Tag:R.A. Dickey
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:44 pm
 

M's add knuckleballer Haeger

Charlie Haeger The Mariners let R.A. Dickey walk away after the 2008 season, only to see him flourish with the Mets this season. Now they've decided to dip into the knuckleball pool again, announcing Wednesday that they've signed Charlie Haeger.

Haeger has pitched sparingly at the major-league level with the White Sox, Padres and Dodgers. In 2010 he came out of spring training as the Dodgers' fifth starter and made nine appearances, including six starts, going 0-4 with an 8.40 ERA. For his career, he has some very knuckeballer-like numbers: 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings, but also 6.4 walks per nine.

Haeger was a late-round draft pick of the White Sox in 2001 and quit the game a year later to go to college and try to make it as a pro golfer. He returned to the White Sox system in 2004 armed with the knuckler, which he'd developed in his time off after originally tinkering with it in high school. After not making it out of rookie ball as a traditional pitcher, he reached the majors in a little over two years.

The Mariners also signed infielder Luis Rodriguez, right-hander Chris Smith and lefty Fabio Castro. Like Haeger, they'll get invitations to major-league spring training.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:50 pm
 

Players choice finalists announced

Carlos Gonzalez In September, major-league players voted for the Players Choice Awards, coordinated by the union. Friday, the MLBPA released the three finalists for each of the awards, which will be announced over the course of next week.

Player of the year (both leagues): Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, pictured), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Joey Votto (Reds).

Man of the year (for off-field efforts): Torii Hunter (Angels), Brandon Inge (Tigers), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies).

NL outstanding player: Gonzalez, Albert Pujols (Cardinals), Votto.

NL outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals).

NL outstanding rookie: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals), Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants).

NL comeback player: R.A. Dickey (Mets), Tim Hudson (Braves), Aubrey Huff (Giants).

AL outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Hamilton.

AL outstanding pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Mariners), David Price (Rays), CC Sabathia (Yankees).

AL outstanding rookie: Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Austin Jackson (Tigers).

AL comeback player: Freddy Garcia (White Sox), Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers), Francisco Liriano (Twins).

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 6:28 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 12:33 am
 

R.I.P. Mets: Team handicapped in payroll

RIP All eyes will be on eight teams starting Oct. 6 for yet another chapter of postseason baseball. As the sports world waits for the crowning of a new (or as the Yankees hope, repeat) champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. First up, the Mess -- er, Mets.

Since coming one game away from the NL pennant in 2006, the Mets have morphed into a squad of underperforming and overpaid players with controversy dogging the team every step of the way.

Owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon cleaned house as the 2010 season handed New York its second straight losing season. General manager Omar Minaya, despite a deal taking him through 2012, was shown the door along with skipper Jerry Manuel (the two are shown with Jeff Wilpon in the below picture to the right). The only problem? Minaya's maneuverings will handicap his successor for at least one season.

WHAT WENT WRONG

You name it and it happened in New York. Johan Santana fought off rape allegations prior to the season, posted his worst strikeout rate since 2001 and then went down with a shoulder injury that renders him questionable for 2011. Francisco Rodriguez also had his own problems with women, striking his (now ex-) girlfriend's father and being placed on the disciplined list. His return to the Mets is highly questionable even as he posted one of the better seasons of his career.

Neither Jason Bay or Carlos Beltran had lady troubles but they had injury troubles, with Bay's first year of a four-year, $66 million contract ending with just six home runs before a concussion ended his season. Beltran angered ownership by having unsanctioned knee surgery prior to the season, returning for an unsavory second half that has prompted calls for his trade.

Jerry Manuel, Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya Meanwhile, the onerous contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo just wouldn't go away. Perez constantly refused assignment to the minors and eventually became a mop-up reliever who only pitched on the road... all for $12 million. Luis Castillo spent the season becoming a bench player by the time for the low, low price of $6.25 million.

Let that be a lesson: Sign for lots of money with the Mets and expect that things will go very, very wrong for you.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

All was not lost in the Big Apple, however. Franchise star David Wright rebounded from 10 home runs in the inaugural season of Citi Field to bash 29 and cement his status as one of the best players in the game today.

Wright found a new person to throw to across the diamond as the Mets imported rookie Ike Davis after Mike Jacobs flamed out. Davis was promoted aggressively, debuting on April 19 and tossing up a .264/.351/.440 line in 601 PA, contributing 19 home runs. Along with Davis, youngster Josh Thole established himself as a permanent starter with the Mets. Thole will enter 2011 as the starting catcher and while he has no power to speak of, has enough contact and plate discipline skills to stick as a starter.

