Tag: RA Dickey

R.A. Dickey Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Blue Jays P

The Toronto Blue Jays’ new front office is not resting on its laurels following the team’s playoff appearance last season, with starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reportedly available in a trade. 

Jeff Blair of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reported that Dickey is “in play” for a possible deal if the Blue Jays find the right match. 

Continue for updates. 

Blue Jays’ Pitching Surplus

Saturday, Jan. 9

The Blue Jays exercised Dickey’s $12 million option for 2016 in November. It’s the final year of the deal he signed prior to the 2013 season. 

The 41-year-old has been a reliable presence in Toronto’s rotation, with 101 combined starts covering 681.2 innings over the past three seasons, though he’s been unable to reach the heights of his Cy Young season in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets. 

New Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro is accustomed to making long-term decisions. He came over from Cleveland, where significant payroll restrictions forced him to trade marquee players to keep the talent pipeline fresh. 

Shapiro has helped the Blue Jays acquire a lot of pitching depth this offseason, re-signing Marco Estrada, trading for Jesse Chavez and signing free agent J.A. Happ to go along with Dickey, Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison. 

The team has picked the action back up recently, with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reporting Friday it traded Ben Revere to Washington for Drew Storen. 

Given Dickey’s age and contract status, it’s understandable why the Blue Jays would explore his market now to try to add a player who can provide impact at another area of need (left field) or a prospect who can play a role in their long-term future.

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R.A. Dickey: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Pitcher’s Future with Blue Jays

R.A. Dickey struggled mightily with a 7.11 ERA in two postseason starts for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he apparently did enough during the last three seasons to convince his team to pick up the 2016 option on his contract.

Continue for updates.

Dickey Reportedly Likely to Pitch for Blue Jays Next Season

Wednesday, Oct. 28

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Blue Jays will exercise the $12 million option on Dickey’s deal this offseason. The 2016 campaign would be Dickey’s fourth with the team.   

He finished with a 3.91 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 126 strikeouts in 214.1 innings this season. That was his lowest strikeout total since the 2010 campaign, when he struck out 104 in 174.1 innings. That could perhaps be reason for concern since he turns 41 years old Thursday, but he is a knuckleball pitcher who theoretically doesn’t put as much force on his arm as someone who throws 95-plus mph fastballs.

Dickey is not that far removed from a tremendous 2012 season, when he won the National League Cy Young Award with the New York Mets with a 20-win season, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and a career-high 230 strikeouts.

That campaign caught the Blue Jays’ attention, and they traded a package that included Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard to New York to acquire the right-hander the following offseason.

Toronto likely wants to get as much as it can from Dickey given how much it gave up to secure his services, so it apparently plans on keeping him around in 2016.

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Toronto Blue Jays: With Donaldson Addition, Jays Can Win AL East

The Toronto Blue Jays made big news late last week, executing a blockbuster trade with the Oakland A’s, receiving Josh Donaldson in exchange for Brett Lawrie and three prospects.

This comes after the Jays shelled out $82 million for free agent catcher Russell Martin on November 20. 

Continuing the philosophy that general manager Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of the front office have implemented recently, the Blue Jays want to win now.  The Yankees, Red Sox and Rays all struggled last year, but Toronto wasn’t able to capitalize, finishing 83-79 and third in the AL East.

However, they were without one of their best hitters for most of 2014.  Edwin Encarnacion played in only 128 games because of a quad injury he suffered in Baltimore in July, and Brett Lawrie missed over half the season.  Those two injuries caused the Jays to have to shuffle a variety of mediocre players at the corner infield positions.

But with Donaldson, who is one of the most consistent players in the game over the past two seasons, the Blue Jays offense has the potential to be among the most productive in the league.

Shortstop Jose Reyes starts it off at the top of the order, giving them a steady leadoff hitter when healthy.  Even though he has lost a step at age 31, he still stole 30 of 32 attempts in 2014 and got on base at a solid .328 clip.  If he can find a way to stay on the field for 140 to 150 games, he has the skills to be one of the best leadoff hitters in the MLB.

If Reyes can get on base on a regular basis, he will have no trouble scoring an abundance of runs.  Jose Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson comprise one of the scariest 3-4-5 hearts of the order in the game.  Manager John Gibbons has not yet announced where he plans to place Donaldson in the lineup, but I assume it will be either third, in front of Bautista and Encarnacion, or fifth, behind the two power studs.

