Dean is a candidate to potentially see time as a designated hitter if the slot is implemented universally in an abbreviated 2020 season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Goold lists Rangel Ravelo as the player the team views as the most natural replacement for the departed Jose Martinez, who filled in at DH for eight games during interleague play in 2019 and was much more valued for his bat than his defense. However, he also notes Dean is a player that, much like Martinez, has enjoyed considerable offensive success in multiple minor-league seasons but hasn't quite seen it translate to the majors yet. Dean was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on March 19, but with the very high likelihood big-league rosters are expanded and the chance the minor-league season is canceled outright, circumstances could conspire to provide the 26-year-old an extended opportunity to face major-league arms in 2020.
The Cardinals optioned Dean to Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. Spring training was suspended a week ago, but that hasn't stopped the Cardinals from trimming down their roster before Opening Day arrives at a yet-to-be-determined date. Though the Cardinals had a number of outfielders battling more starting jobs this spring, Dean wasn't included among that group. Dean will need to prove his worth at Triple-A before getting another look in the majors after slashing a lackluster .223/.268/.388 (74 wRC+) across 311 plate appearances with Miami the past two seasons.
Dean went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in a Grapefruit League win over the Twins on Monday. Dean's fourth-inning blast off Twins starter Randy Dobnak was the outfielder's second homer of spring. The 26-year-old is battling for a reserve outfield role and has shown a knack for putting good wood on the ball in Grapefruit League play, as he's also slugged four doubles in addition to the aforementioned pair of round trippers across his 16 exhibitions.
Dean, who came over from the Marlins via trade in January, arrived in Cardinals camp early and is in the mix to secure an outfield spot this spring, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports. The 26-year-old has been in camp for the last several days, readying himself to compete for an outfield job at the big-league level. The Cardinals have opportunities available after trading Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to the Rays this offseason, and Dean appears capable of providing some punch at the plate after slashing .337/.401/.635 with 18 home runs over 73 games for Triple-A New Orleans in 2019. The right-handed prospect hasn't enjoyed anywhere near the same success in the majors during his pair of big-league cameos the last two seasons, but he has laced 28 extra-base hits (18 doubles, 10 home runs) across 311 plate appearances over that span.
Dean was traded from the Marlins to the Cardinals on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Diowill Burgos. Dean was designated for assignment by the Marlins on Jan. 9, but he'll find a new home with the Cardinals on their 40-man roster. The 26-year-old appeared in 64 major-league games last season, hitting .225/.261/.404 with six home runs, but he's shown promise at the Triple-A level in the past.