JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU THE PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS FROM THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS’ 2016 SEASON. THIS TIME: R.A. DICKEY
Everybody’s favorite love/hate player – starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, statistically had his worst season as a Toronto Blue Jays starter. This was an important year for Dickey, entering a contract year at the age of 42. Not only did he have to prove his knuckleball was still effective, he also had to prove that age wasn’t catching up to him.
Over the past three seasons, Dickey had solidified himself as an efficient back of the rotation inning eater. Pitching 200IP+ per season, never missing a start, and putting up pretty average numbers in the process. That’s where the value was in Dickey, he was inconsistently one of the most consistent pitchers for the Blue Jays. This season wasn’t that regular “consistency” out of Dickey that we’re used to. His knuckleball would struggle, he wouldn’t go as deep into games as we’re used to in the past, and he finished the season with a very diminished role.
The numbers below don’t bode well for Dickey entering unrestricted free agency.
While it’s tough to find a lot of positives in Dickey’s 2016 campaign, with any pitcher who’s going to put up a decent workload they’re going to break out for the occasional great start. But with a Knuckleball pitcher like Dickey, it was hard for him this season to string together any consistency after a good start. His best outing this season was in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. In that game, he pitched eight innings, didn’t allow a run to cross home plate, walked only one batter, and struck out six. In his next outing against the Rays, he pitched six innings, with five runs coming home (four of them earned), giving up three homers. Dickey’s season was a coin flip, while there was some flashes of greatness, a lot of it was mixed with inconsistency.
Dickey obviously had his worst season statistically as a Blue Jay. Walks per nine innings was 3.34, his worst in over six season, 1.49 HR/9 highest in over 10 seasons, and 169.2IP his lowest since 2010, and the list goes on and on from there.
At the trade deadline, the Blue Jays made a move for Pittsburgh Pirates struggling starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. With increased major league pitching depth, the Blue Jays tried out a six man starting rotation, to help alleviate some of the work load on their young starting pitchers. When the six man rotation was not working, the Blue Jays opted to keep Liriano in the rotation, and move Dickey into the sixth starting role making only three starts in the month of September.
Dickey would be left off the playoff roster, and just like that it seemed as though Dickey’s time with the Blue Jays was over.
As mentioned before, this was a contract year for Dickey. With his diminished role at the end of the season, and the entire starting rotation coming back next season, it’s hard to realistically see Dickey back in a Blue Jays uniform next season. General Manager Ross Atkins, says he’s not shutting the door on any potential free agents. While this is a nice gesture, it’s most likely a very political answer from Atkins. The offseason can come with a ton of unpredictability, jumping to conclusions on free agents is probably not a great idea for any GM.
People have considered, “Why not bring Dickey out of the bullpen, and use him as a sixth starter when necessary?” Dickey out of the Bullpen is a crazy idea, a very walk/home run prone pitcher with a personal catcher coming out of the bullpen doesn’t make much sense. With the Blue Jays having a good amount of Major League pitching depth, it looks like (barring any offseason moves) Joe Biagini will become the Blue Jays sixth stater. Dickey would most likely be demoted again to seventh starter, and is most likely worth more than what a seventh starter will get paid on the open market.
*Since the two fates are linked, check out the Highlights & Lowlights of Dickey’s personal catcher, Josh Thole
Dickey was a very serviceable pitcher for the Blue Jays, a great locker room guy, and a great veteran for a rather young pitching staff. Dickey shouldn’t be remembered for the trade that got him in Toronto, and Noah Syndergaard’s play shouldn’t act as a blinder to Dickey’s strengths, rather he should be remembered for the positives he did bring while he was a Blue Jay.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Keith Allison-flickr-CreativeCommons
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