R.A. Dickey: The Moneyball that Slipped Through the Cracks

21
Dec

Here are four players that all received new contracts this off-season; Anibal Sanchez, Zack Greinke, R.A. Dickey and Edwin Jackson.

Here are their stats for the past 3 seasons

 

Player        W-L         Avg ERA        Avg WHIP      K’s        IP            Avg WAR
Player 1 – 32-32       4.10              1.350            497       597.5      1.22
Player 2 – 39-28       2.95              1.156            468       615.5      4.03
Player 3 – 30-34       3.70              1.296            526       586.3      2.03
Player 4 – 41-25       3.83              1.214            582       603.3      1.98

Here are those four players contracts that they got this off-season (all annual salaries will be escalating, but these are annual averages)

Player A – 4 years, $52 million – $13 million annually
Player B – 6 years, $147 million –  $24.5 million annually
Player C – 5 years, $80 million – $16 million annually
Player D – 2 years, $25 million – $12.5 million annually

Anibal Sanchez is Player 3C, Zack Greinke is Player 4B, Edwin Jackson is Player 3A, R.A. Dickey is Player 2D.

“Moneyball” has found its way into every bit of baseball these days, except when it comes to knuckleballers. R.A. Dickey was signed for a pittance by the Toronto Blue Jays, even though he is the reigning NL Cy Young winner. He got JUST a two year extension, even though history has shown us that pitchers that feature a knuckleball can pitch well into their 40’s. Tim Wakefield being the most obvious comparison.

Tim Wakefield, or any other knuckleballer for that matter, is still not the perfect comparison because of how unique R.A. Dickey has made himself. He invented the power knuckleball, Dickey throws his knuckleball in the 70’s sometimes and in the 80’s when he wants to. It creates a new wrinkle to the knuckler, but it shouldn’t limit his capability to throw much longer than other pitchers. He doesn’t throw any pitches that strain the arm like a curveball or slider does.

Even more importantly, R.A. Dickey CAN’T fall victim to the dreaded need of Tommy Johns surgery  because Dickey doesn’t have the ligament that needs to be repaired by the surgery. This is precisely why he began using the knuckleball in the first place. When his career was failing and he was looking at being out of the league, he developed the trick pitch because he couldn’t beat major league hitters the old fashioned way. I write that with all do appreciation because I am appalled that the reigning N.L. Cy Young winner has been shown such disrespect by the MLB.

Alex Anthopolous has taken a calculated and well deserved risk this off-season, sign a pitcher who has a relatively young arm, that throws a pitch that doesn’t strain the arm and is coming of a career year. He was signed for an annual salary that is well below power pitchers that have performed poorly compared him over the past 3 seasons and roughly the same as Edwin Jackson, a pitcher that is probably a high upside innings eater at best. R.A. Dickey will be worth the money to Blue Jays fans and owners. Enjoy it while you can.

About the author: Colby Rogers

Colby is the Editor-in-Chief, Founder and Lead Contributor to Other League. Also a law student focusing on Labor & Employment law and intersections with law and sports. You can find him on Twitter via @Colby_OL.