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Marlins trade Dickerson, Cimber to Toronto

by | Jun 29, 2021 | Baseball, Breaking News/Analysis

News broke Tuesday morning that the Marlins and Toronto agreed on a trade that sent Corey Dickerson and Adam Cimber to the Blue Jays. In return, the Marlins received veteran infielder Joe Panik and a minor league pitching prospect Andrew McInvale.

The timing of the trade surprised some, considering MLB’s trade deadline remains a month away and Dickerson remains in a walking boot. Miami found itself sinking after a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jaysbefore splitting a four-game series with the Nationals.

For the Marlins, this signals an everyday role for rookie Jesus Sanchez. Cimber, meanwhile, stood among the most likely bullpen arms Miami would have moved at the deadline.

Marlins Make Surprise Trade

 

Considering Dickerson’s lack of production this season, and the fact that he’s injured, this deal comes as something of a surprise. Although fans clamored for the Marlins to make a trade dumping Dickerson, such a deal seemed unlikely.

The 32-year-old outfielder came to Miami as a free agent in 2020. He hit .258 with a .713 OPS, seven home runs and 17 RBI, playing primarily in left field. Many lauded Dickerson for his approach at the plate, but his production dropped off in 2021.

This season, Dickerson managed a .260 batting average and .699 OPS. But he’s done little to drive in runs, connecting on just two home runs and driving in 14 over 224 plate appearances.

His biggest moment with the Marlins remains his clutch, three-run home run off Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. Down 1-0 in the seventh, Dickerson’s homer drove in Miguel Rojas and Chad Wallach and gave the Marlins control of that series, which they would sweep.

 

Dickerson signed a two-year, $17.5 million contract with Miami and stood to enter free agency this winter. Although the Marlins are sending some money to Toronto to complete the trade, the Blue Jays are on the hook for the bulk of his remaining salary.

What role Dickerson assumes with Toronto remains to be seen. Should he return from injury, he could provide the Blue Jays with a much-needed left-handed bat for their lineup, though he’ll probably come off the bench for them.

 

Cimber Part of Marlins Trade with Toronto

The Marlins acquired Cimber from the Cleveland Indians last winter for $100K, the figure they would’ve forked over for a Rule 5 selection. The low-risk move panned out for Miami, considering Cimber’s posted a career-low 2.88 ERA over 34.1 IP this season. Marlins GM Kim Ng noted Cimber’s “very unorthodox delivery” during a press conference in December.

 

Although Dickerson steals the headline in this trade, the Marlins inclusion of Cimber should pay immediate dividends for Toronto. The Blue Jays bullpen sports a 3.85 ERA (12th in MLB) and adding Cimber should bolster their middle relief.

 

Return for the Marlins in this Trade

The Marlins landed veteran infielder Joe Panik in this swap. The 30-year-old sports a .246/.293/.351 slash line so far this season, but he’s a contact hitter and another utility player.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Panik’s addition is his bat-to-ball skills. Over his eight-year MLB career, Panik holds a 9.9 strikeout percentage. This season, that figure stands at 11.4 percent. For context, Jon Berti and Isan Diaz, who’ve been the team’s primary third basemen in the wake of Brian Anderson’s injury, have 19.7 and 29.1 percentages respectively this season.

The Marlins have grown tired of the strikeouts and Panik provides a player who should avoid those most of the time.

Panik also provides the Marlins some much-needed infield depth in the wake of this trade. Couple the recent injuries with Diaz’s inability to produce at the Major League level and the rotating cast of minor league fill-ins, and the Marlins knew they needed to bolster the bench for any serious summer run.

Panik plays all over the infield, though most of his defensive innings this season have come at third base. Though not an elite defensive third baseman by any stretch, Panik does hold a Gold Glove as a second baseman from his time with the San Francisco Giants. He was also an All-Star and World Series champ with the Giants. He’ll be a free agent this winter.

 

New Pitching Prospect

The Marlins trade of Dickerson and Cimber to Toronto also netted them a low-level pitching prospect. Andrew McInvale, a right-handed reliever out of Liberty University, flipped to Miami as part of the deal that saw Toronto take on most of Dickerson’s contract.

In his only season at Liberty, McInvale posted a 10-3 record with a 3.41 ERA over 103 innings for the ASUN Champion. He started 17 games, with 101 strikeouts and 40 walks. McInvale earned 2019 ASUN All-Conference second-team honors and was named to the 2019 ASUN All-Tournament.

McInvale was a 37th-round pick in the 2019 draft by the Blue Jays. With Double-A New Hampshire this season, McInvale has posted a 2.55 ERA with 34 strikeouts over 24.2 IP. He’s a hard thrower that relies almost exclusively on a fastball-slider combination. McInvale needs to sharpen command and control and could be headed to Double-A Pensacola.

 

What It All Means

Despite being 8.5 games back of the division lead and 11 games under .500, the Marlins believe they are still in this race. The team wants to win now, and this move provides them with some clarity in the outfield and much-needed depth in the infield.

Sanchez has earned an everyday look in left. He reached base safely in all four against Washington, going 4-for-13, with a double, two RBI and two walks in that series. Perhaps most importantly, he struck out just twice in 16 plate appearances (13 percent). That K-rate stands in stark contrast to his career 38 percent rate. Cutting down on K’s remains key to Sanchez’s success, considering he sports a .296 batting-average-on-balls-in-play.

Panik may take over the everyday role at third, or platoon with Berti until Anderson’s return in (hopefully) late July. Panik could also spell any of the regulars across the infield. His ability to avoid strikeouts will be his most important contribution to the lineup.

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