Browsing Posts tagged R.A. Dickey

Over the last two months, the Mets and R.A. Dickey danced around a contract extension. Dickey, who is under contract for 2013, was seeking a two-year, $25 million contract extension, but the Mets were reluctant to offer it. While fans may never know why Dickey wasn’t offered an extension, a few scenarios come to mind. The Mets may not trust their 38-year-old knuckle baller to repeat his past success. The Mets may not be ready to win. Maybe it’s a combination of both. The Blue Jays, however, didn’t have any reservations about Dickey. The Blue Jays essentially moved ‘All-In’ by trading for Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buerhle. The Blue Jays believe they’re ready to win, so the ‘risk’ associated with Dickey is a moot point.

To acquire Dickey, the Blue Jays surrendered their top prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and Single A pitcher, Noah Syndergaard. Last season, Baseball America ranked d’Arnaud as the 17th best prospect in baseball. d’Arnaud missed the majority of the 2011 season with a knee injury. When healthy, d’Arnaud played for AAA Las Vegas and hit 16 home runs in 279 at-bats. d’Arnaud’s strike out-to-walk ratio was 3:1, but his power is legitimate. Syndergaard is extremely young, so it’s unfair to make any assessments. 

Dickey was under contract for 2013, so the Blue Jays and Dickey agreed to a two-year extension. The Blue Jays essentially traded their top prospect and a raw pitching prospect for three years of Dickey. When evaluating trades, it’s impossible to compare ‘apples to apples’. However, several top pitchers were traded over the last five years. Trades for Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee come to mind. While all three pitchers were much younger and have completely different make ups, the Jays acquired the oldest player and issued the shortest contract. Let’s look back on the three trades and draw some conclusions:

Trade #1 (February 2008):
Mets Receive: Johan Santana
Twins Receive: Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, and Phillip Humber

At the time, Baseball America ranked these players as the Mets’ #2, #3, #4, and #7 prospects. Guerra was the prized pitching prospect, but has yet to appear in the Major Leagues. The other three prospects are no longer with the Twins. The Twins acquired a bushel of top prospects, but this trade simply didn’t work out. One could also argue Santana’s 6-year, $137 million contract hasn’t worked out for the Mets. Santana has won just 46 games in five seasons and missed the entire 2011 season.

Trade #2 (July 2010):
Rangers Receive: Cliff Lee
Mariners Receive: Justin Smoak and Mark Lowe

This trade may not be the best comparison. The Rangers traded their top prospect, Smoak, for a half season of Lee. Lee helped Texas win its first American League pennant, but declined Texas’ contract extension and re-joined the Phillies. Since joining the Mariners, the 25-year-old Smoak has failed to meet expectations. Known for his power, Smoak has hit just 39 home runs in 1,200 at-bats. Safeco Park is a pitcher’s park, but Smoak’s numbers have not increased on the road. Smoak’s name continues to pop up in trade rumors, so it’s obvious Seattle is growing impatient. Meanwhile, Texas replaced Smoak’s production with a combination of Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, and Michael Young, so it’s safe to say Texas won this trade.

Trade #3 (December 2009):
Phillies Receive: Roy Halladay
Blue Jays Receive: Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis d’Arnaud (!!!)

Talk about irony. At the time, Baseball America ranked these three players as the Phillies’ #2,#3, and #4 prospects. Drabek was the prized pitching prospect, checking in at #25 overall. Taylor was ranked #29 overall while d’Arnaud was ranked #81 overall. Prior to the trade, Halladay posted four consecutive seasons 16+ wins, 220+ innings, and annual Top 5 Cy Young finishes. The Phillies and Halladay agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract extension. Halladay won the NL Cy Young Award in 2010 and finished second in 2011. The Blue Jays were not in a position to win or extend Halladay, so they acquired Philadelphia’s best prospects. However, those prospects have failed to make an impact. d’Arnaud was flipped for Dickey and Drabek is 8-15 with a 5.34 ERA in 30 career starts. Drabek is only 24-years-old, but given Toronto’s busy off-season, Drabek is no longer a consideration for the starting rotation. Taylor flamed out in Toronto, but was acquired by Oakland.

Conclusions

It’s really, really difficult to compare trades. Each prospect is unqiue and each pitcher has a different skill set. Santana, Lee, and Halladay were all at least five years younger than Dickey, but Dickey has the least amount of wear and tear. Teams are willing to give up their best prospects for a shot at winning in the short-term. Overall, those decisions seemed to pay off. While prospects provide hope and short-term cost saving solutions, most don’t pan out. Last season, Dickey figured out how to strike out hitters with his knuckleball. Pitchers don’t strike out 200+ batters by mistake, so Dickey’s 2012 Cy Young campaign was no fluke.

Can Dickey build upon this success in 2013? I think so. Dickey is a unique case because we don’t have a true comparable. If anything, Dickey could provide Ace-type production at a fraction of the cost. If his success doesn’t translate, Toronto’s financial committment isn’t huge and they did not surrender a ‘Can’t Miss’ prospect for him. In addition, it’s never a good sign when a ‘top prospect’ is traded twice in a three year span. d’Arnaud was hand picked by Toronto, so it’s a little surprising that they gave up on him already. d’Arnaud’s power seems legit, but I’m skeptical. It’ll take years to determine which team won this trade, but if I had to bet on it, I’d take the Blue Jays.

