Speaking ill of R.A. Dickey is considered blasphemy among many Mets fans. Over the past two seasons, Dickey has not only been one of the most consistent pitchers on the staff, but also one of the most colorful characters, entertaining fans on his Twitter account and scaling mountains for charity. In dire times for the Amazins, it is difficult to think that the knuckleballer might be traded, but it is a real possibility.
Since joining the Mets in 2010, Dickey has been remarkably consistent for a knuckleball pitcher. In 383 innings, Dickey owns a 3.08 ERA and 1.209 WHIP, along with a 2.48 K/BB, 0.7 HR/9 and 1.12 ground ball to fly ball ratio. He’s also shown the ability to work deep into games, averaging 6.6 innings pitcher per game started, and has always kept his team in games; out of his 58 starts as a Met, he’s given up five runs or more just nine times, six runs or more only five times and seven runs or more just once (in that game, he allowed seven runs exactly).
Dickey has also proven to be an asset in the field, saving five runs in 2010 and eight in 2011, in addition to picking off five runners. He’s also shown an ability to handle the bat, recording 21 hits in 130 plate appearances during his Mets career while laying down 16 sacrifice bunts in 21 attempts (to compare, Mike Pelfrey has 25 hits in 297 career PA and 23 sac bunts in 35 attempts). Overall, his contributions have amounted to to fWARs of 2.8 and 2.5 in 2010 and 2011, respectively. So given his success and popularity among fans, why on Earth would Dickey be traded?
For one, the fact that Dickey has had consistent success adds to his value. He isn’t an ace, but would fit well in the middle or back end of the rotation for a contending team looking for an additional arm. Knuckleballers aren’t oftend dealt at the trading deadline given their yearly fluctuations, but if Dickey puts together another solid first half, many teams will likely cast those doubts aside.
Furthermore, Dickey’s contract is very team friendly. He is owed $4.75 million this year with an affordable $5 million club option for 2013. If he was traded at the deadline, the acquiring team would only be paying a paltry amount, and then could either exercise his option for next season or buy out his contract for $300,000. In turn, the Mets would hopefully receive a prospect or two while saving a couple of million bucks this year.
Trading Dickey would likely be an unpopular move among Mets fans, especially given his relatively affordable contract. There is also no guarantee that there will be a market for this services. However, should a market develop, General Manager Sandy Alderson would surely perform his due diligence and explore the options.