And, if the Jays choose to re-sign Melky Cabrera, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted that they were interested, he would occupy the second spot, and Toronto would have arguably the best top of the order in all of baseball.  

Bautista and Encarnacion are monsters.  Bautista has averaged better than 37 home runs and 93 RBI in the past five years, and Encarnacion has averaged the same number of homers and 104 RBI.  Even when Encarnacion missed more than 30 games last year, he still managed to record 34 dingers.

Donaldson thinks along the same lines.  He was very optimistic about his new opportunity in Toronto.

“You start looking at the capability of this lineup and the potential that it brings,” Donaldson told the Associated Press via ESPN.com.  “I’m going to venture to say there’s probably not going to be another lineup as potent as this in major league baseball.”

Not only will the team be more potent with the addition of the All-Star third baseman, but Donaldson’s power numbers should rise significantly playing in his new home park. 

In a recent article in the New York Daily News, Bill Madden quoted a veteran scout saying this about Josh Donaldson:

Donaldson, with his righthanded power, could be a monster in the AL East.  Just think about it — he’s trading home games in Oakland for home games in Toronto, as well as 19 games in Seattle for 19 games in Boston and Baltimore, each.  It’s a great pickup for them and you’ve got to love their lineup now.

Madden is talking about the reputation of the AL East ballparks being more hitter-friendly than AL West ballparks.  Toronto, Boston and Baltimore are known for dramatically raising power numbers, while Seattle and Oakland are where power hitters go to die.

The Blue Jays are a team on the rise, a talented roster that has not yet been able to put anything together.  They have not played in a postseason game in 21 years, the longest active streak in the MLB.

So it is pretty safe to assume that the Toronto offense is going to be very good, but they could use some help in the pitching department.  They have a decent starting rotation consisting of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchinson, but they need to add an arm or two to the back end of the bullpen.

Even though they let Casey Janssen, their closer the past three seasons, walk in free agency, they are back in contention for his services, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star

They hope top prospect Daniel Norris can contribute at the big league level in 2015, but it’s nearly impossible to project how he would perform out of the bullpen.

As they are now, the Blue Jays have added enough hitting help to improve their record by at least a handful of victories.  But if they can add a pitcher via trade or free agency or find a hidden gem in their farm system, the Jays have what it takes to end their playoff drought. 

And who knows, maybe they can be 2015’s version of the Kansas City Royals.

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R.A. Dickey Injury: Updates on Blue Jays SP’s Groin and Return

The Toronto Blue Jays were thrown a bit of a knuckleball on Saturday evening.

Toronto starting pitcher R.A. Dickey left his start against the Baltimore Orioles after an apparent groin injury hampered the former Cy Young Award winner.

Scott MacArthur of TSN reported Dickey’s injury:

Anthony Rieber of Newsday offered more insight into the injury:

Dickey’s season has been a bit rocky despite his current 6-4 record. Coming into Saturday’s outing, Dickey held a 4.20 ERA with just 68 strikeouts and 38 walks during that span.

While the season has been far from stellar for Dickey, his outing against the Orioles was going well before the injury, as Barry Davis of Sportsnet points out:

Dickey spoke recently about his season, sharing his thoughts with Megan Robinson of Sportsnet:

This isn’t the first injury of Dickey’s career. Back in 2012, the same season he won the Cy Young, Dickey was suffering from an abdominal tear that he still pitched through.

With his team currently in the lead in the AL East with a 40-30 record heading into Saturday, having Dickey back on the mound will be crucial. Following a good outing that was derailed by the injury, he might be finally turning the corner after a slow start to the year.

The New York Yankees are currently riding a four-game winning streak and are once again nipping at the Blue Jays’ heels. Following the series with the Orioles, the Jays will travel to New York to tangle with the Yankees.

There is no word yet on the extent of the injury, but missing a start against the Cincinnati Reds next weekend or the Yankees the following week could be a minor setback for the former ace.


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R.A. Dickey Changes Game Plans as Blue Jays Shut out the Yankees, 4-0

In his first two starts as Toronto Blue Jays ace this season, R.A. Dickey has already shown how low and high things can go when a team’s fortunes are riding on the most mercurial pitch in baseball—the knuckleball. 