Meanwhile, Angel Pagan took the opportunity that Beltran's injury afforded him and ran with it to the point where many feel the switch-hitter should play center field with Beltran shifting to left in 2011. Pagan finished at .290/.340/.425 with 37 stolen bases in 633 PA.

The Mets also benefited from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, originally signed as depth but exploding for a 2.84 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance. Dickey, at 35, has one more year of club control and should have a rotation spot locked up next season along with Jonathon Niese. Niese, 23, posted a 4.20 ERA in 30 starts in his first taste of full-time major league action.

HELP ON THE WAY

The Mets lost the services of Dan Murphy all season, but he should be back in action for 2011 and could be valuable to the Mets coming off the bench. While Murphy was slated to start at first base for the Mets in 2010, Davis (photo below, left) now has that position sewn up, and Murphy can't impede on Jason Bay's haunt. Thus, Murphy is learning to play second base and should compete for the position next season although it's more likely Murphy ends up a jack-of-all-trades, filling in all over the diamond.

More encouraging than Murphy's return is how well set-up the Mets seem to infuse young pitching into the team. Dillon Gee captured the hearts of headline writers across the nation while Bobby Parnell flashed heat that may make him the club's next closer. In addition, Jenrry Meija put aside an idiotic attempt to put him in the bullpen to return late in the year as a starter. Mejia may or may not open 2011 in the rotation, but his inclusion on the big-league roster will happen at some point in 2011 and put him on the fast track towards being a top pitcher.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Mets will always expect to contend, especially with a payroll that will have no trouble clearing $100 million. Even if the Mets are spendthrifts, the 2011 payroll is already on the hook for at least $108 million guaranteed, although that's in actual payroll, not Collective Bargaining Agreement-payroll, used for the luxury tax, that calculates a contract's average annual value and not actual salary earned.

This mark is achieved using guaranteed salaries only, which means the payroll will take off once Jose Reyes' $11 million option is exercised and arbitration payouts roll in for Mike Pelfrey and Pagan -- plus the litany of other holes that need to be plugged. So yes, the Mets and its fans will expect to contend for a division crown. And really, with the talent on the team, there's no reason not to expect to be in the thick of things. Unfortunately, logic dictates that the Mets will finish around the .500 threshold, and expectations behind the scenes will reflect that.

With so much money committed to injured, questionable or dead weight players, the incoming general manager will be forced to hold the status quo with an eye towards a big impact and transition in 2012.

Ike Davis SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Even though the new general manager will have his or her hands tied for the most part, there are still two areas that need to be addressed if a dream season is to happen. The first is to get a capable second baseman and slot Tejada in the minors. There are three free-agent second basemen that could pan out include Bill Hall, Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe. All are coming off solid seasons and will be affordable.

With Santana out for at least the first half, the Mets need to go after a solid starter to plug the breach behind Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey and likely Dillon Gee. The Mets shouldn't go crazy for a replacement, but could absolutely find a solid pitcher on a one-year deal. Jon Garland has done this in recent years and keeps throwing up value. Other names include Chris Young, who dominated for the Padres down the stretch after missing much of the season to injury.

Lastly, the bullpen needs to be addressed. Whether Francisco Rodriguez ends up back in Met threads or not, the Mets have no surefire options behind him unless one counts Bobby Parnell who should set up next season. Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi are set to be free agents, while the rest of the relievers are flotsam.

The Mets need to go out and find someone with a history of closing but who is open to setting up as a way to minimize Rodriguez so his $17.5 million option does not vest. That includes players such as Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Kerry Wood, J.J. Putz and Koji Uehara.

2011 PREDICTION

The Mets could surprise prognosticators next season if the new GM clears out the chaff and brings in depth at second and the bullpen. So much went wrong for the Mets that you have to bank on a regression to the mean making the club better. The Mets should hover over .500 and if just a few things break in their favor, could contend for a postseason spot.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 13, 2010 9:40 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 9:43 pm
 

Dickey shines, Mets just miss another no-no

R.A. Dickey
The Mets, amazingly, have never thrown a no-hitter. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey came oh-so-close to changing that Friday night.

Only a single by opposing starter Cole Hamels in the sixth inning saved the Phillies from being no-hit by Dickey at Citi Field, as the right-hander threw the game of his career in a 1-0 victory. He walked only one batter and needed 105 pitches to polish off the second complete game of his career and first since he converted to the knuckleball.

