Pittsburgh Pirates: What’s Next After Corey Dickerson?


What will the Pittsburgh Pirates third outfield spot look like moving forward?

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded left fielder Corey Dickerson to the Philadelphia Phillies. Moving the team’s Gold Glove winning left fielder opens up a spot in the Pirate outfield. Which raises the question, what’s next for the Pirate outfield?

Bryan Reynolds and Starling Marte have two of the Pirate outfield spots locked down. Reynolds is having one of the best rookie seasons in Pirate history, while Marte is the team’s best player and is having a fine season as well. That said, these two can only play two of the three positions in the outfield.

Meeting with the media on Wednesday, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington pegged utility man Pablo Reyes and outfielder Jason Martin as players that could replace Dickerson on the roster.

The Pirates going with Reyes would be a mistake. Reyes started the season with the Pirates and slashed .128/.190/.128 with a 33.3% strikeout rate in 42 plate appearances before being optioned to the Triple-A level.

During the first month of the season Reyes looked completely over matched. He looked like a hitter that had no business being on a MLB roster, and the Pirates going back to Reyes here would be a mistake.

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Another name Huntington mentioned was outfielder Jason Martin. This season Martin has had two stints with the Pirates. In 39 MLB plate appearances Martin owns a .250/.308/.306 slash line with a 66 wRC+.

While Martin has struggled in his MLB at bats this season, he would be a better option than Reyes. Martin has flashed the tools needed to be a MLB outfielder, even if it’s just as a fourth outfielder. So, it is worth giving him a look to see if he can be counted on as a key piece in 2020 and beyond.

Martin could be a good fourth outfielder at the MLB level, however, he is not the answer in the open outfield spot either. The Pirates should do one of two things. They should either promote Will Craig to play right field, or move Adam Frazier to right field to start Cole Tucker at shortstop with Kevin Newman at second base.

In my opinion, Tucker is still the team’s future at shortstop. He is a better hitter than he showed during his first MLB call up this season, and before being demoted he appeared to be figuring things out offensively (he was 8-for-23 with two walks and five doubles in his final 25 plate appearances before being demoted), and he is a Gold Glove caliber shortstop.

As for Craig, the former first round pick has 20 home runs and a .206 ISO this season for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. This comes after Craig slugged 20 home runs with a .200 ISO for Double-A Altoona in 2018.

There is also Melky Cabrera. The veteran is a player the Pirates should have moved at the trade deadline, but they failed to do so. Even though he is still on the roster, the Pirates should not bep looming Cabrera every day. With free agency looming, Cabrera will not be here in 2020. Due to this, he should serve primarily in a bench role.

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With Dickerson now in Philly, the Pirates have an opportunity to give a young hitter or two an extended look in the final two months of the season. Hopefully, they handle this correctly and give those at bats to a player that could help the team in 2020 and beyond.