His nadir came on Opening Day when the Tampa Bay Rays jumped on Dickey early, scored six runs off him and cruised to an easy 9-2 victory. 

That game had been billed as a pitching duel between two former Cy Young winners—Rays starter David Price won the American League honor in 2012, and Dickey took home the National League hardware in the same year when he was pitching with the Mets.

Price played the part, but Dickey was far from top form.

Dickey lobbed knuckleballs over the plate in attempt to get ahead in the count, but the Rays were aggressive and pounced on multiple early offerings. That seemed to throw Dickey off, and he started missing the strike zone entirely, which led to a career-tying six walks.

At 39, Dickey is a wily veteran and as one of the most cerebral players in the game, he seemed eager to go back to the drawing board for his second start. Against the Yankees, he clearly had a new game plan.

Dickey threw some high, hard knuckleballs early in counts and added some slow floaters in a frenetic mix that had Yankee batters swinging off-balance. New York managed only five hits in Dickey’s 6.2 innings. Dickey also added a walk and a hit batter to an otherwise impressive stat sheet, which included five strikeouts.

Dickey’s battery mate, catcher Josh Thole, drove in a run in the second inning, so Dickey and Yankee starter Michael Pineda were locked in a 1-0 pitching duel for much of the game.

Both starters had left the game by the seventh inning, and in the eighth the Jays turned on the power: Melky Cabrera hit a solo shot, and Jose Bautista drove in Colby Rasmus with a two-run homer.  

Sergio Santos finished off the shutout for the Jays in the ninth.

A knuckleball pitcher throwing a dizzying mix of fast and slow stuff, and a power-laden lineup coming through late in games: While this recipe may not be predictable (or reliable), it will surely be anything but bland.

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R.A. Dickey’s Amazing Life Story Optioned for Potential Movie

R.A. Dickey has played the part of beguiling knuckleball artist to the tune of a Cy Young Award. However, if all goes according to plan, his entire life could just captivate a movie audience. 

Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming Jr. (h/t CBS Sports, For the Win) reports initial proceedings are underway to turn Dickey’s Wherever I Wind Up memoir into a Hollywood retelling. 

Actors Ben McKenzie and Logan Marshall-Green have joined forces to launch the shingle A Thing Or Two Productions. They come to the table in a big way. Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has made a deal on a baseball memoir which the duo will produce with Michael De Luca. TriStar has optioned Wherever I Wind Up, the memoir by pitcher R.A. Dickey about his unusual life journey. Buzz Bissinger has been set to write the script. It becomes another eclectic project for Rothman’s upstart division.

Bissinger’s work spans a wide swath of publications, but he may be most famous for his work Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, which later became a movie and hit television series. 

Baseball fans may be well acquainted with the subject matter of Dickey’s life. The Toronto Blue Jays pitcher struggled last season but was absolutely brilliant in 2012, winning the NL Cy Young after posting 20 wins and a 2.73 ERA. 

It’s the journey that led him to that pinnacle that really resonates with fans and more than likely enthralled Hollywood to come calling. 

Fleming writes: 

His memoir was critically acclaimed as he told a tale of overcoming adversity that included being molested as an 8-year old and nearly losing his dream of becoming a pro pitcher. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers and offered a huge signing bonus, only to see the latter get taken away when the team discovered that Dickey was missing an important ligament in his pitching elbow. 

In a 2012 Sports Illustrated interview, Dickey relayed to L. Jon Wertheim on his initial throes into writing his memoir: “I had to write what was true, even if it meant going to some dark places.”

If the movie makes its way to the screen, one can assume it will be as honest a script as possible. In the same interview, Dickey offers about his own memoir, “I couldn’t share my story and not share the most difficult parts of it. As a reader, I can tell when someone is skating around the truth.”

Fleming reports Dickey had other offers, but McKenzie (The O.C., Southland, Gotham) and Marshall-Green (Devil, Prometheus) decided it was best to meet the star pitcher in person, which paid off handsomely for the duo and their budding production company. 

There is no guarantee that Dickey’s tale makes it to the big screen. With a poignant and gripping story that already inspires, you have to absolutely love its chances. 

It’s the honesty that grabs fans regardless of their allegiances, so a story so enthralling deserves its day in movie theaters around the country. 


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Will We Witness the End of the R.A. Dickey Fairy Tale in 2013?

