How much longer will Corey Dickerson be here? Phillies gotta bring this guy back

How much longer will Corey Dickerson be here? Phillies gotta bring this guy back

Corey Dickerson has been one helluva pickup for the Phillies, probably the best in-season addition GM Matt Klentak has made the last two years.

The question is how long will the soon-to-be free agent be a Phillie?

Let’s rewind to last week. Had the Phils not blown that seven-run lead Friday night in Miami, the main talking point coming off of the road trip would have been the offense in general and Dickerson's heroics in particular.

Dickerson helped offset the loss of Bryce Harper to paternity leave by driving in seven runs in the first two games of the Marlins series. A game prior, Dickerson hit a two-run triple at Fenway.

The Phillies returned home this week and in Game 1 against the Pirates, Dickerson hit a two-run homer on a high-and-tight pitch that was not a strike. He’s become an even more well-rounded hitter by eliminating a previous susceptibility to high fastballs.

In Game 2 of the Pirates series, he doubled and scored the Phillies’ first run before driving in the second with a single.

In Game 3, he hit another homer.

In less than a month, Dickerson has made his presence felt, showing the Phillies how helpful his skill set can be. In 21 games, he has driven in 23 runs. He has 23 hits and 13 have gone for extra bases.

He does not go up to the plate looking to take to a full count or walk. He wants to swing and to drive the ball. He should keep doing so. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper are so selective at the plate that it can pay dividends to have a more free-swinging slugger in the middle of the order. We saw it in June with Jay Bruce and have seen it in August with Dickerson, who is slugging .585 with the Phillies and .565 overall this season.

If you're the Phillies, you'd love to keep a 30-year-old player who can hit and may even be ascending. But can you?

The Phillies will enter 2020 with Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Bruce under contract. Roman Quinn (out of options) and Adam Haseley will still be under club control. Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams are on the periphery. Is there enough room in the outfield for Dickerson? 

The tempting answer is that even if there is not enough room, the Phillies should still re-sign Dickerson because he's that good a hitter. He’s been one of the best in baseball this season against right-handed pitching, hitting .317 with a .616 slugging percentage.

Other teams see that. Other teams recognize that. Other teams will offer Dickerson an opportunity to play every day and do more than platoon.

Looking around the league at comparable hitters and recent contracts, Dickerson seems like a candidate for a two- or three-year deal in the vicinity of $12 million to 15 million per year. Similar to Daniel Murphy and D.J. LeMahieu last offseason. Maybe Dickerson gets more, depending on how the market moves. The difference in the contracts of Andrew McCutchen and Michael Brantley this past offseason illustrate that timing can be everything.

If Dickerson’s market does develop quickly — who doesn’t need a .290-hitting outfielder with power? — it could complicate things. Last offseason, the Phillies had to wait for months before they could acquire J.T. Realmuto and sign Harper. If they, for example, strongly pursue Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole this offseason, that could prevent them from striking an earlier deal with Dickerson or players in his tier.

One thing the Phillies should not do is let Bruce's contract status affect their decision-making with Dickerson. Yes, Bruce will be under contract for 2020 and yes, he can still have productive stretches, but he will also be 33 and coming off a season that involved two injuries that kept him off the field for the bulk of the summer. Bruce's ideal role next season would be the role the Phillies acquired him to play: power threat off the bench.

Haseley and Quinn have had their moments this season but neither has yet solidified himself as an everyday starter in the majors. It is not a knock on either player to say that Dickerson is simply better. 

Dickerson’s value is increased by his ability to hit all over the batting order, as evidenced Wednesday. His pop and success with runners in scoring position make him an ideal middle-of-the-order bat but he can also lead off because of his contact skills and decent wheels.

He’s a pure hitter. He’d fit into any lineup. Unless the Phillies have their sights set on an even bigger fish to come in to help this offense, they should re-sign Dickerson to a two- or three-year deal. These guys don’t grow on trees. 

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Best pranks in Philly sports history

Best pranks in Philly sports history

You know what we miss about live sports? The games. The competition. The unknown outcomes. Absolutely all of that. But also all of the shenanigans that go on before and after the games.

