ruptured spleen, and has dealt with back problems, rib injuries, and a broken foot in recent years.
Dahl has a career .286/.334/.494 slash line in 1020 major league plate appearances, though given his home park has been in Colorado, that results in just a 103 OPS+. Dahl can play all three outfield positions, though he has played more in left field than in center field or right field.
If you read the comments here after the non-tender date, you know that in a rare show of unanimity, just about everyone here wanted the Rangers to go get David Dahl. He has accrued 3 years, 162 days of service time, meaning there are potentially three years of team control remaining after 2020 (you need 172 days of service time to qualify for a full year, so Dahl is 10 days short of 4 years of service time). As a result, Dahl is someone who is controllable beyond 2021 even though this is apparently a one year deal.
At the risk of being a wet blanket, it is worth noting that there are concerns that Dahl’s injury issues have impacted his physical ability, and that the tools that made him such a coveted prospect earlier in the decade may simply not be there any more. The five tool upside that Dahl once offered may simply not be there anymore.
But for $3 million, there’s no real downside for the Rangers to take a look and see. They can plug him into left field, give him regular rest by sitting him frequently against lefthanded pitchers, and see what happens.