Yes, Blue Jays fans, we’ve got a sighting of a Blue Jays signing. It’s not the bullpen help that we’re looking for but a depth guy for the outfield.
The Blue Jays announced the signing of 32-year-old outfielder Chris Dickerson to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. So who is Chris Dickerson and should we get excited?
Dickerson was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 16th round of the 2003 draft and made his major league debut in 2008, allowing Reds fans to dream on what he might be. He hit a whopping .304/.413/.608 with six home runs in just 122 plate appearances that year and got pretty regular playing time the following season, hitting .275/.370/.373 with 13 doubles, three triples but just two home runs in 299 plate appearances.
That year (2009) was the last year that Dickerson got any more than 112 plate appearances at the major league level as he became a journeyman, playing for Milwaukee, the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles and, last year, the Cleveland Indians.
In 2014, Dickerson was crushing the ball in Triple-A Indianapolis (the Pirates’ International League affiliate), hitting .309/.407/.479 with 15 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 12 stolen bases through 65 games and he was traded to the Cleveland Indians where he played in the big leagues for the rest of the year. With Cleveland, his numbers weren’t nearly as good, posting a .224/.309/.327 slash line in 112 plate appearances.
Dickerson adds another left-handed hitter to the Jays’ minor league roster and, while he he hits for about the same average and OBP against lefties as righties, he’s shown much more power against right-handed pitchers over the course of his big league career, hitting all 17 of his big league home runs against righties.
Dickerson has a little bit of pop and can play all three outfield positions (although he plays more at either corner than in center). UZR seems to like him a lot more in center field and right field than it does in left, with his best position appearing to be in the middle (38.4 UZR/150). That said, he hasn’t played more than 37 innings in center field since 2010 and got the most playing time in left field last year with Cleveland. Could it be that any defensive limitations reveal themselves the more playing time he gets?
Interesting trivia: He hit for the cycle as a member of the Louisville Bats on July 26, 2007.
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