An Undervalued Superstar

The baseball market is an interesting place, poisoned by the once outlandish claims of the Yankees and the overall change in player value these days. We fear giving players contracts for the short term in their old age, yet we will gladly sign stars well into their late thirties at ridiculous salaries to get them in their prime. I could go on about my issues with the way players are valued these days, but I wanted to focus on two specific men. Take a look at these combined stats from 2010-2012 of two different players.

Player A: 39-28, 2.95 E.R.A. with 8 CG and 4 SHO. 616.2 IP, 559 H allowed, 225 R (202 ER), 55 HR, 150 BB, 468 K, 1.150 WHIP, 8.2 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9.

Player B: 41-25, 3.83 E.R.A., with 3 CG and 0 SHO. 604.0 IP, 580 H allowed, 280 R (257 ER), 55 HR, 154 BB, 582 K, 1.215 WHIP, 8.6 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.3 BB/9.

Did you figure it out? Here’s a hint. Player A is under contract to his team for $5 MM next year, while Player B just netted himself a six-year, $147 MM contract. In the past three years, RA Dickey has basically matched or surpassed all the numbers that Zack Greinke has put up. Does it not really make you appreciate the kind of player we have here?

Here is something else to take notice of. The run support numbers from ’10-’12 (4.00 / 3.81 / 4.61) average out to 4.14 runs per game for RA while Greinke checks in (3.45 / 5.11 / 4.91) at 4.49. The difference is small, but it shows that they both got around the same run support while also having the same amount of unearned runs behind them (23).

RA is a special case, and I know that nobody is going to be doling out six-year deals to 38-year old knuckleballers. But if other teams do not respect the talent we have here, it makes sense to sign him to whatever extension is being thrown out there. To be honest, I would much prefer that than to see RA go. I have really become attached to him. The issue is that our team is in pseudo-rebuilding mode, and keeping Dickey only seems makes sense if they plan to compete soon…and from the looks of it, they do not.

Regardless, I think it is fair to throw some kudos in Dickey’s direction. With all the crap he is getting for “using a gimmick pitch” or being too old to an extension, I say let the public talk. It is my humble opinion that RA Dickey will pitch just as well, if not better, than Zack Greinke in the following three years.

We should sign RA to the extension that he is asking for. Supposedly, it is 2/26 on top of the $5 MM option for next year. 2/26 is what Ryan Dempster got from the Red sox, for god’s sake. I doubt that the trade interests of teams will be changed so significantly by the extension, and it works out in a positive way for the Mets. Dickey can still be shopped with the extension or during the length of the contract, and it will be a win-win for both sides in my eyes. 2/26 already looks miles better than 6/147…and that image will only improve as time goes on.

Here is one last thing to think about… In 2018, when Greinke will be turning 35, he will get paid $24 MM. We are pretty lucky if RA is asking for $26 million over two years while Greinke will be picking up a similar amount in 2018 for one season.