It may not be one of the flashier signings this offseason, but the Padres have continued to find ways to add more depth to their roster. With Fernando Tatis Jr. missing the first few months of the season, the front office knew they had to find a versatile guy to temporarily fill his spot.
Balling On A Budget
Brandon Dixon, a former third-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, may not be well known in the league, but being on a team like this changes that in a heartbeat. He spent the first five seasons of his career playing in the minor leagues until his eventual call-up by the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Call-ups are usually the best way for organizations to showcase up-and-coming talent in their system but unfortunately for Dixon, he was not a part of this demographic. The Reds decided he was not what they were looking for and promptly waived him at the end of that season.
Lady Luck had more in store for him, however, as his unemployment wait would be very short once the Detroit Tigers came calling that same year. The University of Arizona product wasted no time drawing attention to himself in 2019 and would go on to post his best numbers to date. That season, Dixon posted career highs in batting average (.248), hits (97), home runs (15), and doubles (20) which were team leading as well. Even though this organization is practically hurting for talent, they decided to turn the cold shoulder on Dixon the following year.
In 2020, he only appeared in five games for the club and put up only one hit before ultimately being released in November of that year. The buck didn’t stop there though as he took his talents to Japan to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2021. He did bounce back and forth between the club’s major and minor leagues teams but was still able to put up a .167 average accompanied by 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 123 plate appearances. His fight was one to be admired as he never once quit on himself but decided to work that much harder to find his place again in MLB.
As of March 26, 2022, he has become a full-fledged member in San Diego’s system with the assumption he will be added to the major league roster at some point this year if not soon. What makes this signing interesting is the fact that Dixon is a versatile infielder with experience at first, second, and third base with corner outfield work mixed in as well. With this in mind, I would have to guess that they will be using him to fill in multiple spots in the infield when guys are either hurt or need a day off. Regardless, I’m all about this acquisition and think giving the little guy more time to show his stuff will work wonders for his career.
Rolling The Dice
If Dixon can get back to his roots from 2019 then he could extend his stay on the major league roster but until that point, it’s all a gamble. He’s a short-term solution to a short-term problem and I think he knows that going into SoCal yet, his versatility grants him more exposure. If he can stay confident at one infield position then it could carry over to somewhere else they move him to which would be a smart move on the organization’s end. Gaining notoriety on a weak Detroit team has no doubt increased his value for larger teams, like the Padres, looking to add depth.
Tatis’s injury will buy some time for Dixon to factor in for some play especially since surgery is a likely option. The Padres are surely testing his ability in spring training as he adds flexibility to their lineup and allows them to move other players around too. Make sure to keep your eye on Dixon as the season progressed because if his previous experience is any indication, he is capable of a lot more than everyone realizes.
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