Last week, I received Wayne Coffey’s book about R.A. Dickey, titled Wherever I Wind Up (My Quest For Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball).

When he was called up to the New York Mets not even two years ago, Dickey was a journeyman knuckleballer who had spent fourteen years knocking around the minor leagues and had already started looking into his next line of work–as a high school English teacher. Today, the 37-year-old Dickey has emerged not only as the most improbable success story in the major leagues, but as arguably one of the most fascinating athletes in America.

Dickey spent this off-season climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about human tracking in Mumbai. The book chronicles Dickey’s journey from the abuse he suffered as a child to the No.1 draft choice of the Texas Rangers in 1996. Dickey also talks about his unique relationship his fellow big league knuckle ballers. The book is fascinating and must read for any baseball fan.

For New York residents, Dickey will have three book signings in the next month.

  • On April 6th, Dickey will appear at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ;
  • On April 10th, Dickey will appear at Barnes and Noble CitiCorp in Manhattan; and
  • On May 10th, Dicey will appear at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, NJ

The New York Mets took both games of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. R.A. Dickey pitched Game One and had a no-hitter heading into the seventh inning. David Wright hit a tie-breaking double in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to a 2-1 victory. Dillon Gee took the mound in Game Two and pitched six strong innings allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out two. The Mets put up five runs in the third inning, paving the way to a 6-3 win in the night cap. They have now won three in a row as they look to finish the season strong. 

Valentino Pascucci admires his first major league home run in seven years.

Getty Images

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The Mets/Phillies game has been rained out tonight.  The makeup will be played as part of a day/night doubleheader on Saturday. Game one is scheduled for 1:10 PM on WPIX. Game two will be broadcasted on SNY at 7:10 PM. 

Game OneNYM R.A. Dickey (8-13) 3.35 ERA vs. PHI Cole Hamels (14-9) 2.80 ERA 

Game TwoNYM Dillon Gee (12-6) 4.48 ERA vs. PHI Joe Blanton (1-2) 5.30 ERA 

Larry Jones did what he always does against the Mets — kill them late in a game.  In this one, the hit came with 2 outs in the 8th to drive in Jason Heyward for the winning score.  The Mets drop to 72-80 with the loss.

This one was a great pitcher’s duel between Tim Hudson and R. A. Dickey.  It also showed the difference between good teams and mediocre teams.  The Braves, likely headed for extra games in October, did what they needed to grab the close W.  In the late stages of a scoreless game, Heyward led off the 8th by working a walk, got bunted over to second, and then got driven in by Larry.  That would be enough to sink the Mets’ overwhelmed lineup, which was dominated by Hudson and Craig Kimbrel (a combined 13 K’s).

At least the defense was sharp (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

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The New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 12-2 on Friday night at Turner Field. They immediately put up four runs in the first inning against pitcher Derek Lowe. Chris Capuano gave back two of those runs in his first two frames, but settled down to pitch five solid innings. The Mets had twenty hits in the ballgame, as five batters came through with at least three hits. With the victory, they snap a six-game losing streak.

Wright turns his frustration into homeruns.

Associated Press

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The New York Mets were defeated by the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Monday night at CitiField. R.A. Dickey pitched seven strong innings allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks while striking out seven. The bullpen went two scoreless innings in relief to give the Mets offense a chance to win it. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, both Jason Bay and Nick Evans stranded David Wright on second base to end the game. The Mets drop their third straight game as they fall to 71-76 on the season. 

Pagan celebrates his game-tying double in the sixth inning.

Getty Images

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The New York Mets were defeated by the Chicago Cubs in a 10-6 loss in eleven innings. The Mets were down early but rallied in the later inning, eventually tying it up 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth. They had a chance to walk-off in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, but failed to do so. David Wright came to the plate with the bases full and two outs in the tenth inning only to fly out. Then it all crumbled as the Mets pitching surrendered six runs in the top of the eleventh. They fall to 71-75 on the season with 16 games left to play.

Picture perfect moment between John Franco and Mike Piazza during the 9/11 anniversary ceremony.

Associated Press

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3 batters into the game, Lucas Duda sliced a double just inside the left field line to drive in Jose Reyes for a 1-0 lead.  That was enough to win the game behind R.A. Dickey, Josh Stinson, and Manny Acosta’s combined shutout.  How dominant were they today?  The Marlins mustered only 5 hits, 4 of them singles.  With the win (their 10th in their last 13 games), the Mets creep back towards .500, at 70-71.  With a homestand coming up that features 7 combined games against the Cubs and Nats, the Mets could once again make their way over that hump.

Game over. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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The New York Mets defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 in a 12-inning marathon Tuesday night. Nick Evans broke a tie on three separate occasions, including the deciding run in the top of the 12th on a single to put the Mets on top 5-4. Miguel Batista started the night with six innings allowing only one run on five hits and four walks while striking out three. The bullpen was strong, except for Bobby Parnell who blew a 4-2 lead yielding two runs on a Mike Cameron double in the bottom of the 9th. Josh Stinson came on in the bottom of the 12th to pitch a 1-2-3 inning for his first career save. 

Nick Evans turned into Mr. Clutch tonight.

Associated Press

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