Should the Pirates pursue Jarrod Dyson?

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Jarrod Dyson
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Jarrod Dyson /

Could a former Royal and Mariner outfielder fit in Pittsburgh as the Pirates’ fourth outfielder?

At last week’s Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington said the team would like to add a fourth outfielder. In a perfect world the Pirates would prefer Jordan Luplow start the year playing every day at the Triple-A level instead of as the Pirates’ fourth outfielder.

One player that is a potential fit for the Pirates as a fourth outfielder is veteran Jarrod Dyson. The 33-year-old Dyson has spent the seven years of his career with the Kansas City Royals before playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2017.

Earlier in the off-season, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that the Pirates would sign Jarrod Dyson to a two-year $12 million contract. While, personally, I do not believe the Pirates need a true fourth outfielder due to Luplow and Adam Frazier, the team seems to feel differently. So the Bucs paying $6 million a year to someone like Dyson would make sense.

Jarrod Dyson has been known for two things in his career – speed and defense. While he owns just a .325 on-base percentage, .352 slugging percentage, a .299 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 86 in his career, he owns a lifetime fWAR of 14.8. Ever since becoming a full-time Major League player in 2012 Dyson has had a fWAR of at least 1.4 each of past six seasons. This includes a pair of 3.0+ fWAR seasons (2014 and 2016), and a big reason for this is his defense.

During his Major League career Jarrod Dyson has played all three outfield positions. He owns a +7 defensive runs saved (DRS) in right field, +13 in left field, and whopping +55 DRS in center field. So, Dyson, when necessary, would be more than capable of manning the spacious left field of PNC Park.

As mentioned above, speed is also a big part of Jarrod Dyson’s game. He has 204 career stolen bases in 661 games. He has stolen at least 30 bases four times, and his career-low since becoming a Major League regular is 26.

If a team is going to have a true fourth outfielder (someone who plays solely the outfield and not OF/INF like Adam Frazier or Sean Rodriguez) the best tool that player can have is excellent defense. To say Jarrod Dyson plays excellent defense would be putting it lightly. So, on paper, he would seem like a great fit for the Pirates as a fourth outfielder.

Although, an argument can be made that the Pirate bench is best constructed without a true outfielder to maximize player versatility the bench production. But that is a discussion for another day.

Next: A look at Rule 5 pick Jordan Milbrath

If the Pittsburgh Pirates believe they need to add a fourth outfielder then Jarrod Dyson would be a great fit. He would bring a veteran presence, postseason experience, and excellent defense to the Bucs. Dyson may be a name worth monitoring as the off-season continues.