Extending Corey Dickerson Has Become A Priority
By Marty Leap
Reaching a contract extension with outfielder Corey Dickerson has quickly become a top priority for the Pittsburgh Pirates
When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Corey Dickerson in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in March he appeared to be a stopgap until outfield prospect Austin Meadows arrived in the Major Leagues. In late May Meadows arrived in the Pittsburgh, proved he belonged in the Major Leagues, and he had appeared to solidify his long term spot in the Pirate outfield.
In baseball things can change in a flash. After another trade with the Rays the Pirates’ plans have changed. Meadows is now in Tampa Bay, Chris Archer is now a Pirate, and reaching a contract extension with Dickerson has become a priority for the Pirates.
Dickerson remains under team control through next season through arbitration. This undoubtedly played a role in the team’s willingness to surrender Meadows in the Archer trade.
How well Dickerson has played this season is a factor, too. Dickerson’s .341 on-base percentage is the second highest of his career, his 12.3% strikeout rate is a career low, and his .517 slugging percentage is his highest since 2015.
Prior to going on the disabled list last week, Dickerson owned a 2.4 fWAR. This put him on pace for a for a 4.3 fWAR over the course of a full season which would almost double his previous career best of 2.8.
Earlier this season Dickerson expressed an interest in being in Pittsburgh long term. He has mentioned on multiple occasions how much he enjoys the Pirate clubhouse and has called it the best clubhouse he has ever been a part of.
The rest of the Pirate outfield is set in stone for at least three more seasons. Starling Marte remains under team control through 2021 and Gregory Polanco through 2023, this leaves just Dickerson’s left field spot as the lone outfield spot not locked up past next season.
Getting an extension done with Dickerson does not need to happen now, but it does need to be a top priority for Neal Huntington and the Pirates. And the team’s willingness to trade Meadows would seem to indicate they are confident a deal can be reached.