Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’

Painful Now, the R.A. Dickey Trade Will Pay Dividends

I came home from work Monday night to the venting of my sister Kathleen.  She is a life-long New York Mets fan and she called to rant about the trade of R.A. Dickey.  I tried to be as understanding as possible all the while knowing it pained her and most Met fans to see arguably one of the most popular player of the last 30 years dealt after winning the Cy Young Award.  In a 2013 season that was shaping up to be not much better than the 2012 campaign, the trade of their best pitcher gives those loyal Met fans even less hope now that their best reason to watch the team every fifth day will not be wearing their uniform next season.  Once the emotion of the trade wears off, I hope Kathleen and all those despondent fans will see that the trading of Dickey makes sense and was done for the future of the organization.

It will be painful for Met fans not to see R.A. Dickey in their uniform in 2013.  Image:  www.cbssports.com

It will be painful for Met fans not to see R.A. Dickey in their uniform in 2013. Image: http://www.cbssports.com

Many fans thought the Met brass was being frugal during negotiations with the knuckleballer on a contract extension.  Why, they said, were they only offering two years for $20 million dollars on top of the $5 million dollars due in 2013?  Dickey was supposedly looking in the neighborhood of two years, $26 million dollars.  If you look at it from management’s point of view, they were being generous.  After all, they were the ones who gave Dickey a nice contact when no other team would.  Their offer per year was double his 2013 salary, not bad for a 38-year-old pitcher who won double digits in a season twice in his career.  Perhaps the Mets knew they were going to trade Dickey all along, getting the most for him while they are clearly still trying to rebuild.  Face it, the team might have been moderately better next year with Dickey and though I am an eternal optimist, it would have been very difficult to contend for even the second Wild Card spot in 2013.

How about looking at it this way.  Even the most ardent of Dickey’s supporters would concede that he probably won’t win 20 games again.  So what if he stayed in New York, played out the final year of his deal but went 15-10 with a 3.23 ERA. A pretty good year but do you think he would have been offered anything better than what the Mets proposed?  I would venture to say no.  By being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, Dickey gets his money and also is going to a team that is looking to take a shot at the World Series.  Plus, the city of Toronto is much like New York and we all know how well he handled things here.  Toronto will love him, much like the love he received in the Big Apple.  Plus, he gets to stick it to the Yankees maybe four times next year, music to Mets’ fans’ ears.

As for those who question the prospects the Mets received from Toronto, maybe that was the best they could do.  There are concerns about the health of catcher Travis d’Arnaud, the main piece of the deal who is listed as the 11th best prospect by mlb.comIf one of the three prospects received by the Amazins turns out to be a solid to spectacular player, then this deal is a win for the club.  He will be playing for the team long after R.A. Dickey retires.  General manager Sandy Alderson and company deserve a little leeway here.  They did manage to pluck Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran.  Beltran has already moved on to the St. Louis Cardinals while Wheeler hopefully will be up with the Mets sometime in 2013.

One final thought.  I am sad to see R.A. Dickey leave.  I think he was one of New York’s finest and most articulate athletes we have seen and is one of the best interviews in sports (just ask my niece Katie).  This is why fans don’t make good GM’s.  They are paid to assess the long-term future of the organization.  The long-term health of the Mets dictated this trade had to be made.  I do feel sorry for Mets fans.  It seems as though this team is permanently stuck in neutral.  Contrary to what many Yankee fans say about their team in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there is no comparison.  They never saw problems like this.  From 2001 to 2012, the Mets have had five winning seasons, seven losing seasons and one epic collapse.  I hope this deal works out for the Mets much sooner than any of us anticipate and that by 2014, we can count on them as playoff contenders.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41  and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

Hot Stove Cooking Up Big Rumors

Maybe you are paying more attention to football.  Perhaps you are excited that the NBA is back.  Or maybe you were engrossed in another little event this week.  Something about a Presidential election.  Whatever you had going on, thanks for dropping by because the MLB General Managers’ meeting took place earlier this week.  There were lots of news and rumors over the past three days so let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Josh Hamilton, the prize of the 2012-2013 free agent class. Image: http://www.zimbio.com

Josh Hamilton is the big prize of the free agent market.  I always though Hamilton was a lock to return to the Texas Rangers.  Then news came out that he was seeking a seven-year contract worth about $175 million dollars.  Late last night, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Texas was only willing to give the 2010 American League MVP a three-year deal.  It would be hard for me to imagine Hamilton anywhere but the Lone Star State considering all of the demons that he carries each day.  The Rangers seem to be willing to move on without him and if there is an organization that could afford such a hit, it would be Texas.  So where would the All-Star outfielder go?  The Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies  are the two teams that have been mentioned the most.  The Seattle Mariners have emerged as a suitor and frankly the fact their offense has been shaky for years means they should make a big run at him.  That would show ace pitcher Felix Hernandez that the organization is willing to surround him with some offense instead of struggling to get two runs per start for the King.

