R.A. Dickey and Long Term Contracts

By Blaidd Drwg

R.A. Dickey is the reigning Cy Young award winner in the NL. R.A. Dickey has had 2 great and 1 pretty good season in his career. R.A. Dickey is under contract with the Mets for 2013 (making $5 million). R.A. Dickey is looking for a long-term contract from the Mets (I have heard 4 years north of $50 million). R.A. Dickey is 38 years old.

I think Dickey’s success story has been an amazing one. He was a 1st round pick of the Rangers in 1996, was pitching with no ligaments in his elbow, didn’t make his MLB debut until 2001 at age 26, didn’t get another shot at the majors until 2003 at age 28, was generally pretty lousy for most of his career, developed a fast knuckleball, went to the Mets and then finally seemed to be able to get MLB hitters out at age 35, winning the Cy Young last season.

That being said, I really don’t think you want to sign a guy who has a very short track record and is at an age where most pitchers are not really effective. Maybe Dickey will surprise me and be effective well into his 40’s, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it. The other red flag – he had a massive jump in his K rate. His last three seasons, the rate hovered around 5.5/9 IP. Last season, it was 8.9/9 IP. I just see this ending poorly by 2014 or 2015 for any team that signs him to the deal he wants or really anything longer than 2 years.

Post Script: I wrote this article about a week before R.A. Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on 12/17 for 2 high ceiling prospects and Dickey received 2 year, $25 million contract extension, which seems a little high on the dollar side (appearantly to account for the higher tax rate in Canada) but about right on the years.

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