It was thought by many that prospect Alex Dickerson was in a good position to become the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first baseman of the future.
That’s not the case any longer.
The 23-year-old Dickerson was traded to the San Diego Padres on Monday in exchange for outfielder Jaff Decker and right-handed reliever Miles Mikolas. Both Decker and Mikolas were designated for assignment by the Padres last week.
In addition to dealing Dickerson, the Pirates also designated Garrett Jones for assignment after an extremely disappointing 2013 campaign.
Jones made $4.5 million last year and hit just .233 with 15 homers and a .708 OPS in 144 games, so at age 32 – and with a likely small bump in salary due for 2014 via the arbitration process – he was a likely non-tender candidate anyway.
The Pirates needed Jones’ spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Decker, who hit reasonably well at Triple-A as a 23-year-old and has always had excellent on-base percentage.
Decker, 23, was taken with the 42nd overall pick in the 2008 draft. He ascended to Triple-A for the first time in 2013 and hit .286/.381/.443 in 105 games. He also saw 13 MLB games this year where he hit .154 with a homer and two runs batted in.
He is a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions. He hit .286 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 350 at-bats with Triple-A Tucson. He also had a .381 on-base percentage, making him the type of player that could fit in well with the Pirates.
Mikolas, 25, has 27 MLB appearances on his resume over the last two seasons but he spent the bulk of 2013 in Triple-A, posting a 3.25 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 54 outings.
As for Dickerson, the Pirates lose a potential big power bat for the future as he put up a .288/.337/.494 slash line in his first full season in Double-A.
The Bucs also designated 26-year-old Kyle McPherson for assignment. McPherson was sidelined for most of last season, making just two minor league starts. In 25 career starts at the Double-A level, McPherson owns a 3.39 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 and made a handful of major league appearances in 2012.