Monday, December 3, 2012

In the Cross Hairs: R.A. Dickey

Now that the Winter Meetings have commenced, I have decided to get into the zone and write up another  piece for our "In the Cross Hairs" series.  The target: Robert Allen Dickey aka R.A.  Earlier this week the Mets locked up All-Star 3B David Wright to a lucrative contract worth $122 million.  With half of the package sealed up, the Mets look to somehow get Dickey to stay in the blue and orange.  As of a couple days ago, Adam Rubin of, reported that R.A. is willing to accept a two year extension.  But those are just words.  Who knows what could happen this week as the Winter Meetings take place in Nashville, Tennessee, which happens to be the hometown of the knuckler.

Dickey was a 1st round pick (18th) in the '96 draft.  Some notables selected that year include: Kris Benson going 1st overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dee Brown going to the Royals out of high school in the 14th slot, and who can forget, the "Gilamonster", Gil Meche going to the Mariners at #22.

In his early days as a Texas Ranger, (2001-2006), he was mainly a fastball, breaking ball, changeup kinda guy.  Along with those 3 pitches, he also possessed a slider and a hard forkball nicknamed "The Thing".  The fastball sat around 89.4 mph on average in 2003, using it over 60% of the time.  The changeup was his second favorite pitch, used up just under 32% while on the mound, then went to an occasional slider and/or forkball.

Recapping his remarkable 2012 campaign leading to the first Cy Young award ever achieved by a knuckleballer,  Dickey compiled a stellar 20-6 record, 2.73 ERA, striking out 230 batters in 233.2 innings pitched, walking just 54, a WHIP of 1.053, while allowing 24 HR, the most he's given up in his 10 year tenure.  What makes this season so remarkable, besides the fact that he is a predominate knuckleball thrower, is that he threw 233 innings with an abdominal tear.  That in itself, is pretty impressive.  As of right now, it was reported that he met up with his trainer for a routine checkup at the Winter Meetings, so we should expect a healthy flutterball come spring training.

Earlier on Monday, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Royals and Texas Rangers seemed like the most logical fits for the 38 year old.  Both teams are looking for help on the mound.  Texas recently lost RHP Scott Feldman to the Cubs on a 1 year deal worth $6 million, so they'll be looking to fill the hole in the rotation.  As of right now, the Rangers have a much bigger fish to fry, you know, like bringing back Josh Hamilton or casting a line out to Zack Greinke.

If New York was to make a deal in trading off their Cy Young award winner, they'll be looking for some outfield and catcher help in return.  I'm in involved in a Royals group chat with the writers of Royal Revival and we all discussed a trade for Dickey in great detail.  We came to 2 conclusions: A.) The cost of Dickey is what makes it worth going after him and B.) We're scared of what GMDM will do in order to save his job, and I'm sure, we as Royal Revival, aren't the only ones that feel this way.  Our next goal was to figure out a package to offer New York.  Here are a couple examples:

1.) Jorge Bonifacio or Orlando Calixte, Bruce Chen, and Yordano Ventura
From what we've seen on Twitter, Mets fans have commented that Bonifacio plus a throw-in would be a steal for New York.
  • IMO, I was fine with the first 3 players mentioned, then they lost me at Ventura.  
  • As a group, we've agreed that anything we send, we should include Chen
 2.) Lorenzo Cain, Jason Adam, and Bruce Chen
  • Cain is climbing in age, had a tough season last year with injuries, but if he can stay healthy, he would be an upgrade from what New York currently has in their OF.
  • At 20 years old, Adam still has a ways to go, but was able to bring his ERA down quite a bit compared to his 2011 campaign.
Our final thoughts were pretty similar in that the cost for one year of Dickey who just won the Cy Young wasn't bad at all, only $5 million.  We have prospects to get rid of, but to me, all this 'trading Wil Myers, Billy Butler" talk isn't the solution.  For a guy who has been known to play the waiting game with his young prospects, it isn't wise to ship off the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, who clubbed a total of 37 HR in Double-A and Triple-A.  Ok, he isn't Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but he's catching up to that level, rapidly.  If you're going to get rid of a player like Myers, you better get a good haul in return to last us a few years, not a 1 year rent-a-pitcher.

Update: Rumors are that New York has asked for Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in return of R.A. Dickey. Now neither of the aforementioned players are on par with Wil Myers, but both are better prospects than the Royals prospects discussed above. The appeal to Dickey is his low salary and the possibility that he could be had without giving up one of the core hitters. If the second part of that statement isn't the case, Dickey loses his appeal very fast.

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