The Marlins are finalizing a two-year deal with free-agent outfielder Corey Dickerson, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The contract will pay the 30-year-old $17.5MM over the next two years, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The deal is pending a physical.
In adding Dickerson, the Marlins have done well to fill a big need in the corner outfield, a vacancy they sought to address with one of Dickerson, Kole Calhoun, or Yasiel Puig. With Calhoun latching on with the Diamondbacks, it was reported this morning that the Fish were focusing their efforts on Dickerson rather than Puig, who’s undeniably a bigger name but whose offensive production veered in the wrong direction last year. Dickerson also adds a lefty bat to a lineup that’s otherwise heavy on right-handers; second baseman Isan Diaz is the only other projected starter who’s a true lefty.
Dickerson has a Gold Glove to his name, but if advanced metrics are to be believed, that caliber of performance is the exception, not the rule, with Dickerson, who was credited with saving 16 runs in left field in 2018—in all other years, he’s been worth -14 DRS. His calling card is his above-average offensive output; he’s been pretty consistently good at the plate since 2017, posting a wRC+ of at least 115 (15 percent better than average) in each of the last three seasons.
The addition of Dickerson is the latest in a series of solid additions for a Marlins team that finished with baseball’s third-worst record in 2019. They already nabbed Jesus Aguilar and Jonathan Villar earlier this month, claiming the former on waivers and the trading for the latter after the Orioles designated him for assignment. Veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli, signed last week, is another significant addition. They’re by no means dominating the offseason storylines by bringing in a handful of low-risk players, but these look like savvy acquisitions for a rebuilding club that has now overhauled one-third of its starting lineup.
Targeting the likes of Aguilar, Villar, Cervelli, and Dickerson on short-term contracts does no harm to the Marlins’ long-term financial outlook and figures to only help the team remain competitive in 2020. At the very least, acquisitions like this represent potential trade chips for a club that might still be a couple years away; still, these moves shouldn’t simply be dismissed as such.
Dickerson should slot in as Miami’s everyday left fielder, with Brian Anderson in the other outfield corner. Lewis Brinson might have another crack at the center field job, but he’ll be on a short leash after a rough couple of seasons. Interestingly, Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports even suggests that Villar could be in the mix for that center field position. He’s played the position only sparingly in his career and hasn’t done so in a game since 2017, but few will question whether he has the speed to patrol the spacious outfield of Marlins Park.