Since being drafted in the first round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft as a 21-year-old, R.A. Dickey has endured a career with little-to-no stability as he's failed to both live up to the first-round expectations and more importantly, stick in the majors. As a 35-year-old -- and now a knuckleballer -- Dickey had his best season to date with the Mets last year, and on Saturday night multiple reports indicated that the Mets have reached a two-year agreement with an option for a third year with the right-hander. The deal is worth $7.5 million over those two season, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Dickey had filed an arbitration request for $4.7 million, while the Mets had offered $3.35 mllion. This agreement also buys out his first year of free-agent eligibility.
Amidst the financial turmoil and Dickey's relative inexperience and success at the majors, this seems like a bit of a stretch for GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets. After all, Dickey didn't even break major league camp, making his first start with the big club on May 19.
However, Dickey seems to have revitalized his career as a knuckleballer (a pitch that seems to be improving each year since he began using it in 2005). In fact, statistically speaking, Dickey was not just a remarkable surprise, he was the Mets best pitcher last year, going 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 174.1 innings pitched.
Dickey, 36, is likely to begin the year as the Mets' second or third starter this season, a year in which the Mets will need any kind of innings eater they can get. It will be a challenging year for the Mets, but a second or third starter earning around $4 million a year is a bargain, so long as Dickey remains steady and continues to improve.
Dickey finished last season with just over five strikeouts per nine innings, a very low mark, but for the most part he limits walks and pitches to contact, most of the which is the groundball variety. He gives up very few fly balls for a knuckleballer, only allowing them on 28 percent of the balls hit off him last season.
The Mets are expected to confirm this deal after Dickey completes a physical on Monday.
|2010 - R.A. Dickey||11-9||2.84||1.19||104||42|