The Marlins announced today that they have inked outfielder Corey Dickerson to a two-year deal, as had previously been reported. Righty Austin Brice was designated for assignment to create roster space.
Dickerson is a well-established hitter who can reasonably be expected to turn in above-average work with the bat. He’s best utilized in a platoon capacity but will presumably be given more opportunities against left-handed pitching in Miami than he would’ve received elsewhere. A surprise defensive darling in 2018, Dickerson graded poorly with the glove last year. The Fish will likely be pleased if they receive palatable fielding.
This signing is the clearest indication that the Marlins want to begin moving in a positive direction in the win/loss column. There’s no real hope of a 2020 surprise, as the organization still lags in present-day MLB ability, but there’s obviously a belief that its worth making some targeted investments — and, perhaps, that Dickerson could be a part of a charge in 2021.
At the same time, the Marlins will part with yet another young pitcher. They’ve already designated Tayron Guerrero, Tyler Kinley, and Kyle Keller earlier in the offseason. Every one of those arms landed on another 40-man roster via trade or claim.
There could also be interest from other organizations in the 27-year-old Brice, who has already bounced around a bit. He’s fresh off of his most successful MLB stint yet, having provided the Marlins with 44 2/3 innings of 3.43 ERA ball in 2019. Brice reduced the usage of his sinker in favor of his curve and four-seamer, resulting in a boost in strikeouts (9.3 K/9) but also a reduction in groundball induction (42.2%). Statcast figures suggest Brice was successfully able to induce poor contact when he did allow it (.292 wOBA vs. .293 xwOBA), but fielding-independent metrics still weren’t sold on the results (4.87 FIP, 4.79 xFIP, 4.24 SIERA) due in no small part to ongoing home run issues (1.41 per nine).
Unfortunately, Brice also dealt with forearm issues that scuttled his season. His current health situation isn’t really known, but it stands to reason that the Marlins were somewhat less than optimistic about its impact on his outlook.