Coming into Spring Training, Toronto Blue Jays fans were burdened with heavy expectations when it came to right-hander R.A. Dickey. After all, it is not every day that a team goes out and acquires a reigning Cy Young award winner. Yet, that was exactly what the Blue Jays did when they picked up Dickey in a trade with the New York Mets, costing the team its top positional prospects in Travis d’Arnaud and a top pitching prospect in Noah Syndergaard. The stage was officially set.
Unfortunately, the early teasers have not quite lived up to those expectations. The 38-year-old Dickey has made two appearances thus far this spring and the results have not been memorable. In five innings of work, Dickey has been hit fairly well, surrendering 8 hits and five runs while striking out a single batter. In his last outing, a three-inning affair against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 2nd, Dickey surrendered three runs on four hits, including a first-inning home run to Ryan Howard.
Now while the results may be tepid at best, they are also carried with a grain of salt, knowing that they are in Spring Training and that they are the result of just two early appearances while the pitcher works his kinks out. Dickey, a fierce competitor, is likely waiting for that moment when the games count for something other than practice in order to hone in.
We are about to get a good look at that R.A. Dickey.
The Toronto ace is one of nine players that left the team on Monday in order to join their respective squads for the World Baseball Classic. Dickey will be joined on Team USA by his battery mate J.P. Arencibia, while Adam Loewen, Brett Lawrie, and Trystan Magnuson suit up for Canada, and Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Moises Sierra, and Ricardo Nanita take the field with the Dominican Republic.
Dickey will receive the nod to start the Team USA’s first match-up of the Classic, a Friday night tilt against a Mexican team that doesn’t present much of an offensive threat outside of Adrian Gonzalez. Still, it will be the first chance for Blue Jays fans to see their new ace in a competitive situation with something on the line. It will also be the first time Dickey gets to take the mound for an outing of significant length, which he is hopefully ready to handle at this early stage of the season.
And that is what it comes down to; hope. Hopefully, Blue Jays fans will get their first chance to see the real R.A. Dickey, the man with the mysterious knuckle-ball and the Cy Young pedigree.
It will certainly help to put some worries to rest.