Corey Dickerson signs 1-year deal with Nats
WASHINGTON -- Left fielder? Check. Left-handed bat? Check. Corey Dickerson checks the boxes for the Nationals’ offseason needs.
The 33-year-old and the Nats finalized a one-year contract on Tuesday ahead of his 11th Major League season. The deal is worth $2.25 million, including performance bonuses that can increase it to $3 million, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
To clear space on the 40-man roster, right-hander Andres Machado was designated for assignment by the Nationals.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Dickerson said in his introductory Zoom session from Jackson, Miss. “I take fulfillment in getting to know people right away, trying to learn the sense of humor of every single guy, how you can joke with them, how are they approachable and just try to be a good teammate, let them know that I’m there to help in any way.”
Dickerson spent the 2022 season with the Cardinals, posting a slash line of .267/.300/.399 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 96 games. He also has played for the Rockies, Rays, Pirates, Phillies, Marlins and Blue Jays.
Dickerson’s trips to the Navy Yard have been productive throughout his career. He has a 1.079 OPS and .359/.391/.688 slash line in 19 games at Nationals Park, where he made his Major League debut on June 22, 2013, with Colorado.
"I think just the overall feel of it, I enjoy playing there,” Dickerson said. “I like the more modern ballpark. You see the ball really well there. I don't know, I always really enjoyed playing there. And usually when you get something good going, you hit good somewhere, you just get good vibes from it and every time you come back you remember those good vibes, those good times and try to repeat it."
The Nationals have added several candidates who could play left field next season, but there are no locks to be the starter, with Lane Thomas likely shifting to right field. Dickerson ranks third among active players in fielding percentage in left field (.989), sixth among active players in defensive games as a left fielder (730) and fifth in putouts as a left fielder (1,226).
Alex Call and Stone Garrett also will compete for playing time in left field. Dominic Smith, who has played left, is expected to see most of his innings at first base. The additions of Dickerson and Smith make it likely for Joey Meneses to fill the vacancy at designated hitter.
"I think we'll figure it out,” Dickerson said of his role on the Nationals. “Guys always mess with me about bouncing around and things like that, but I always say there's a reason why I'm still here. There's a reason why I still have opportunity, and it's just because I love to compete. When I get out there and compete, it tends to just work out. I want to play the field every single day, every opportunity I get. I love that; I enjoy that. ... Whatever the team needs is the role you have to be ready to play. I’m just going to prepare myself the best way possible and try to enjoy the moment.”
Dickerson wants to show he is a multi-faceted player who still can hit for power. The 2010 eighth-round Draft pick has more to give to baseball.
“I’ve always been an underdog. I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder. That’s the way I play,” Dickerson said. “I feel like I kind of lost that chip the last couple years trying to please and mold to people’s needs a little bit. This year, I’m going to try to definitely help my teammates but really put that chip back on my shoulder and be able to play with the emotion that I need to.”