R.A. Dickey has been a cornerstone of the New York Mets’ early success during the 2012 season. While he had pitched well in the previous two seasons, nobody was expecting a sub-3.00 ERA, thirteen wins and an All-Star appearance. His success has presented the Mets with a dilemma, and the team must decide whether to keep Dickey or trade him.
* How will the Mets perform?
The Mets were one of the surprise teams of the first half of 2012. With surprising batting and a good starting pitchers, the Mets spent much of the first half of the season second only to the Washington Nationals in the National League East division. The beginning of the second half of the season, however, has gone poorly. Now below .500 and in third place, the Mets appear to have only an outside shot of making the playoffs. Most experts expect a few Mets to be traded and some young prospects to join the squad.
* Dickey’s trade value
Dickey’s trade value is a bit hard to accurately gauge, and it is likely that teams will have vastly different ratings for his value; factors are more challenging to gauge than a typical credit card comparison. On the downside, he will be 38 in October. Further, his stellar performance is a recent development. Over his career, Dickey holds an average 4.14 ERA.
On the plus side, Dickey’s pitching style mitigates the disadvantages of his age. A knuckleballer such as Dickey does not depend on arm strength to pitch well, and knuckleball pitchers can often pitch well into mid-40s. Further, Dickey should be able to deliver upwards of 200 innings of work if he continues to pitch well. On the whole, most experts agree that Dickey’s upside outweighs his negatives.
With Zack Greinke, a two month rental, recently being traded for a kings ransom that included the Angels’ #1, #4 and #9 ranked prospects, it certainly gives one pause to at least consider what the future value of Dickey’s trade return can mean to the organization. Especially with the goal for fielding an actual contender being closer to the year 2015 than it is to 2012. The shortstop the Brewers got back, Jean Segura is ranked No. 55 in the 2012 Top 100 by Baseball America. To put that into perspective, Matt Harvey was ranked No. 54.
* Will the Mets make the trade?
Like making a business credit card comparison, the Mets must tabulate the advantages and disadvantages of retaining Dickey. As time passes, fewer experts are predicting a trade. While his trade value justifies making a move, his future value seems to outweigh his payroll cost and the young prospects the trade would bring. Once the Mets are again a competitive team, Dickey will still be young enough to make an impact, and his veteran status will help him guide a team of young players.
Further, fans have fallen in love with Dickey, and the Mets are reluctant to trade away fan favorites after the struggles of recent seasons.
Trade decisions are never easy, just as critical office decisions are tough for any business. The Mets will likely remain conflicted about what to do with Dickey up until the July 31st trade deadline. Mets fans who want Dickey to remain will be pleased with recent developments, but the possibility of a team making an offer that is too good to pass for the cash-strapped management still remains.
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