The Marlins’ signing of outfielder Corey Dickerson to a two-year, $17.5MM deal will not go down as this offseason’s most surprising–in fact, his ultimate guarantee was right in line with MLBTR’s prediction of a two-year, $15MM pact back in November. In terms of context, the deal also sits snugly alongside Kole Calhoun’s signature on a two-year, $16MM deal with Arizona earlier this month.
Dickerson might be called the ideal of a solid regular. He’s not an elite defender, his 2018 Gold Glove notwithstanding, but his facility with the stick has made him a must-start during stints with the Rockies, Rays, Pirates and Phillies since breaking into the league 2013. The thirty-year-old owns a .286/.328/.504 slash line with 115 home runs in nearly 800 career games, with a 117 wRC+ suggesting he’s been nearly 20 percent better than an average hitter since 2013. By the latter metric, he’s performed comparably with players like Starling Marte (117 wRC+) and Francisco Lindor (119 wRC+) over that span.
Dickerson has recorded 2.6 fWAR or better in three separate seasons as a full-timer, despite nagging injuries throughout his career; if he can perform to those levels for the Fish, there should be a lot of excess value in this deal. Of course, Dickerson may not spend his entire tenure with Miami, as the limited term of this deal might make him an attractive trade target at the ’20 and ’21 deadlines, assuming his continued health and Miami’s continuation in a textbook rebuild pattern (perhaps not a safe assumption considering Miami’s similarly savvy Jesus Aguilar and Jonathan Villar pickups this winter).
Dickerson’s signing does also carry a few implications beyond just shoring up Miami’s corner outfield, as his relatively light commitment is further evidence that the ever-heightening AAV peaks achieved by premium performers in recent winters have yet to trickle down in the form of substantive raises for middle-class players. Moreover, Dickerson’s relative merits when pitted against free agents Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos may cast some doubt on the ability of those players to secure truly hefty guarantees before camp breaks.
Regardless, Miami’s signing of Dickerson reads like the move of a team inching its way out of a rebuild by committing a reasonable amount of money to a relatively stable, if imperfect, player in his prime; the club may yet have a few more losing years ahead, but it’s hard to accuse a team of “tanking” when they add players of his caliber.
Let’s open the floor: how do you grade Miami’s Dickerson addition? (Poll link for app users)