There’s really no good way to move from that to fantasy baseball, but let me say this. If you’re anything like me, you’re the kind of person who best works through tragedies like this one by allowing yourself to focus on other things, even if only for a short period of time. While I am of course keeping the victims, their families, friends, and everyone else impacted by this tragedy in my thoughts and prayers, I also want to give a mental distraction to people who may need one at this time. So, without further adieu…
One of the more captivating stories over the offseason has surrounded the Mets and their Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. Will the Mets lock him up long term, trade him away, just stand pat? If you believe the most recent news, it seems likely that Dickey is on his way out. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News listed the Blue Jays as the front-runner but also called the Orioles, “in the mix”. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Rangers are a possibility.
When looking at a rumor like this, we also have to include the control, which in this case is the New York Mets. Actually, let’s start there.
There are a few obvious positives here. The Mets are a National League team and I’ve said this before, but I think some people overrate that factor at times. But, getting to face a pitcher every day instead of a DH isn’t a bad thing for anyone’s value. It’s also not a bad thing for strikeouts, as many NL pitchers are not only automatic outs, but also virtually automatic Ks.
Also, looking back to a streaming cheat sheet I prepared earlier, you’ll see that Citi Field is the only home park of the possible destination that has a grade favorable to pitchers.
The one thing that would be good about leaving the Mets is that they’re not a good team and it’s hard to imagine a lot of wins coming his way if he stays there. I know, he won 20 games in 2012, clearly being on the Mets didn’t hurt him that much. In 2012, that’s true, but that’s not sustainable.
Remember, the 2012 season didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. In 2011, Dickey had a 3.28 ERA. In 2010, it was 2.84. The 2.73 ERA he posted in 2012 is great, but doesn’t break too much from the recent norm. In 2010 and 2011, he won a combined 19 games. In 2012, he won 20. The Mets are still a team with a lot of holes and play in a really tough division (though the Marlins did make it a lot easier), it’s hard to imagine a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 having a 20-game winner on it two years in a row.
Also, Dickey kind of breaks normal trends in evaluating pitcher’s fantasy values. The knuckleball is such a unique pitch that it doesn’t really matter if he’s pitching in a pitcher’s park or a hitter’s paradise. If it’s on, he won’t allow a lot of runs. If it’s not, he will. The park factor there is minimal. The best thing to really look at here is wins. In that regard, fantasy owners should want a trade, because winning 20 games again for a mediocre team is almost impossible.
It’s not that I’m expecting the Orioles to be horrible in 2013, but I am expecting a regression. Some things just aren’t sustainable. For example:
- A 43-29 record against an AL East with teams like the two bottom finishers (Blue Jays and Red Sox) each making improvements in the offseason.
- A 29-9 record in one-run games.
- A 16-2 record in extra innings.
Those are statistical anomalies on par with Dickey winning 20 games in this day and age for a 74-88 team. They’re just not going to happen again. I am not saying that the Orioles won’t at least be competitive for a playoff spot again, but I think they’ll be closer to about 85 wins than 93.
Their park is fine for pitchers when compared to Toronto and Texas, but it’s not a good one. In terms of win-loss record, I like Dickey’s chances better in Baltimore than with the Mets, but I can’t quite put them at the level of the next two teams.
Texas seems like a team rumored for everyone, but they haven’t really hooked a big fish yet. Justin Upton is still in Arizona. Mike Napoli is headed to Boston, while Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton each went to a Southern California team. Hamilton of course hurts extra, as he was a Ranger. Throw that loss in with Michael Young, and it’s hard to see the Rangers getting much better unless they make some headway in what’s left of the offseason.
The end of the last season did not look like a fluke. It reminded me of what happened to the Red Sox at the end of 2011 and the Yankees in the 2012 postseason. All of their cornerstone players began to look very old all at once. Yes, they still have Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, but much of the foundation that took them to the American League Championship in 2010 and 2011 is gone.
This is a team that won 90 games in 2010, 96 in 2011, and 93 in 2012. Like the Orioles, I am not saying they’ll be bad, but I don’t think that’s sustainable without making some more improvements. They can do that but if things hold as they currently are, fantasy owners shouldn’t be overly excited about Dickey moving to Texas.
Other than the Mets, this is the only team on the list not to make the playoffs in 2012. Actually, they finished the 2012 season with a record one game worse than the Mets.
There’s a difference though. The Mets offseason has consisted mainly of locking David Wright up and if this trade goes through, trading R.A. Dickey. In case you didn’t know, the Blue Jays added some people. Looking just at the bats, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, and Melky Cabrera will all be playing in the Great White North in 2013. If I had to guess, I’d say that that group, along with a returning Jose Bautista, would be worth at least one extra win.
Like with Baltimore, pitching in the AL East won’t be a good thing but again, it all comes down to the knuckleball. If it’s on, he’ll be fine. Tim Wakefield pitched in that division for years and somehow made it work.
Because of all that they accomplished in the 2013 offseason, I like where the Blue Jays are situated. It’s tough between them and Texas, but this would be the best trade for Dickey’s fantasy owners.
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