The Chunichi Dragons have signed outfielder Alex Dickerson, according to multiple reports out of Japan (hat tip to Jon Heyman of the New York Post). Dickerson didn’t play in the affiliated minors in 2023, instead playing 115 games with the independent Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, and also 12 games with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.
Dickerson is a veteran of six MLB seasons from 2015-2022, playing in 339 games and hitting .255/.325/.460 over 1001 career plate appearances. The large majority (872) of those plate appearances came against right-handed pitching, even though the lefty-swinging Dickerson’s career splits aren’t too dissimilar, apart from a lot more power against righty pitching.
Injuries have been perhaps the chief reason why the 33-year-old hasn’t been able to carve out a solid niche for himself in the big leagues. Dickerson missed all of the 2017-18 seasons due to back surgery and Tommy John surgery, and he has been a frequent visitor to the injured list several other times in his career. The pandemic-shortened 2020 season was the only “full” season of good health for Dickerson, and he delivered an impressive .298/.371/.576 slash line over 170 PA for the Giants.
Though Dickerson hit very well after being acquired by San Francisco during the 2019 season, his production started to tail off during an injury-marred 2021. The Giants designated him for assignment after the season and he caught on with the Braves, but Dickerson struggled badly in 13 games with Atlanta in April 2022, which marked his last appearances in the major leagues.
Dickerson will now get another international opportunity with the Nagoya-based Dragons, who are looking to reverse their fortunes after struggling for most of the last decade. While Dickerson’s big numbers in the Atlantic League may not necessarily hint at future success in NPB, it seems quite possible that the outfielder might get on track if he can just stay healthy. A successful season with the Dragons might then led to more opportunities in Japan, or perhaps more looks from MLB teams next winter.