Sep 8, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder andy Dirks (12) catches a fly ball against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks is somewhat of a unique case. A starter in Detroit as late as the 2013 season, Dirks was not offered designated for assignment by the Tigers earlier this winter after having not played at all in 2013 due to a back injury. The Toronto Blue Jays immediately snatched him up, but then opted not to tender him a contract when the deadline passed in November.
Dirks will turn 29 on January 24th and certainly has some upside to him. In 2013, his only full season of work, he started 131 games and put up decent number, posting a .256/.323/.363 batting line with 9 home runs and 37 RBI. However, his 89 wRC+ was a disappointment after putting up a 132 mark in short work the year prior. That may foretell that Dirks is better suited to a back-up role, where the manager can pick and choose his match-ups a bit more carefully.
That said, what Andy Dirks lacks in offensive thump, he makes up for defensively. He’s seen time in all three outfield spots, grading out with positive UZR/150 marks in all three. However, he’s spent the most time in left field, where he registered an impressive 13.1 UZR/150, 6 DRS, and 7 outfield assists in 2013.
Of course, the big question will be whether his back injuries are behind him or they were partially to blame for the Blue Jays non-tendering him rather than go to arbitration. If healthy, Dirks could be a nice source of left-handed help. If not, he would be nothing more than a paperweight.