Could Corey Dickerson and the Phillies Reunite in 2020?
The one offensive addition at the July 31 trade deadline was outfielder Corey Dickerson. Dickerson immediately brought some much-needed offense to the Phillies. But after we learned Tuesday that Dickerson would be lost for the season, the burning question is whether or not Dickerson might be a fit on the 2020 Phillies roster.
The Phillies have plenty of outfield options. Of course the Phillies have Bryce Harper firmly implanted in right field. Then there is Andrew McCutchen, signed for two more years. Center field has three names that are still around: Roman Quinn, Adam Haseley, and Odubel Herrera.
I think that is is more than fair to say that Haseley has earned an opportunity to compete for the center field job. Haseley was far down the depth chart, but joined the Phillies out of necessity after Herrera's arrest, the release of Aaron Altherr, and an injury to Roman Quinn. Haseley has shown he belongs.
Herrera's status is rather unknown. The Phillies could attempt to buy him out of his contract, but they must proceed with caution, so as not to appear to be giving Herrera a second punishment. The Phillies could be forced to bring him to Spring Training. Having Herrera around could complicate a Dickerson return.
Jay Bruce remains signed for one more season. The left-handed outfield and first base option has not been able to play the field since returning from an elbow injury. Bruce probably will get some designated hitter at bats this weekend in Cleveland. As a left-handed bench bat, would he make Dickerson redundant?
Outfielder Nick Williams has been on the Phillies active roster since September 2. Today is September 19 and Williams has not been used since September 2. This suggests he has fallen out of favor with the Phillies and probably is not going to stand in the way of Dickerson.
The good news is that rosters will expand to 26 players this season. Pitchers will be capped at 13, so the Phillies will have room for an extra bat. With McCutchen and Quinn's injury history, the Phillies could easily find themselves in need of another outfielder. But are Dickerson's injuries going to give teams pause?
At first glance, the Phillies might not want to commit a large salary to Dickerson in an outfield that has expensive options in left field and right field. But Dickerson's price could come down because of said injury concerns. Dickerson played just 78 games in 2019. At 30 years old, other teams might not want to give a large contract.
A Phillies outfield of McCutchen in left field, Haseley in center field, and Harper in right field could use Dickerson as a left-handed option in left, or, because he hits lefties well, provide an alternative to Haseley in the outfield. One big question would be if McCutchen can play some center field as he has 15 times in 2019.
If the Phillies carry six outfielders - McCutchen, Haseley, Quinn, Harper, Bruce and Dickerson, they would need to have a right-handed utility infielder to be their lone back-up infielder and right-handed bench bat. Scott Kingery filled that role in 2019.
Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez have iffy futures with the club, though both are under team control. The Phillies could add a veteran third baseman with the idea Alec Bohm eventually takes third base, making that player a utility player.
Dickerson joined the Phillies while many were lost to injury. If he returns, it will create a log-jam of sorts. Can we assume the Phillies find a way to move on from Herrera? After that: would the Phillies let Bruce go to keep Dickerson? That might be the choice they have to make in constructing the roster.
In summary, there are many considerations here. The first is the status of Herrera. The second is whether McCutchen can play some center field. The third is whether the Phillies can carry Dickerson and Bruce on the roster, including whether Bruce could be moved to create space. Finally, the contract Dickerson gets will make a difference.
A lot needs to happen, but I think the Phillies like Dickerson if the opportunity presents itself. If he returns, I could see it being a late-offseason signing after a few dominoes fall. But do not count on it.