When Corey Dickerson was designated for assignment by the Rays, there was likely a small bit of relief in getting out of an organization that has all but given up on contending in 2018.
On Thursday, Dickerson was traded to the Pirates.
Out of the frying pan, and into the ... other frying pan.
The Bucs, despite having waived something of a white flag themselves in dealing Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole in recent months, picked up Dickerson from the Rays for reliever Daniel Hudson, minor league infielder Tristan Gray and cash considerations. The team almost immediately installed the 28-year-old as their starting left fielder.
"Corey Dickerson adds a quality power threat to our lineup, as evidenced by his 60-plus extra-base hits and 20-plus home runs each of the last two seasons," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Corey is a driven player who will also add a quality presence to our clubhouse."
Dickerson batted .282/.325/.490 with 27 homers last year, making the American League All-Star team, but fell apart in the second half, hitting .241/.282/.408.
"We look forward to finding out how we can help him get closer to where he was in the first half," Huntington said. "Overall, a very productive player the last few years in the big leagues."
Dickerson's progress will be interesting to watch, and if he can regain a prior form, hitting in a lineup anchored by Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell is an upgrade from the Rays group he's leaving.
For the Rays, it's the latest in a string of moves deconstructing a team that projection systems thought might have a chance to make some noise this year, despite their place among the AL East power brokers. The team has already traded away Jake Odorizzi and Steven Souza as well, and closer Alex Colome and ace Chris Archer are assumed available for the right price.
The signing of Carlos Gomez and the trade for C.J. Cron fill some holes, but the Souza deal and now shedding Dickerson appears to further extend the opportunity to Mallex Smith to find fantasy value. Smith was a topic of discussion in the recent catcher/outfield rankings edition of the Rotoworld Baseball Podcast.
Honeywell diagnosed with forearm strain
Hope springs eternal, but it was a different kind of hope for Rays general manager Erik Neander Thursday after top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell cut short his throwing of a live batting practice session with what the team is initially calling a right forearm strain.
"A lot of fingers crossed," Neander said as the team now awaits further testing.
Honeywell had faced just two batters before he ended the session, "throwing his glove down and cursing loudly twice," per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "He was quickly checked by assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval, then walked off the mound and to the clubhouse."
There's no guarantee, but too often forearm strains are precursors to Tommy John surgery, a procedure that would cost the 22-year-old the entire 2018 season and would likely cut into his 2019 campaign as well. If healthy, Honeywell is expected to contribute to the big league club in some capacity this year.
The season-ending surgery blow would be a huge one for Honeywell's development, after a terrific 2017 season catapulted him even closer the top of prospect lists this spring. After appearing on most major lists ahead of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Honeywell was a consensus top-15 prospect on the heels of a year in which he went 13-9 with a 3.49 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
No timetable was known Thursday regarding further information on the right-hander's outlook. Stay tuned.
Ohtani Debut Set For Saturday
The wait for Shohei Ohtani's Angels debut will soon be over.
The right-hander is expected to make his Cactus League debut as a pitcher on Saturday in a matchup with the Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Arizona. Ohtani is anticipated to pitch two innings in the outing.
Quick Hits: Matt Chapman left Athletics camp on Thursday to undergo a precautionary MRI on his right hand back in Oakland. It's not believed to be a serious issue, but Chapman began experiencing some mild soreness in the palm of his right hand this week in Arizona and the A's want to be sure that he is safe to continue with his normal spring training regimen. The 24-year-old third baseman is set to meet with orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Steven Shin, who will review the MRI results and recommend a treatment plan. More should be known in the coming days ... Elvis Andrus (back) is aiming to return to workouts in Rangers camp on Friday. Andrus has been resting for the last couple of days after coming down with back spasms ... Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Thursday that he might not name a closer before the end of spring training. "That’s not a goal at all," Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It will define itself in time. It’s completely different this year, where we have a number of different guys. Having a number of guys that could finish a game would be great." Luke Gregerson was assumed to be the odds-on favorite for the job, but Tyler Lyons, Dominic Leone and even Bud Norris could be players as well ... Chris Young has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his right calf. Young suffered the injury during a workout earlier this week. He told reporters Wednesday that he only expects to miss 10 days, but calf strains can sometimes take 2-4 weeks to fully recover from, putting his readiness for Opening Day in question ... Jason Kipnis will sit out the Indians' first few Cactus League games due to a sore lower back. It's not a big concern, but one worth monitoring if it persists ... Devon Travis (knee) is a full participant at Blue Jays camp this spring. Travis missed the final 100 games of the 2017 season after requiring surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee, but he has impressed all onlookers so far in Dunedin, Florida. "You watch him move around, and if you didn’t know he’d had an injury, you wouldn’t think anything of it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told Sportsnet.ca. "Really, he looks that good" ... Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Joe Musgrove (shoulder) should resume throwing in "the coming days." Musgrove skipped a scheduled bullpen session on Sunday after feeling some discomfort in his right shoulder and he hasn't picked up a baseball since, but Tomczyk told reporters on Wednesday that the issue is "minor" and the Pirates are simply taking "precautionary" measures ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy has named Madison Bumgarner his Opening Day starter. Related: the sky is blue.