Two days ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates made what very well could be their last notable move before Opening Day by bringing in outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
It was a matter of time until the Pittsburgh Pirates brought in a new outfielder. It has been speculated about since the trade that sent Starling Marte to Arizona. The question was who the Bucs would sign, not if they would sign an outfielder. It seemed that their preference was to bring in Kevin Pillar, but lost him to the Boston Red Sox.
After Pillar signed with the Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates acted quickly to find another option. The team signed 35-year-old Jarrod Dyson to a one year deal worth $2 million. Funny enough, the speedy outfielder spent his 2019 season in Arizona, where he continued to play at a high level defensively and swiped 30 bases.
Still, like most defensive first veterans, Dyson remained on the free-agent market for much of the offseason. The left-handed hitter has been a platoon player basically his whole career and saw his splits actually flip last year. Obviously, the market was not robust for him which was confirmed by Dyson receiving a relatively minimal contract.
In fact, even Dyson was not happy with how his offseason market shaped up. Yesterday, Dyson reported to the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida. He met with reported to talk about his thoughts on signing with the team and the upcoming season. Dyson did not exactly seem enthused for the upcoming season telling reporters:
“Ain’t too much out there right now. You would love to explore, but at the same time, you have to take what you can, take the good with the bad and roll with it. Make the most of it.”
The first part of that quote further suggests that the market for Dyson was very limited. Since his signing, it has been reported that the Texas Rangers checked in on Dyson’s availability, but likely were not open to giving him any guaranteed deal. For the Bucs to fill that centerfield spot they likely had to find someone on a major league deal.
Then he talks about how he would love to have continued to explore his options but had to “take what he can.” Would Dyson rather be playing somewhere else? Most likely, why wouldn’t he? The Pittsburgh Pirates had the second-worst record in the National League last year, traded away their best player over the last five years, and still do not have a top of the rotation arm. Meanwhile, Dyson, who won a World Series with the Royals, is 35 years old and likely was hoping to attach to another competitive team.
As he said, he is going to “take the good with the bad and roll with it. Make the most of it”. This is him basically admitting that this was not his ideal landing spot but will try to make the most of it. All that he can do is to go out and play to the best of his ability and good things will happen.
That is what he needs to remember. The Bucs are projected to be one of the worst teams in the National League, and Bob Nutting is to blame for that expectation. However, it is just as much on Dyson as it is the organization. Maybe there would have been better options to explore if he had hit better than .216 last season. Maybe if he performs he will help the team take a step forward and be better than they were last season. If not better, then maybe he would get a chance to be a trade chip at the deadline for a contender looking for a fourth outfield option.
Regardless, Jarrod Dyson is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. He is expected to get a lot of playing time in centerfield and if anything else would provide some stability on defense, especially with the question marks surrounding Gregory Polanco‘s ability in the field. If Dyson thinks he is in a bad situation, then the only way for him to make it a good situation is for him to be better. If he plays well, then it can only lead to good things for both him and the Bucs.