Last year, R.A. Dickey was a walking, talking reminder of one of the coolest realities of baseball: Anyone can excel at it. Even knuckleballers in their late-30s who have spent the majority of their careers fending off irrelevancy.

Now here we are in 2013, and Dickey is a walking, talking reminder of one of the not-so-great realities of baseball: Glory in this sport can be fleeting. Dreams that come true can come untrue in a hurry.

But I wouldn’t panic about Dickey. Not yet, anyway. It’s too early, and he’s not broken.

The numbers certainly look bad. Dickey has made three starts for the Toronto Blue Jays, and he owns a 5.82 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. Opposing hitters have an .889 OPS against him.

This is a guy who had a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and .640 opponent OPS in a Cy Young campaign for the New York Mets last year. As spectacular as it was, though, it did have an out-of-nowhere vibe to it. Hence the reason we (admittedly meaning I) can even begin to ponder doomsday scenarios.

But then there’s this reality: Dickey wasn’t so great through three starts last year either.

He was pretty bad, actually, as he boasted a 5.71 ERA, a 1.70 WHIP and a 1.019 opponent OPS. Those numbers were largely inflated by an eight-run, three-homer stinker against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 18, but they were discouraging all the same.

Dickey’s slow start to the 2012 season obviously didn’t end up mattering. He had a 2.50 ERA the rest of the way, winning 18 of the 20 games that helped earn him the Cy Young.

A deeper dive helps reveal why Dickey’s slow start last season didn’t end up mattering. If one looks at how he actually pitched, one will see some consistency between his first two starts, which were good, and his third start, which was bad.

Everything in the following graph is from FanGraphs with the exception of Dickey’s overall strike percentage (Strike%) and looking-strike percentage (LookStr%), which come courtesy of his 2012 Game Log on Baseball-Reference.com. The “2012” row is where Dickey ended the season in each category.

If you’re lost on the lingo here, here’s what you need to know. “F-Strike%” is first-pitch strike percentage. “Zone%” is the percentage of pitches inside the strike zone, in this case according to Baseball Info Solutions.  “SwStr%” is swinging-strike percentage. “Swing%” is just what it sounds like, and “O-Swing%” is the percentage of pitches swung at outside the strike zone.

Add it all up, and what you can see is that Dickey was pretty consistent in the way he pitched in his first three starts last year. He got ahead in the count, found the zone and got hitters to swing at his pitches.

In the end, the numbers he compiled in those first three starts proved to be eerily similar to the numbers he finished with. That’s as good an indication as any that Dickey was locked in from Day 1 last year.

So what happened in that stinker against the Braves on April 18?

That’s where BrooksBaseball.net can help. I can’t repost the graph here, but go take a look at Dickey’s at-bat results in that start and where the pitches were. What you’ll notice is that two of the three homers he gave up were on pitches up in the zone.

That’s the old knuckleball saying at work: When it’s low, let it go. When it’s high, let it fly. Dickey’s unlike any knuckleballer any of us have ever seen, but he’s still going to live and die by the unpredictability of the pitch itself as much as the next knuckleballer.

And that’s also what makes Dickey’s disappointing returns early this season so hard to diagnose. 

I’ll break things down further in just a second, but for now take a look at this graph. It contains the same sort of information as the one above, except for Dickey’s first three starts this year. It also shows how his numbers so far this year compare to his numbers from 2012.

There’s some consistency here, but overall the numbers aren’t on par with the numbers Dickey put up last year. That suggests that there’s something legitimately wrong with his pitching, with the main problem being his inability to consistently throw the ball in the strike zone.

But it’s not so simple. Each of Dickey’s three starts tells a different tale.

Against the Cleveland Indians, you can see that Dickey wasn’t getting ahead in the count with first-pitch strikes that much. That gave Indians hitters an excuse to be patient against him, and you can see by the Swing% and O-Swing% columns that they did a fine job of that.

But Dickey also got squeezed. The credit goes to Chris Cwik of RotoGraphs for noticing this first, but BrooksBaseball.net can show that three of the four walks Dickey issued against the Indians came on pitches that were in the strike zone. Those missed calls made life more difficult for Dickey than it should have been.

Against the Boston Red Sox, Dickey had a day sort of like the one he had against the Braves last April 18. He gave up a couple jacks to Will Middlebrooks, and the BrooksBaseball.net graphs show that they came on pitches too high up in the strike zone. A couple of the other hits he gave up also came on pitches up in the zone.

