MLB trade deadline: Phillies acquire Corey Dickerson from Pirates

MLB trade deadline: Phillies acquire Corey Dickerson from Pirates

Update: 3:44 p.m.

The Phillies agreed to a deal with the Pirates shortly before Wednesday's trade deadline to acquire corner outfielder Corey Dickerson, a legitimately good hitter who will help their lineup and will help their bench. The Phillies will send international signing money and a player to be named later to Pittsburgh.

To make room for Dickerson on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated Dylan Cozens for assignment.

Dickerson, 30, was hitting .317 with a .931 OPS for the Pirates. He had 18 doubles and four homers in just 141 plate appearances.

A left-handed hitter, Dickerson has hit .293 the last three seasons with an .823 OPS. He spent much of this season on the injured list, sidelined by a right shoulder issue.

He's been on fire in the month of July, hitting .328 with a .391 OBP. He's a left-handed hitter who does most of his damage against righties, but 70 percent of starting pitchers are righties so that is the preferable platoon split to have.

Over the last two seasons, Dickerson has slugged .519 against righties, more than 30 points higher than Bryce Harper. His .303 battting average against righties since the start of 2018 is fourth-best in the majors among lefties, behind only Christian Yelich, Michael Brantley and Freddie Freeman.

Dickerson will fit well into the 5- or 6-spot in the Phillies' lineup while Jay Bruce recovers from an oblique strain, and once Bruce returns, either he or Dickerson would become the top bat off the bench. Dickerson is the better and more well-rounded hitter. Regardless of which left-handed hitting corner outfielder sees more reps, it will be an overall improvement to the Phillies' offense. Dickerson could also hit first or second for the Phillies.

The Phillies figure to move Scott Kingery to third base, play Adam Haseley in center field and Dickerson in left and off the bench. Maikel Franco would likely be the odd man out and serve as more of a pinch-hitter.

Dickerson is owed just under $3 million the rest of this season before becoming a free agent.

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At the Yard podcast: So many questions about Phillies free agency


At the Yard podcast: So many questions about Phillies free agency

The Phillies free agency questions have been pouring in this offseason and Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman answered some on Monday's At the Yard podcast.

• Does MLB need a free agency deadline?

• Notable early signings last year

• Who will close?

• Future outlook for Aaron Nola

• Astros sign stealing

• What would make 2020 a success for Phillies?

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Phillies free-agent target: Gerrit Cole

Phillies free-agent target: Gerrit Cole

Leading up to baseball’s winter meetings, we will take a daily look at some of the game’s top free agents and how they could potentially impact the Phillies.

We start with pitcher Gerrit Cole, who is bound to sign a record-setting contract.

The vitals

The powerful 29-year-old right-hander and former No. 1 overall draft pick (by Pittsburgh in 2011) is the unquestioned prize of this winter’s free-agent class. He has built an impressive career resume, especially recently. He is 35-10 with 2.68 ERA and 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 65 starts over the last two seasons for the Houston Astros. He is durable and postseason tested. He went 20-5 with an American League-best 2.50 ERA in 33 starts in 2019. He had an 0.895 WHIP and led the majors with 326 strikeouts. For the season, his fastball averaged 97.1 mph, according to Statcast. Only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard chucked it harder at 98.1 mph. 

Why he fits

Because he’s one of the best pitchers in the game and would immediately make the Phillies better as they try to live up to general manager Matt Klentak’s goal of winning now. Cole would give the Phils an ace who could stand up to Max Scherzer in Washington, Jacob deGrom in New York and the lineup in Atlanta. As an unquestioned No. 1, he’d take pressure off Aaron Nola, who felt some down the stretch in 2019.

Why he doesn’t fit

“If this were major-league Christmas, we would be looking at 30 stockings that clearly wanted a lump of Cole,” agent Scott Boras said of his client as the market opened last week.

The competition for Cole will be intense as teams from the game’s largest markets bid for his services. Cole is from Southern California and word is the Los Angeles Angels are ready to back up the truck for him. The mega-rich New York Yankees also want him. That sets up a nirvana-like situation for Boras, who can play the two markets off each other. The Phillies will be in on Cole — they’ve already touched base with Boras — and they cannot be counted out because they have money and an owner willing to spend. However, given what it might take to sign Cole, the Phillies might be better off spreading their money around and trying to fill multiple holes in the rotation and lineup.

The price tag

Cole is right in the middle of his prime years. There has been speculation that he could fetch $300 million in a long-term deal. He almost surely will eclipse David Price’s $217 million deal with Boston, a record for a pitcher, and could top Justin Verlander’s annual salary of $33 million, also a record for a pitcher. In other words, he’ll be expensive.

Scout’s take

“It took a while, but it looks like he found out how good his stuff is and his success has given him great confidence. He really knows how to utilize that great fastball high in the strike zone.”

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