R.A. Dickey tipped his cap to the minimal crowd at Citi Field Tuesday night after tossing 6.2 innings against his former team. Seems like yesterday when Dickey with the knuckleball had that career year with the Mets in 2012 with a 20-6 record and 2.73 ERA.
Remember, that was also his CY Young Award and NL All-Star year, but the Mets and Dickey parted ways for the future and acquired catcher Travis d’Arnaud and righthander Noah Syndergaard. Dickey took the deal and went to Toronto.
Of course it’s the knuckleball ,and Dickey pitched shutout ball for six innings, that is until Kevin Plawecki reached him for a two-run homer in the seventh inning off the knuckleball that was hit to left-center field off a 2-2 pitch.
He said, “Kind of rolled up there and he barreled it. That was really the ballgame for me, was giving up that two-run home run. If that doesn’t happen, if I get a call here or there, I’m pitching into the ninth. I had really good stuff.”
And if Dickey was still here, there would be no Noah Syndergaard, who by the way was supposed to be the second player in the deal. Travis d’Arnaud was the touted prospect and a catcher the Mets were hoping would take them places but that has yet to be proved.
Which bring up the scenario, and with Dickey contemplating retirement in a walk-off year, would it be wise for the Mets to take another chance with R.A. Dickey? A fan favorite who can give a team innings, and of course with a knuckleball that still has some value, could be worth it at a minimal price.
Dickey was asked the question about another stint in New York after the Mets ninth inning walk-off 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. He would not comment about his future and said it was about possibly getting one final start when the Braves conclude their season down in Miami this weekend.
And when looking at next year, the Mets starting rotation will be set, all pending of course if Matt Harvey is still around and healthy. Also the recovery of Steven Matz is vital as Noah Syndergaard appears to be on the way back and Jacob deGrom will no doubt be the ace after throwing 200 innings this year.
But one veteran would fill the void and why not R.A. Dickey? The Mets can’t depend on a healthy Zach Wheeler. Robert Gsellman is not a viable starter and Seth Lugo has that potential, but you add Dickey to the mix and you have that extra and valuable arm.
Of course it’s about getting younger, and Dickey certainly does not fit that role. However, after a dismal and ugly season of 2017, something new and a revival would be a good mix at Citi Field.
There was that love affair with Mets fans and after his fifth start against his former team there still was that emotion. The Braves are in a youth movement and with three young lefthanders, Dickey may not be in their mix to earn another contract.
“It’s great coming back here,” said Dickey. “I have a lot of history here. This is a place where I really resurrected my career so there’s some poetry to throwing well here, especially one of the last outings of the year. It was nice to tip my hat to a bunch of fans who really supported me while I was here and beyond being here.”
That sounds like the love affair is still there with R.A. Dickey and Mets fans. Citi Field is also his comfort zone with 49 career starts and a 2.78 ERA.
Dickey said the future is uncertain. But you never know as this reunion could be a good one-year deal for the Mets that need a veteran presence on the mound and in the clubhouse.
And he can still pitch with a weapon.
The knuckleball can last a long time for a pitcher. R.A. Dickey has decisions to make, as do the Mets, and crazier things have happened when teams like the Braves and Mets continue with that transition to be where they want to be.