So Dickey’s first two starts basically saw him get burned by the unpredictability of the knuckleball. That happened to him during his Cy Young campaign, and it’s going to happen to him this year. It’s just unfortunate that it happened in his first two starts when expectations were so high.

It’s the start Dickey made against the Kansas City Royals, however, that was the weird one.

It was Dickey’s best start of the young season, as he held the Royals to just one run over 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits, walked two (a perfectly acceptable number) and struck out four.

When I first saw Dickey’s small Zone% and big O-Swing% for that start, I had it pegged as a fluke. What happened seemed to be him benefiting from facing an overly aggressive lineup rather than him actually pitching well.

The Royals offense fits that bill. Their offense ranks 26th in the league in walk percentage and is in the top 10 in the league in Swing% (see FanGraphs).

But then I noticed that PITCHf/x had Dickey’s Zone% for his start against the Royals at 47 percent. There’s a huge difference between that and Baseball Info Solutions’ 37 percent, so what gives?

Once again, the BrooksBaseball.net data can help. It shows that Dickey wasn’t in the strike zone that much, but he was around the strike zone quite a bit. He got some borderline strikes and a few outs on pitches that weren’t quite in the strike zone, but close enough. 

Dickey wasn’t as wild and thus didn’t get as lucky as the 37 percent Zone% figure would indicate. And if you switch that figure out for the 47 percent figure that PITCHf/x came up with, then it looks like Dickey is as much on the right track as his actual results against the Royals suggest he is.

Lest you think there’s something wrong with Dickey’s knuckleball, think some more. There’s no telling what defines a “right” knuckleball from one pitch to the next. It’s not supposed to move the same way twice, and that’s the whole point. A knuckleball that barely budges can fool a hitter just as well as a knuckleball that moves all over the place. 

And lest you think this has something to do with Dickey’s transition over from the National League to the American League, he proved in interleague play between 2010 and 2012 that his knuckleball was just as baffling for AL hitters as it was for NL hitters. Over 10 starts spanning 64 innings, he racked up a 1.97 ERA.

This isn’t to suggest that Dickey surely has another Cy Young in his future, mind you.

In terms of the strike and plate-discipline numbers we looked at, Dickey still has work to do to get back to where he was last year. He’s no doubt doing that work, but his knuckleball isn’t necessarily going to go along with what he wants to do. It’s going to continue to be unpredictable, so a regression from where he was last year is certainly possible.

But to foresee doom for a pitcher this early in the season, there need to be clear signs that something is legitimately wrong. There need to be clear signs that the pitcher in question is broken, be it mechanically, velocity- or stuff-wise or health-wise.

I don’t see any clear signs like that with Dickey. Asking him to be as dominant as he was last year is asking a lot, but his dream-come-true story should still have a few chapters left.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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Toronto Blue Jays: What Would Be a Successful Season?

The Toronto Blue Jays finally get their much-anticipated season rolling today against the Cleveland Indians. And with that, the scrutiny will begin on whether or not drastically revamping the roster will result in a playoff spot.

Over the summer, the team added numerous pitchers, infielders and outfielders to create what many think is the best roster in the American League East. And quite possibly one of the best in Major League Baseball.

Adding reigning National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, World Series champion Mark Buehrle and 2011 NL batting champ Jose Reyes, among others, adds a lot of pedigree to the team. But how will this influx of talent translate for the Blue Jays?

With all the hype the team is receiving, and the expectations many fans have, the team is going to have to do very well for people to see this season as an accomplishment.

There is no doubt the team is great on paper. And compared to previous years, it has the depth to handle a few injuries throughout the year.

But what will make the 2013 season a success?

First and foremost, it is important to have realistic expectations. Blue Jays fans hope to see their team in the World Series, but let’s take small steps to get to that goal.

The first step in getting there: making the playoffs.

As we saw last year, the Blue Jays were able to put together a great spring training (24-7-1), which led to the idea they were ready to make a push for a playoff spot. Ultimately, that did not happen and everyone was disappointed.

The same thing is happening this year.

Everyone is expecting a guaranteed playoff spot and a push to the World Series. It may happen, but are we just setting ourselves up for failure? Should the goals of the team, and the fans, be to just make the playoffs?

