Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays acquire Corey Dickerson from Rockies for Jake McGee

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays found the left-handed power bat they were seeking in acquiring Corey Dickerson from the Rockies on Thursday. But they were left with a hole in their bullpen after giving up Jake McGee and a major question, at least for now, of how their restructured lineup will fit together.

McGee, who was likely to be traded sometime during or after this season, and right-handed pitching prospect German Marquez were swapped for Dickerson and 19-year-old third-base prospect Kevin Padlo.

The Rays also made official the signing of first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce, who got $4.75 million on a one-year deal. (Because Marquez was on the 40-man roster, the Rays didn't have to make another move.)

The deals give the Rays a glut of outfield/DH/first-base candidates, but baseball operations president Matt Silverman said the upgrade to a more dynamic, powerful and "intimidating" offense and the additional depth/injury protection were valuable given their past struggles.

"It's hard to predict how it's going to actually turn out," Silverman said late Thursday, "but having this group gives us a lot of confidence that we're going to score the runs that we need to this year."

In Dickerson, the Rays get a 26-year-old left-handed slugger with 30-homer potential who is four years from free agency. He is coming off an injury shortened 2015 season (plantar fasciitis, broken ribs) in which he hit .304 with an .869 on-base plus slugging percentage in 65 games. In 2014, his first full season in the majors, he hit .312 with a 24 homers, 76 RBIs and a .931 OPS.

"Dickerson is an established major-league hitter," Silverman said. "He has great bat-to-ball skills, he's got power and he can be a middle-of-the-lineup bat for us. … He's the kind of player that can step in and make an immediate impact and also be a part of our longer-term future. … A hitter like him is someone that is oftentimes hard to come by, and we felt like it was too much to pass up in this case."

But, like with other players who spend half their time playing in the Denver altitude, there are questions about how Dickerson will perform elsewhere, given a staggering split between his OPS of 1.085 at home and .685 on the road.

"We've done our homework, and we believe in the skill set that Corey has and that it will translate to our ballpark and really play in any ballpark in the whole league," Silverman said.

Dickerson said he was "shocked" to be traded but "definitely overwhelmed with excitement" to join what he said looks to be a "very good" Rays team.

He joins projected starters Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. and backup Brandon Guyer in a crowded outfield. Pearce joins also-added Logan Morrison and incumbent James Loney at first base, with the DH spot also open.

Silverman acknowledged that if all stay healthy, "we probably have one too many" and said trade talks remain "active." But he also said the Rays plan to take the current group to camp and see how it works out, knowing there are usually issues and they have extraordinary depth. If all are healthy, Loney seems most likely to go, and perhaps Jennings, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.

McGee, 29, had heard enough rumors that he expected to be traded but assumed since a deal hadn't happened by now, he would at least start the season with the Rays. "It was kind of a shock to us, but we knew it was part of the business and it was probably going to happen eventually," McGee said.

Having been in the organization since 2004, the hard-throwing lefty said "it will be sad to leave the Rays because I've made so many friends. … I was really fortunate to be here this long."

In saving McGee's $4.8 million salary (which evens out the addition of Pearce), Silverman admitted there was now "a big hole" in the pen, leaving Brad Boxberger as the primary closer and no clear option for the eighth-inning role.

Noting McGee's reliability, Silverman said the move "requires a couple of guys stepping up," mentioning righties Alex Colome, Steve Geltz and Danny Farquhar plus lefties Xavier Cedeno and Enny Romero.

Marquez, 20, was added to the 40-man roster in November after going 7-13 with a 3.56 ERA for advanced Class A Charlotte. Padlo, 19, is a 2014 fifth-round pick who split his first full pro season between short season Boise and low Class A Asheville, hitting .257 with 11 homers, 53 RBIs and an .819 OPS.

Pearce, a 32-year-old Lakeland native, is also coming off an injury-shortened 2015 season (.218, 15 homers, 40 RBIs, .711 OPS) after a strong 2014, when he hit .293 with 21 homers, 49 RBIs and a .930 OPS.

Around the majors

ASTROS ADD STARTER: Right-hander Doug Fister was impressed by what he perceived as Houston's will to win.

"The choice to come here is driven from the top down," Fister said after agreeing to a $7 million, one-year contract. "We're trying to win a World Series here, and that's your ultimate goal. That's why you come to the ballpark every day."

Fister, 31, was 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 15 starts and 10 relief appearances last season for the Nationals.

ELSEWHERE: Minor-league outfielder Rymer Liriano, a former top prospect in the Padres organization, was traded to the Brewers for minor-league left-handed reliever Trevor Seidenberger. … Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is targeting opening day to return from offseason shoulder surgery. Brantley had an operation to repair a small tear on his non-throwing shoulder in November. … Right-hander Ivan Nova and the Yankees agreed to a $4.1 million, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.

OBITUARY: Walt Williams, an outfielder who played for four teams in the 1960s and '70s and was best known for his nickname "No Neck," died Saturday of a heart attack in Abilene, Texas. He was 72.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at Follow @ TBTimes_Rays.

. fast facts

Corey Dickerson

Age: 26

Height/weight: 6-1; 205

Bats: Left Throws: Right

Background: Native Mississippian, born in McComb, went to high school in Brookhaven and community college in Meridian. … Passed on offer from Mississippi State to go pro.

Pro career: Eighth-round pick in 2010. … Made MLB debut 6/22/13. … Led Rockies with 24 HRs and 57 extra-base hits in 2014 in first full big-league season.

Can he hit away from Coors Field?

Dickerson's career splits:


Lining up

Recent moves give the Rays depth, even a glut, of starting candidates at some positions:

1B: James Loney, Logan Morrison, Steve Pearce

2B: Logan Forsythe

SS: Brad Miller

3B: Evan Longoria

LF: Corey Dickerson, Desmond Jennings

CF: Kevin Kiermaier

RF: Steven Souza Jr.

C: Curt Casali, Hank Conger/Rene Rivera

DH: Dickerson, Morrison, Pearce, Souza

Rays acquire Corey Dickerson from Rockies for Jake McGee 01/28/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant

    Last season: 28-4

    This week: Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

    Plant High outside hitter Camryn Vogler (1) hits the ball over the net past St. Thomas Aquinas outside hitter Kirsten Klos (10) during the Class 8A state volleyball final between Plant High and St. Thomas Aquinas at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. St. Thomas beat Plant High 3-0.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Key roster battles


    Greg Auman looks ahead to tonight's third episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," and talks about key roster battles that could shift with the Bucs' third preseason game Saturday night against the Browns on our …

    Bucs running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) is hit by middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) while running the ball during training camp. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Rays series preview: Who are the Blue Jays?


    Last week, the Rays faced the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre, dropping three of four. This week, they'll play three games at Tropicana Field. Here's the information you need to know about Toronto before the action kicks off.

    Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit four home runs in as many games against the Rays last week.
  4. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...


    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. 5 miles and a lot of emotion between Sickles, Alonso


    TAMPA — From one campus to another, the distance between Sickles and Alonso high schools is 5.4 miles.

    New Alonso coach Reggie Crume spent three years at Palm Harbor University, so he knows a little something about neighborhood rivalries. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)