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Pirates sign Chris Dickerson to minor league contract

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USA TODAY Sports

Our long winter news drought is over, as the Pirates have signed veteran outfielder Chris Dickerson to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. Dickerson was most recently a member of the Baltimore Orioles organization, splitting 2013 between the ML club and its AAA affiliate in Norfolk.

Unlike some of the Pirates' minor league signings earlier this offseason, Dickerson could have a reasonable chance to earn a bench spot on the 25-man roster out of spring training. He is not an exceptional performer in any one area of the game, but he has a respectable .249/.289/.414 ML batting line over the last three seasons, his baserunning is above-average, and is a good defender at all three outfield positions. It might make sense for the team to carry a left-handed CF as a reserve, given that all three of the players currently penciled in as outfield starters (Marte, McCutchen, and Tabata) are right-handed hitters.

Dickerson will likely compete with Travis Snider, Jaff Decker, and Andrew Lambo for a role as a left-handed outfield reserve, with Lambo also in the mix at first base. All three of those players are currently on the 40-man roster, which should give them a leg up at the start of spring training, but if Dickerson plays well enough it may not matter. If nothing else, he'll be good depth to have at AAA.