SF Giants: The Arbitration Case for Alex Dickerson
Corner outfielder Alex Dickerson is eligible for arbitration for the third time in his career, but what are the odds that the SF Giants tender him a contract? Obviously, nearly as high as they can go.
The SF Giants must decide whether to tender contracts to nine arbitration-eligible players prior to the December 2, 2020 deadline. Alex Dickerson may have the best case of the bunch.
Alex Dickerson Before 2020
Prior to joining the Giants in 2019, Dickerson showed intriguing potential from the left side of the plate. In the batter’s box, he brought plate discipline, a contact-heavy swing, which stretches of solid power output.
In over two seasons with the San Diego Padres, the former third-round pick slashed a .250/.321/.429 line (102 OPS+) with 10 home runs and 26 RBI across 312 plate appearances.
However, chronic back issues constantly hampered ability contribute. With so many young outfielders in San Diego, he quickly fell down their depth chart and struggled to find other opportunities.
Happy to add to their own outfield depth, the Giants were willing to part with pitching prospect Franklin van Gurp (80-grade name) to San Diego in exchange for Dickerson. Both sides found the terms acceptable and each player travelled to their new respective organization.
Since being acquired, the left-handed bat has been one of the Giants more consistent contributors and a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat. Last summer, soon after his acquisition, Dickerson had an offensive explosion and became an integral part of their midseason resurgence.
Reviewing Alex Dickerson’s 2020 Season
If you asked me on August 28, 2020, whether the Giants would tender a contract for Dickerson for 2021, I may have been noncommital. At that time, he had slashed just .195/.284/.351 in 88 plate appearances. That said, he had been scorching the ball, but just right into the opposing team’s defense.
From that day forward, he went on a tear, including a historic three-home run night, and finished the year as one of the hottest hitters in baseball.
All told, he posted a .298/.371/.576 line (157 OPS+) with ten home runs and 27 RBI. Furthermore, he generated a stout 9.4 percent walk rate against an impressive 17.6 percent strikeout rate.
On top of this, manager Gabe Kapler used Dickerson effectively. Throughout his career, the left-handed hitter has produced a .687 OPS against southpaws versus a .863 OPS against right-handed pitchers. With Darin Ruf offering the opposite plutoon split, Kapler used them to play to each other’s strengths.
In 2020, only 12 of Dickerson’s 170 plate appearances were against left-handed pitchers. Limiting his exposure against lefties not only sets him up for success but allows the Giants to better manage his workload as well. Given his injury history, the move seems especially prudent.
He proved that he can become a highly functional platoon hitter from the left side. As the Giants look to add another left-handed bat to the roster, they should feel comfortable with Dickerson and Mike Yastrzemski firmly entrenched from the left side in the outfield.
Should the SF Giants Tender Alex Dickerson?
This should be a really easy decision for the Giants. He exceeded any and all expectations that the Giants set forth for him in 2020. Had he not rebounded from his abysmal start things might be different, but even then, it would’ve been hard to give up on the highs of 2019 with one mediocre 60-game stretch. Luckily, the Giants saw him take another step in his development as a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat.
He is due a raise from his $925,000 salary, but Alex Dickerson remains a bargain even if he receives a nice pay bump next season. There is little doubt that the SF Giants should retain the 30-year-old.