Buehrle realizes the Blue Jays are a very strong team but also need to go out there and prove it, he told Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star last week. 

This team, I think, is better (than the ’05 White Sox) on paper, but again we have to go out there and play 162 games and try and get to the postseason. If you asked me in spring training ’05 and now, on paper, I think this team’s better.

Most importantly, Buehrle knows that making the postseason is the number one goal. Coming from a veteran guy who has made it there before, he knows what he is talking about.

The Blue Jays have the team, the talent and the capability to be able to do damage in the American League. They have the arms and the bats to be really dangerous. And when both are on, the Blue Jays could be lethal.

But, like last year, the team and fans have created such high hopes. As good as it is for baseball in Toronto, it may not be fair to the team by the end of the season.

The Blue Jays seem like a lock to make the playoffs. Even though nothing in baseball is guaranteed, that is about as far as we should peg them. Once they are able to get there, then the talk can begin about winning the World Series.

If the team is able to make the playoffs, everyone should be happy. Considering the Blue Jays have not made the playoffs in the last 20 years, doing that is a great accomplishment. Making it to the postseason should be the meter of success.   

Anything more than that, is an added bonus.



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MLB Players Whose Life Stories Would Make Must-See Movies

A number of players in the big leagues can wow fans with their performances on the field, but some of them also have incredibly interesting backstories about their road to the major leagues.

Many players have had to deal with personal issues or injuries and have persevered to reach the MLB. Movies have been made about players like this in the past, such as The Rookie, which was based on Jim Morris’ career.

That film was seen by a number of people and made over $75 million (h/t IMDB). Baseball fans would certainly be interested in other films like this.

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2013 MLB Predictions: Seasoned Veterans Who Will Have Major Impact

In Major League Baseball, veterans are always a key component to the success of a team, but there are some elder statesman who will have a major role for their respective clubs in 2013.

Guys like Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees and R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays will each be of vital importance to their respective team’s pitching staffs. Meanwhile, A.J. Pierzynski will have to make an impact on both sides of the ball for the Texas Rangers.

Age is just a number and these players certainly proved that with great statistics during the 2012 season.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these older vets and how they will benefit their teams in 2013.


Andy Pettitte, Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees (Age: 40)

When Pettitte takes the mound in April, he will be starting his 18th Major League season and is a huge piece of the Yanks’ starting rotation in 2013.

Pettitte unexpectedly returned to baseball last season and was rock solid before missing most of the season due to injury. When he was on the mound, Pettitte was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA that proved he still has what it takes to be a force in the MLB.

On top of that, Pettitte was great for the Bombers in the postseason, giving them three good starters in October baseball.

This season, the 40-year-old will be New York’s No. 3 starter behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. With the question marks behind him in the Yanks’ starting five, Pettitte must remain at top form during the 2013 season if his team is to have success in the regular and postseason.


A.J. Pierzynski, Catcher, Texas Rangers (Age: 36)

Now that the Rangers have lost slugger Josh Hamilton to free agency, this team has a ton of offense to replace in 2013.

Although Pierzynski won’t do it all by himself, his numbers from 2012 prove he can make a big impact in that regard. The 36-year-old hit 27 homers and drove in 77 runs while sporting a .278 batting average at the plate.

Behind the plate, Pierzynski will be tasked with helping bring the Rangers’ starting staff out of the dumps from a season ago. Texas’ rotation finished with a 4.30 ERA, which was good enough for No. 20 in the league.

So, not only will Pierzynski’s bat be needed in Texas, but he also must call good games and aid in the development of the younger arms in order to improve the Rangers pitching overall.


R.A. Dickey, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 38)

After winning the National League Cy Young award in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets, Dickey was shipped off to Toronto and is one of many new additions to the roster.

Dickey’s 2012 campaign was well worth the honor. The 38-year-old was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and that was with a lackluster roster supporting him in New York.

In 2013, Dickey will have a much better team around him with a great pitching staff and a dangerous lineup as well. That should help Dickey come close to his numbers from last season as extra run support should lead to plenty of games won.

The only thing that’s in doubt is if his success in the National League East will translate to the offensively potent American League East. Dickey will be facing much stiffer competition and the Blue Jays will need him to answer the bell if they hope to reign supreme in one of the most competitive divisions in the majors.

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