Blue Jays Sign Chris Dickerson to Minors Deal
The Blue Jays have added a piece to their outfield situation. They’ve signed Chris Dickerson to minor league deal. He’ll also get an invitation to big league camp.
Dickerson is an interesting addition to the mix of shallow outfield depth for the Blue Jays. He’ll enter camp competing for the role of 4th outfielder with the likes of Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Caleb Gindl. Up until recently, that list would have included Andy Dirks. But, he’s been removed from the competition until he can fully recover form his back issues. Among this list of names, one would have to think that Pillar holds the inside track.
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However, Dickerson is no stranger to having to fight his way through rosters. The 2000 32nd round pick has seen time up and down with the Reds, Brewers, Yankees, Orioles and as of last season, the Pirates and Indians. Signed on a MiLB deal by the Pirates, he was later traded to the Indians in July. With the Pirates, he played 65 games at AAA hitting .309/.407/.479. When the Indians used him in 41 games at the big league level, he didn’t exactly continue that success. He hit just .224/.309/.327.
Dickerson brings a left handed bat that could help out this right handed heavy lineup should the need arise. Throughout his minor league career, he’s shown the ability to steal bases, but has not been able to translate that into big numbers at the big league level. That may have more to do with the fact that he’s not been able to sustain regular playing time at this level. The most action he’s seen was 97 games in 2009 for the Reds.
Dickerson is a capable defender and has seen time at all three outfield spots. His glove has earned him decent enough numbers as he’s been worth a total of 16 DRS over his big league career. His best position is CF, where he’s put up a career 38.4 UZR/150. His ability to handle each spot in the outfield may prove to be quite useful to this club moving forward.
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With a group that includes Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders, Dalton Pompey and (probably) Kevin Pillar, it is likely that this minor league deal will have Dickerson playing in Rogers Centre this season. There are ample question marks surrounding the depth of this outfield. Can Dalton Pompey handle the everyday job? What happens if he struggles? What happens if/when Michael Saunders is injured? Or, (dare I say it?) Jose Bautista. What happens if Kevin Pillar continues to struggle at the big league level? Dickerson provides experienced insurance.
Having said all of this, the signing of Dickerson may be more about filling organizational depth at the AAA level. There seems to be a bit of a gap between the big league names mentioned above and the next wave of outfield talent like Dwight Smith Jr. So, while Dickerson could fill in if needed, this move is more about adding depth in the minors. However, he’ll be there if they need him. And, on a minor league deal, there is no worry about options remaining. So, there’s that.