Our favorite goofy players having a gag with each other is just fun. We miss it. So in honor of today being April 1, we put together a fun video featuring some of the greatest pranks in Philly sports history.

One of the more elaborate pranks in recent memory is when the Phillies players convinced pitcher Kyle Kendrick he had been traded to Japan. You all likely remember that.

But do you remember when Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn messed with Manute Bol or when John Kruk and Ed Wade got Chase Utley after the rookie got his first big league it?

Throw in a little Fletcher Cox / Chris Long Twitter trolling for good measure and you've got yourself some of the best pranks in Philly sports history. What were your favorite Philly sports related pranks?


Still in awe of this crazy Jimmy Rollins accomplishment over a decade later

Still in awe of this crazy Jimmy Rollins accomplishment over a decade later

Our classic Phillies game re-airs continue tonight with the final regular-season game of the 2007 season, a 6-1 Phillies win over the Nationals that wrestled the NL East crown away from the Mets, who had famously held a 7-game lead in the division with 17 to play.

The Phillies were abruptly swept in the NLDS by the Rockies but prior to that, they were on fire. From Sept. 13 through the end of the regular season, the Phils went 13-4 and the Mets went 5-12.

Jimmy Rollins, who began that season by calling the Phillies "the team to beat" in the NL East despite their 14-year playoff drought, finished it by winning NL MVP. Rollins had a storybook season with his bat, with his glove, with his legs and with his mouth.

One of the most unique accomplishments in Phillies history was achieved by Rollins late in that 6-1 win we're re-airing Wednesday night. Jimmy always had a flair for the dramatic, as these memorable moments illustrate.

Sitting on 777 plate appearances for the season, Rollins stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Phillies were winning, there might be no bottom of the ninth and you figured it was likely going to be his final trip to the dish. Rollins needed one more triple to become only the fourth player in baseball history with at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.

As Rollins reached the batter's box for that 778th plate appearance — still a big-league record — the only thing on the minds of Phillies fans watching was the hope that Jimmy would finish the job and hit that triple.

If you watch baseball, you understand that a player can't go to the plate trying to hit a triple. Triples are about solid contact, fortunate placement, speed and aggressiveness. Last season, for example, players hit a triple in just one of every 250 plate appearances. There were about 11 times more doubles and nine times as many home runs.

Ridiculously, impossibly, Rollins hit that 20th triple in his last plate appearance of the season.

In the history of baseball, the only players to achieve this feat were Rollins and Curtis Granderson in 2007, Willie Mays in 1957 and Frank Schulte in 1911. It's so random that it happened twice in the same season after occurring just once in the previous 94 years and not at all since.

The Phillies, who won the division by one game in '07, needed absolutely everything Rollins gave them that season. None of these were empty-calorie stats. 

Many Phils fans will remember the fateful four-game home series against the Mets Aug. 27-30 that summer, a four-game sweep for the Phillies that made a division crown actually feel realistic. Beginning with that series, Rollins hit .335 over his final 34 games with 6 doubles, 5 triples, 8 homers, 22 RBI, 31 runs scored and 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts. The Phillies went 23-11.

"The triple — I was stuck on 19 for a while," Rollins said years ago. "Milt Thompson (the hitting coach) was saying, 'You'll get it on your last at-bat, a little drama.' I was like, 'Of all guys, (Luis) Ayala,' because I never hit him. 

"The count was 3-and-2 and I said to myself, 'Don't be dumb. He's going to throw a slider, sit on it.' He threw it. I knew Austin Kearns was in right field and he could throw but I went for it. I remember going hard into [Ryan] Zimmerman. If I didn't go for it, I would have been upset. The crowd was just incredible that day."

Rollins was just incredible that season. He narrowly beat out Matt Holliday for NL MVP in one of the closest votes ever. Rollins received 79% of voting points to Holliday's 75%. Holliday had better offensive numbers (he hit .376 at Coors Field that year) but Rollins had the better story and the better all-around season.

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