Rays Deal Corey Dickerson To Pirates, Optics Were Bad But Necessary

Dickerson Dealt To Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The Tampa Bay Rays traded Corey Dickerson to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for reliever Daniel Hudson, minor league infielder Tristan Gray, and cash.

The Rays designated for assignment Corey Dickerson on Saturday night after acquiring C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later.

A few items of note. First of all, Dickerson was due $5.95MM in salary for 2018. Since he is still in his arbitration years, his salary is non-guaranteed. Meaning, if the Rays were to release him they would either owe him 30-day termination pay (in this case) or 45-day termination pay (if released at a later date).

The second variable is that the Rays under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement had 7-days to either trade Dickerson or place him through waivers. If he had cleared waivers he would have received the termination pay from the Rays and been a free agent.

“We knew at some point with some of the left-handed hitting outfielders we had that something was likely going to have to give there.” Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Erik Neander said. “With the market and how many guys were out there we felt the best way to try and accomplish something was to put a timer on it and expedite the process” Adding that the move was “exceptionally difficult” and “something frankly Corey didn’t deserve in that way.”

Neander just felt that there was enough interest in Dickerson and that rather than have the pending transaction over the team and Dickerson’s head all spring, it would be best to get the clock started, even if the optics were bad. “At the end of the day, despite the look of it, the head scratching, the things that happened up front I believe this was something that gave Corey the best opportunity to land the best role for him as he moves forward.”

Daniel Hudson is in the second year of a 2-year $11MM deal and is due to make $5.5MM this season. Last year with Pittsburgh he appeared in a career high 71-games posting a 2-7 mark with a 4.38 ERA.  He started out poorly but finished strong posting a 3.43 ERA (15-ER/39.1-IP) while holding the opposition to a .211 batting average.

“Hudson is an accomplished major league pitcher. Someone who last winter, being the 2016-2017 winter, that we pursued. This is a player that we’ve liked for some time and like some of the ingredients he has.” Neander said. “It’s a hard thing to say with a veteran guy but somebody that we think has some stuff in the tank that we might be able to help tweak and maybe give a different look and see what happens.
The expectation is that he’s going to be in camp competing for a spot. At this point, nothing is going to be handed to him. This is going to be a wide open competition and we’re going to do the best we can to help him – to see if there are some things we can do to help him.”

To off-set some of Hudson’s salary, the Pirates sent $1MM to the Rays. Overall, the Rays trimmed their roster by $1.45MM with the deal. But they also pick up an intriguing prospect in Tristan Gray.

Gray, was selected by the Pirates in the 13th round of the 2017 June Draft out of Rice University.  He hit .269/.329/.486 (56-for-208) with 12 doubles, six triples, seven home runs and 37 RBI in 53 games with Short-A West Virginia. He appeared in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game and was named the game’s Top Star after going 2-for-2 with a solo homer and RBI single. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in the New York-Penn League.

“Gray is a left handed hitter out of Rce. I guess probably the industry at this point are a good bit higher on the talent then where he was drafted.: Neander said. “He went out in the Penn League, we got some of our trusted scouts that just happened to cross paths with him who really like him.”

Neander was impressed that the teams trusted scouts, who had seen Gray against the Hudson Valley club, gave very detailed description about him without having to retrieve their notes. The lean left-handed hitting middle infielder played most of the time at second base but could move to shortstop.






I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.