4 – The impact of R.A. Dickey
The offseason is a time for stories about what may be. Free agent rumours, stat projections, and prospect lists all look down the road for something new and shiny.
R.A. Dickey is neither of those things, and that’s just fine.
The reliable nature of Dickey over the past three seasons (3.95 ERA while averaging 218 IP) hasn’t gotten the appreciation it deserves, but that’s not what his spring storyline will be about. With Dickey, there remains an abnormal amount of potential for a 41-year-old, and the veteran’s signature pitch will likely play a deciding role in the club’s backup catcher.
Over Dickey’s final 15 starts last year, he posted an excellent 2.80 ERA with an 8-1 record. The strikeout numbers were still troubling over that stretch with 5.1 K/9, but he reeled in the control problems that plagued him early on. With his right knee reportedly back to full health after an offseason surgery, is it possible that Dickey stretches that second half in to three quarters of next season?
The man catching Dickey has also yet to be decided.
Russell Martin handled it last year, for better or for worse, while Josh Thole is obviously the most comfortable option (and favourite). Recent signing Tony Sanchez came up with a strong defensive reputation, however, so it will be interesting to see if he’s given an opportunity to catch butterflies.
Regardless of who is on the other end, Dickey’s 2016 cannot be brushed aside as predictable.
Next: #3 - Making sense of the outfield's mystery man