The Pirates today sent the player many fans -- but obviously not them -- considered the team’s first baseman of the future to the San Diego Padres in exchange for two prospects.
Gone is Alex Dickerson, 23, who was the Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and the Class A Florida State League Player of the Year in 2012. Dickerson batted .288 with 36 doubles, 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in 451 at bats last season.
To make room for the two new players from San Diego, the Pirates designated first baseman Garrett Jones and right-handed pitcher Kyle McPherson for assignment.
Neither move was a shock. Jones was going to be non-tendered in arbitration next month because his poor season in 2013 did not warrant the monetary award he would receive. McPherson missed almost all of last season with Tommy John surgery and at 26 has plunged in the team’s depth chart.
The trade of Dickerson, the team’s third-round draft choice in 2011, came almost immediately following a hugely disappointing performance in the Arizona Fall League. He was 20-for-69 (.289) but with no homers and three RBIs.
Coming to the Pirates are left-handed hitting outfielder Jaff Decker and right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas. Decker was the Padres No. 1 draft choice in 2008 and in 2010 was ranked as the 82nd best prospect by Baseball America.
Decker hit 10 home runs and drove in 40 runs in 310 at bats last season while compiling an .824 OPS in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. In 2012, he hit 19 home runs and drove in 92 runs in 496 at bats in Class AA while compiling a .796 OPS. Decker, who will be 24, was 4-for-26 in brief time with the Padres last year.
Mikolas, who will be 25, was 4-2 with a .3.24 ERA as a relief pitcher in the Pacific Coast League.
Obviously, the Pirates are high on Decker, although his 2013 numbers pale next to left-handed hitter outfielder Andrew Lambo, already on their roster. Presumably, he'll have a chance to make the team in spring training but with options remaining he is no sure thing.