R.A. Dickey had a phenomenal season in 2010 and ended up being one of the few highlights of an otherwise dismal year. After finishing his first season with the Mets by going 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA, in 174 innings pitched, he is now eligible for arbitration, although the knuckleballer doesn’t want it to come to that.
“The last thing I want is an arbitration hearing,” Dickey told the Daily News. “Going into a room and hearing them say something bad about you just isn’t a desirable situation. They can beat you up pretty good. I hope they don’t want that as much as I don’t.”
The previous administration had a good record of avoiding arbitration hearings with their players, but it’s too early to say how the new regime led by Sandy Alderson will proceed. It’s clear Dickey would prefer to avoid a battle, but unless the Mets start negotiating with him that’s exactly where things could be headed.
Dickey earned between $650,000 and $750,000 in 2010 and could likely triple that amount next season.
I found some of Dickey’s other quotes in the Daily News article to be quite telling.
Dickey doesn’t agree that the 2011 season should be a bridge year to 2012 and beyond. He understands that the new front office is reluctant to spend, but doesn’t believe that so many pieces are needed to be legitimate contenders this season. He believes that the Mets already have a strong core and that other players feel the same way.
“Look at who is already on our team: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Mike Pelfrey, K-Rod… That’s a darn good group to start with. We’re talking All-Stars… Now you add Angel Pagan, who just had an incredible season, and Ike Davis was very good and bound to get better. I talk to Pelfrey a lot and we’re both very optimistic about what this team can be this season. This can be the genesis of a very special season.”
Like most readers here on MMO, Dickey acknowledges that the loss of Pedro Feliciano was a big blow and that he will be hard to replace, but hopes that maybe someone will emerge.
“It’s a real TBD,” Dickey said. “That’s a huge piece to try to replace. It doesn’t mean no one else can do that job. There could be someone. Who knew what I could do?”
Dickey also understands his role in improving on last season to help makeup for the loss of Johan Santana.
“If you compare it to other rotations, we may not have the eye-popping names like Florida and Philadelphia and Atlanta,” he said, “but this is a very capable group. I think we can do much better and I’m willing to say that starts with me.”
Despite his many other talents, Dickey has emerged as a leader both on and off the field. The veteran knuckleballer will anchor a very young rotation that will include Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.
Earlier this month, I wrote that it will be interesting to hear what the players will say about this offseason’s patient and reserved approach during mini camp in January, but it looks like some feedback is already trickling in.
Last week, Wright, who has never been critical of any administration, continued to play the part of the good soldier and spoke glowingly of the new manager and GM and the new approach that is preaching patience in 2011. Dickey, on the other hand, seems more like a guy who’s just watching everything and scratching his head a little.