The Tampa Bay Rays made a head scratching move on Saturday night. They designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. Dickerson, who will be 29-years-old in May, was an All-Star in 2017 and hit .282/.325/.490 with 54 extra-base hits. He’s spent nearly all of his time in the Major Leagues as a left fielder, with just 33 starts in either center or right field since 2013 began.

When the move first started showing up, nearly everyone was left scratching their heads. Tampa Bay has already agreed to pay Corey Dickerson $5.95M for the 2018 season. He’s a quality, even if flawed player. The thought, initially, was that this was simply a paper move and that Dickerson had been traded, but still needed some i’s dotted and t’s crossed. The DFA would allow them to not waive someone else they planned on keeping around and tomorrow the trade could go through. Word then came out about an hour later that no, that was not the case. There was no trade in the works. The Rays simply were designating him for assignment.

As I noted above, Corey Dickerson is a good, but flawed player. Let’s look at what he’s good at. The guy can hit for power. In the last two seasons he has hit 69 doubles, seven triples and 51 home runs in 1177 plate appearances. His isolated power (SLG-AVG) in that span is .215. That’s good for 34th in baseball, falling between George Springer and Justin Turner.

That’s about where things end for Corey Dickerson on the good side of things, though. He doesn’t draw walks, with walk rates of 4.3%, 6.0%, and 5.6% in each of the last three years. That’s not good. He also isn’t exactly a contact guy, with a strikeout rate just over 24% in each of the last two seasons. In his good seasons, offensively, it’s been years in which is BABIP was high. When it’s been average, or below, he’s struggled to provide much beyond his power.

Defensively, he’s pretty much been a left fielder for his entire career, and well, that leaves him rather limited. But, the question is: Can he play more than left? He played in Colorado for the first three years of his career. The outfield there is enormous, so he didn’t spend much time at all in center with the Rockies. In Tampa Bay he happened to be playing with arguably the best center fielder in baseball over the last few seasons with Kevin Kiermaier. Because of that, he again didn’t see time in center field.

Corey Dickerson has a grand total of 14 stolen bases in his career. He’s been caught 15 times. Simply looking at those numbers, you would think that he’s slower than your grandmother. But, in fact, Corey Dickerson is a well above-average speed guy. The Statcast sprint leaderboards have him ranked 108th out of 451 players in sprint speed. He’s basically just as fast as Jose Peraza, Mookie Betts, or Jose Altuve. Apparently he’s just a terrible base stealer.

With that kind of speed, it begs the question: Can Corey Dickerson play center field? It would seem that the speed requirement is indeed there, particularly if he’s not going to have to play there every day. That doesn’t mean he can, because there’s more to playing center than just pure speed. It does however leave open the possibility.

A player like Corey Dickerson isn’t likely to come simply from a waiver claim. He’s been worth 4.1 fWAR and 4.2 bWAR over the last two seasons. He’s a quality player. A team is likely going to have to make a trade for Dickerson. If you are going to pay his entire salary, you will likely have to give up a little less than if you are going to try and get the Rays to pay some of it. The outfielder is under team control through 2019.

Corey Dickerson sounds similar to what the Reds already have in their corners with Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler. He’s got some power, generally struggles to hit for average and has been a lower on-base percentage guy. Like Schebler, he’s got speed to work with, but is questionable in center field. Would he be an upgrade to Duvall or Schebler? Is there room for him in the outfielder, where the Reds already have four guys for three spots?

He would certainly add value to the roster – he’s a quality player. Whether it makes sense for the Cincinnati Reds to pick him up is another question. The cost acquisition is important, as would the question of just how much of an upgrade to the roster he would be.

34 Responses

  1. DHud

    I pass on the shear premise of not giving Bryan Price any more opportunities to take ABs away from Jesse Winker

    • MK

      It certainly isn’t a position of need especially with Jesse needing at bats. There has got to be more to the story than is public knowledge on Dickerson. I would pass.

  2. Datdudejs

    I’d pick him if if they don’t have to give up much and they swing some sort of separate trade with Duvall/schebler.

    • Cguy

      Why would a team trade players/prospects for Duvall or Schebler if they can pick up Dickerson off the waiver wire & pay ML minimum for him this season?

      • IndyRedsFan

        If you claim him on waivers you have to pay the full contract…5.9 million for 2018.

        But, as Doug said, I expect they’ll find a trade for him before he hits waivers.

  3. Klugo

    Sure but it’s all about the price. He’d be a nice bench bat.

    • MK

      There are 4 bench spots. Mesoraco, Winker, Pennington and Herrera seem to be pretty well set. Not sure who he would unseat.

  4. Wes

    Orodizzi been on trade market all offseason. Finally traded and all they got was twins 27th ranked prospect who was their 4th best ss in system.

    The value to acquire talent via trade is as low as I ever remember in baseball and dw doesn’t seem to want to trade anyone for peanuts. So I don’t see reds making any moves until maybe trade deadline.

    I also don’t see Lynn/Cobb being that big of an upgrade over ordorizzi. They both may end up regretting not taking qualifying offer at this point. Market is crazy right now !

    • Stock

      To be fair Dickerson has value and Odorizzi is pretty much replacement level. Odorizzi would not ever start for the Reds. Even though he played a full season last year and Mahle, Stephenson and Romano did not all three had a higher WAR last year than Odorizzi. Odorizzi had a 2.08 K/BB rate last year. This is not something that will keep him in the majors very long. Of course this 2.08 K/BB rate is better than all three of Mahle, Stephenson and Romano but I feel if they don’t improve upon these ratio’s they will not survive in the majors either.

