While it might seem like a strange fit, 42-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey might be able to help the New York Yankees in 2017.
Ever have an idea that seems so ludicrous, you decide to keep it to yourself? But then you start to think about it, and it actually makes some sense? I had an idea like that recently, and the more I ponder it, the better it sounds.
For weeks, I’ve been mulling over the biggest issue with the Yankees most recent pitching staff. It appears that outside of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees starters all had trouble giving the team quality innings.
You saw it all year long. Whether it’s Michael Pineda, or C.C., the starting staff seemed to run out of gas early. This taxes their bullpen. The earlier the Bombers go to the bullpen, the worse the outcome.
These are the innings usually reserved for guys like Blake Parker, or whichever borderline pitcher they have traveling back and forth from Scranton. A solution to this problem would be to find a veteran starter who can go a little deeper.
One name that initially made me question my sanity, but now doesn’t seem so far fetched is one Robert Allen Dickey. R.A. turns 42 this month and has hinted at retirement. Does he have another year or two left?
Prior to 2016, Dickey pitched 200-plus innings in five consecutive seasons. Despite dipping down to 169 innings this year, the likliehood of him giving close to 200 innings next year is pretty high. After all, he’s primarily a knuckleball pitcher. Phil Niekro, a Hall Of Famer who won 318 games throwing a knuckleball, pitched until he was almost 50.
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While signing Dickey would seem to go against the Yankees current youth movement, it would most likely be for only a year or two. The money it would take to sign him would not exactly break the bank either. It isn’t the most glamourous name out there, but he could serve an important purpose: he can eat up a lot of innings.
The 2017 Yankees season will most likely be used to evaluate the teams’ young talent and where they fit going forward. Next years’ free agent class is a major upgrade over the present one. I imagine that’s when the front office will get more aggressive.
Until then, if they want to compete, they’ll need someone who can bridge the gap. More importantly, someone who can consistently get past the sixth inning. R.A. Dickey might not make any Yankee fans wish list, but he still won a CY Young award as recently as 2012. Plus, he’ll most likely give you those innings. Something guys like Michael Pineda won’t give you.