Rumors were flying that two top-of the-rotation guys could be dealt soon.  The Tampa Bay Rays are supposedly listening to offers for James Shields.  Also, it seems the New York Mets and National League Cy Young favorite R.A. Dickey are far apart on a contract extension.   With the expected loss of B.J. Upton to free agency, the Rays will be in the market for a bat.  Tampa’s wealth of young pitching will help absorb the loss of “Big Game James” and the team has always struggled to score runs.  As far as the Mets trading Dickey, boy what a slap that would be to their fans.  Outside of Dickey, there isn’t much to cheer about in Flushing these days and a trade of arguably the team’s most popular player will further alienate a fan base that has had nothing but rotten luck for years.  Then again, it could make sense in the long run as the knuckleballer’s value has never been higher.  If I were New York, there is not a chance I trade him.  I would make a better offer (Dickey supposedly turned down a 3-year, $30 million dollar deal) but not go crazy ($15 million per year).  Those fans have suffered long enough.

Other big-name free agents looking for homes include Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Brian McCannCheck out the full list here courtesy of azcentral.com.  Speaking of Arizona, the Diamondbacks are supposedly looking to deal star right fielder Justin Upton again.  On the manager front, Walt Weiss was just named the manager of the Colorado Rockies and Davey Johnson has agreed to manage the Washington Nationals for another season.  Yes, it sure was a busy week in baseball.  Expect things to heat up some more later on as the weather starts getting colder.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

R.A. Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award Winner

As soon as my post about Derek Jeter winning the American League MVP was digested by some Mets friends, they immediately wanted to know if I would write something stating R.A. Dickey should win the National League Cy Young Award.  Come on, how much easy material can a guy publish in a week?  There is no doubt the knuckleballer deserves to win the award although Craig Kimbrel and Gio Gonzalez do deserve to be in the conversation.  In the end, though, the case for Dickey winning the Cy Young is actually stronger than the case for Jeter to win the MVP.  Let us have some fun examining these three outstanding pitchers.

R.A. Dickey of the Mets deserves the Cy Young Award. Image: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

The season of Dickey, the 37-year old righty who is about the only positive thing for Mets fans these days is nothing short of remarkable.  He finally has found a home  in Flushing, winning a total of 38 games in his three seasons with the Mets.  He leads the National League in FOUR categories:  ERA (2.66), Complete Games (5), shutouts (3) and innings pitched (220).  Dickey is also second in wins with 19, one less than Gonzalez and second in strikeouts with 209, two behind Clayton Kershaw.  Since numbers are a big deal these deals and are twisted beyond recognition, let us make this real simple.  R.A. Dickey is either first or second in SIX pitching categories.  Not convinced?  His strikeout to walk ratio is 4.02, unheard of for a knuckleball pitcher.  I don’t know where that ranks among starting pitchers but I do know that ratio is outstanding in any league.  Boys and girls, this season for Mr. Dickey is about as dominant as you can get.

Which leads me to probably the most dominant relief pitcher in the game, the Braves’ Kimbrel.  Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote a piece last week as to why he thinks Kimbrel should win the award.  There is no doubt the fireballer has been the best closer in the game.  This is a guy who has struck out a ridiculous 106 batters in 58 1/3 innings.  On top of that, he has walked only 14 batters and allowed a miniscule 25 hits.  To top it off, his ERA is 1.04.  Those numbers are insane.  However, look at the amount of innings pitched.  With nine games left in the season, Kimbrel will probably not exceed 65 innings.  To date, those 58 1/3 innings have come in 51 games.  That means he rarely pitchers more than an inning at a time.  I’m sorry, I don’t want to give an award, no matter how great he has been, to a pitcher who will throw almost four times LESS than the best starting pitcher.

Then there is Gonzalez, the ace of the Washington Nationals, whom I predicted would win the National League East.  I don’t mean to toot my own horn but toot, toot.  Sorry, I had to get that in.  Gonzalez deserves to be mentioned simply because he is the first, and perhaps only, 20 game winner in baseball.  20 is indeed a magic number for pitchers but it also should not guarantee a Cy Young Award.  The 201 strikeouts are quite nice as well but that is still eight fewer than Dickey.  On the negative side, Gonzalez has walked 73 batters, 21 more than Dickey and in only 193 1/3 innings, 27 fewer than R.A.  The ERA of 2.84 also ranks fourth in the National League.   These are not the stats of the best pitcher in 2012.

R.A. Dickey has already been shafted once this season by not starting the All Star Game.  Those who vote on the Cy Young Award winner really have an easy choice.  The award is for the best pitcher, not the most valuable one.  The numbers add up to a landslide for R.A. Dickey.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com

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