      I think Cobb is better than Odorizzi but I just don’t see Lynn getting a big contract. His underlying stats stink and if I am looking out over 3 years I see replacement level. Why pay $15 million a year for a replacement level player. Not smart. Of course no one has yet.

  5. Colorado Red

    I would say no.
    Not an upgrade of Adman or Scott.
    1/2 was really good, 2nd half not much (sound familiar).
    With Jessie needing 550 AB, I just do not see the upside.
    I am sure TB has been trying to trade him, so I do not see that working.
    I think Colorado needs to pick him up.

  6. CP

    If they can get him at a low cost, he would be an upgrade over Kivlehan, although I’m not convinced he is making the roster anyways. All comes down to what it would cost to get him I think.

    I do agree though, that if they do this, it CANNOT come at the cost of Winker’s AB’s.

    • Colorado Red

      Salary is 5.9 Mil this year.
      That is not to high for a player like this.
      The question I have, is how else is interested.
      I would still expect a trade with a low level prospect in the mix.
      No money back from TB

  7. Hunt4redsoct

    Then there is the numbers crunch, you could put Rookie Davis on the 60 day to clear up the spot. But how do you clear the couple of spots that will be needed for opening day

  8. stock

    One thing to consider is that assuming Ervin has no more options is there room for Hamilton, Ervin, Winker, Schebler, Duvall and Dickerson. If not then you may as well trade them Ervin for Dickerson. I think this would be a fair trade though.

    I would get him and plug him in the lineup in CF. He hasn’t played CF much but when he did he was above average according to the metrics and that was in Colorado which is a huge park. He would without a doubt be better than Choo. Sometimes you don’t play CF not because you are not capable but rather there is someone else better or someone in your way (see Senzel at 3B, he is capable just blocked). In Colorado Fowler, Stubbs and Blackmon played CF in his three years there and in TB no one is moving Kiermaier.

    Billy Hamilton would be a fantastic 4th OF. Possibly more valuable as a 4th OF than a CF. He really lit things up in September 2013 as a 4th OF.

    • Norwood Nate

      If I recall correctly, Ervin was just placed on the 40-man last offseason. He should have two option years left. I believe Doug wrote that only Herrera and Bailey are out of options.

  9. SteveLV

    Dickerson is a slight upgrade over Schebler, with a longer track record – but the Reds have team control for 5 years with Schebler. I don’t see why the Reds would pay the difference and potentially lose a prospect for a slight upgrade. Certainly wouldn’t do it if they keep all of the current outfielders.
    For the Reds to really compete, they need about 4 position players and a couple of starters who are in the conversation as All Stars and most off of the rest need to be solid major league players/pitchers. Why spend an extra $5 million a year and not do much to move the needle?

  10. HavaKlu

    You obviously have never seen Dickerson or Odorizzi play. Having seen almost all their games over the past couple years, I can assure you that Dickerson could not play CF. Although sure handed he even looked awkward in LF and his arm is below average. Odorizzi could definitely pitch for the Reds. Last season he was hampered by injuries. He is a cool customer and competes very well.

  11. Norwood Nate

    He’s a fine player if the Reds had a clear opening, or even a platoon option to use him in. As it is, the Reds need to trade a corner OF’er still before the season, not add to the logjam.

  12. Swayback8

    According to MLB Trade Rumors, he’s been placed on waivers before his arbitration case has been settled. They are saying that the Rays will only owe him 30 days termination, therefore this would be a salary dump.

  13. WillieG

    Ben Taylor dfa by Red Sox. Could be useful bullpen arm and has options left.

  14. AirborneJayJay

    Baltimore is looking for LH hitting OF. Make the trade for Dickerson. Then trade Schebler to the O’s.
    Can anyone provide the stats for Dickerson at GABP while he was with Colorado?? The games I saw he smoked the ball. Schebler hit .215 and only one 2B at GABP.

  15. Stock

    Unless the Rays get a better option in the next several days I think Dickerson is the PTBNL in the CJ Cron trade.

  16. Bill

    If the Reds think he can play CF ot if the cost is reasonable (maybe Beltre or Gavin LaValley) then go for it. Even if he would be a bench piece, he would be an upgrade over Ervin at this point allowing Ervin to percolate a little more at Louisville. That said, there are potential flaws in several aspects of his game.

  17. MK

    One thing about finding a centerfielder we have to remember the owner would not allow Hamilton to be traded I am sure he is going to make sure he plays. For good or bad Hamilton is going to be the Reds centerfielder.

    • MuddyCleats

      Lets hope so. Wish he felt that way about Chapman. Two of the most exciting players in baseball and both should still be playing with the Reds!

  18. Michael B. Green

    I’m always optimistic and positive about players but Dickerson, IMO, is not a fit in CIN. CIN has arguably the best defense in the NL. Dickerson has not generated positive dWAR ever.

    I’m really confused as to why TB would DFA someone that was close to All-Star caliber at the break last year. It is also odd to see him dealt this many times at this point in his career. Wonder what’s up with that?

    In any event, I think Dickerson lands with an AL team where he can play a little LF and DH the rest of the time.

  19. AllTheHype

    Designating Dickerson clearly shows that there must not be much of a trade market for corner OFs. I’m sure the Rays made that effort before DFA and didn’t get much bite. They may still trade him before the waiver wire but you’d think that would have already taken place if it were going to happen. He does make $6M along with one more additional year control, but other teams apparently don’t like his value at that price, which is somewhat surprising.
    I don’t like him for the Reds.