In his 4th and final season as a Toronto Blue Jay, R.A. Dickey cemented his reputation as a great teammate and professional, even as he was removed from the rotation.
It wasn’t his best season in a Blue Jay uniform, but R.A. Dickey once again contributed to a successful Blue Jays run. He finished the season with a 10-15 record and a 4.46 ERA over 169.2 innings pitched.
It was the first time that Dickey failed to reach the 200 innings pitched mark as a Blue Jay, and also the first time since 2010, breaking his five-year streak spanning 2011-2015. That said, the Blue Jays removed Dickey from the rotation in September in favour of Francisco Liriano, leaving the knuckleballer with just 29 starts compared to 33 in 2015. His numbers weren’t drastically different than the season before, but the Blue Jays had a stronger rotation and better options, pushing him to the bench.
Despite finishing with his worst numbers as a Blue Jay, it wasn’t all bad for Dickey in 2016. He made 29 starts, joining the other four members as the most productive and healthy rotation in baseball. His WAR was down from 2015, but he still finished with a mark of +0.4. Nothing to write home about, but on the positive side nonetheless.
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The Tennesee native also struck out 126 batters, the same number as he did in 2015, despite throwing 44.2 less innings.
Dickey was also named as a finalist for the AL Gold Glove award for pitchers, his 2nd career nomination. Dickey won the award in 2013 with the Mets, but was unable to best Dallas Keuchel in the AL vote this season.
As mentioned above, Dickey had his worst season as a Blue Jay in several statistical categories. His 169.2 innings pitched were his lowest total, and his first time missing the 200 innings pitched mark since 2010. His 4.46 ERA was up from 3.91 last season, and also his highest mark as a Jay. His 10 wins and 15 losses also set a new low/high.
His WHIP rose to 1.367 from 1.194 last season, and he walked more hitters per 9 innings, finishing with 3.3 per/9 as opposed to 2.6 the year before. Across the board, Dickey was just a little bit worse than the year before, and for a team with a smaller margin for error and stronger rotation options, he was left off the playoff roster.
On Thursday it was announced that Dickey had signed a 1 year, 8 million dollar contract to join the Atlanta Braves. The contract includes a 7.5 million dollar option for 2018, which is a solid coupe for the now 42-year-old.
Due to the fact that the throws a knuckleball as his primary pitch, Dickey may very well end up pitching two more seasons, taking him to 44 years old. The knuckleball does not put the same stress on a pitcher’s arm, and Dickey has only thrown 1883.2 career innings, a relatively small number for a 42 year old pitcher. He didn’t become a full time MLB starter until 2010 at 35 years old, so his arm may have some miles left on it.
The veteran also returns to the NL East where he won the Cy Young award in 2012 as a member of the Mets, with a 20-6 record and a 2.73 ERA.
Other Toronto Blue Jays ‘Year in Review’ Profiles:
Michael Saunders Ryan Goins Ezequiel Carrera Joe Biagini
Chris Colabello Aaron Loup Kevin Pillar Melvin Upton Jr.
Justin Smoak Francisco Liriano Ryan Tepera Devon Travis
J.A. Happ Roberto Osuna Marcus Stroman Jason Grilli
Aaron Sanchez Dalton Pompey