Is R.A. Dickey The Real Deal?

Unfortunately for me, the MMO mailbag did not generate as much hype as I thought it would. So at Joe’s suggestion, I’m going to take a shot at a bit of a thought provoker as we all take in this Friday morning.

R.A. Dickey : If you don’t know that name, you should by now. He never had much success as a normal pitcher, so a little while ago, Dickey decided to learn how to throw a knuckleball. He didn’t meet too much success until the age of 35, with our New York Mets.

At the moment, he is 7-4 with a sparkling 2.32 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Fresh off 8.1 shutout innings against the Cardinals, Dickey has looked impressive to pretty much everybody. He varies the speed on his knuckleball while mixing in an 80 MPH fastball, creating a “versatile” knuckle ball pitcher indeed.

He has walked 24 in 93.0 IP, posted 12/14 Quality Starts (<3 Runs, 6.0+ IP), and his ERA would be ranked 4th in the NL if he qualified (He’s only about 10 IP short. For the record, I stole some of these stats from Ed Leyro.)

The question that should now enter the mind of the Mets fanbase : Does R.A. Dickey deserve a long-term deal/contract extension?

The pros are simple. Dickey has looked great, he wouldn’t cost too much, he adds versatility to a rotation, he can eat innings, and he’s shown that he can keep the runs to a minimum.

The cons? Well, the Mets have been burned lately by relying on players who have shown to be successful in short sample sizes. Guys like Maine and Perez were counted on for their good years and they did not live up to expectations once re-signed. In addition, it’s always worrisome to count on a knuckler not named Tim Wakefield and Dickey is an elder statesman of the game at 35.

My personal thoughts? I’d keep him, no doubt, but only as a 5th starter for next year. Most likely, Santana-Pelfrey-Niese will be locked in for next year and I would have no problem with Dickey coming in from the back end. He really shouldn’t cost too much and he’s become somewhat a fan favorite, and not only because his name creates the most entertaining news headlines.

In case you weren’t convinced, read this quote.

“I’ve got to tell you, you can say a lot of things about the 2010 New York Mets, but you don’t ever say we don’t play hard.  I mean, look at Angel Pagan’s uniform and Jose Reyes after a 13–inning heartbreaker last night, coming off a 2–9 road trip.  We don’t give up, and we’re not going to give up… These guys don’t give up and it’s an honor to be on the team.”

And here’s a shot of his starts :