Analysis on brooksbaseball.com shows that Dickey threw 97 knucklers (averaging 76 mph) and eight fastballs, and 70 percent of his pitches went for strikes.

According to nonohitters.com, the Mets, who have been playing for 48 years, have come within one hit of a no-hitter 35 times (Tom Seaver alone did it five times) but still haven't managed to close the deal. The Mets and Padres (est. 1969) are the only teams without a no-hitter. The Rays got their first on July 26 from Matt Garza.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




Category: MLB
Posted on: August 13, 2010 1:21 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 1:17 pm
 

D-backs apparently won't sign top pick

Barrett Loux
The Arizona Republic reported Thursday that the Diamondbacks appear resigned to letting Monday's deadline pass without signing the No. 6 overall pick in the June draft, Texas A&M right-hander Barret Loux.

Loux is in a lousy situation, going from an agreement on a $2 million bonus to being left out in the cold. Arizona drafted him higher than most projections called for, in part because they had a verbal agreement on the under-slot bonus. But a medical exam later reportedly revealed that Loux has a labrum issue and complications from a 2009 operation to remove bone spurs that might eventually lead to him needing Tommy John surgery.

So the Diamondbacks backed out of the deal they had with Loux. According to baseball's compensation rules, Arizona will get an extra pick at No. 7 in next year's draft because they failed to sign him. Except they didn't "fail" to sign him, they chose not to because they seem to have failed in their due diligence on his medical issues.

It's a complicated issue. It doesn't seem fair that the Diamondbacks should have to pay for something that, upon inspection, didn't turn out to be what they thought -- and they're just making use of a system that's available (it doesn't hurt that next year's draft is loaded, and the No. 7 in 2011 figures to be more valuable than the No. 6 in 2010).

On the other hand, the situation doesn't seem fair to Loux, either. There's no indication that he made any attempt to conceal his health, and he's basically lost $2 million. But the $2 million isn't even the whole point. He's lost, at least for now, his chance to play. The Diamondbacks have no incentive -- and in fact have disincentive -- to offer him anything now.

In 1996, before the compensation rule, the Rangers drafted pitcher R.A. Dickey with the 18th pick and offered him an $810,000 bonus. Then an examination revealed the odd fact that Dickey has no ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The $810,000 became $75,000 -- but at least Dickey got his chance (and hasn't turned out too badly, as Mets fans would tell you right now). But if Texas would have had the option of walking away from Dickey and getting the No. 19 pick the next year, they'd have done it -- and who knows what would have become of Dickey?

The options for Loux now are to return to A&M for another year or play in an independent minor league or overseas and hope to be drafted again next year. But there should be another option, and hopefully there will be in the next collective bargaining agreement. A player in Loux's situation, where there's a medical reason he wasn't signed, should be able to opt to become a free agent.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: June 28, 2010 11:40 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 11:41 pm
 

Dickey's transformation complete

R.A. Dickey The thing about the knuckleball is, when it's on it's on. When it's not, it's a disaster.

That made R.A. Dickey's record-setting start to the season -- he was the first Mets pitcher to go 6-0 in his first seven starts -- that much more impressive. Because he was doing it with a pitch at, even for the most skilled practicioners, is unreliable.

Dickey's luck ran out Monday in the warm, heavy air of Puerto Rico as he took his first loss, the Marlins beating the Mets 10-3. But it's tough to overestimate the vale of Dickey's surprising contribution to the Mets' season.

No matter how you feel about the Mets, Dickey is a guy you should root for. For one thing, he's one of the nicest and most genuine people you could ever meet. And you have to respect what he's done in reinventing his career.

Dickey looked at his situation, said "I'm not good enough to be a success pitching conventionally," and figured out a different way. He committed himself to being a knuckleballer, a method that's not only extremely difficult to master but leaves a pitcher looking foolish when he has an off night.

Dickey also has continued to tinker with the knuckler, deciding to throw it harder than most. He's added 10 mph to the pitch in the past few years.

Here is a video of Dickey, interviewed when he was with Triple-A Buffalo early this season, talking briefly about being a knuckleballer.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.





Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2010 6:28 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2010 6:51 pm
 

Mets happy to make way for another ace

Cliff Lee Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey apparently are willing to check their front-of-the-rotation egos if the Mets want to bring in another big gun.

It seems like a no-brainer that players would welcome a teammate who could help them win a championship, but the Mets' top two starters were unusually open in comments to the New York Daily News about their desire to see the team add Cliff Lee (pictured) or Roy Oswalt.

"There's no question, what we're looking for is a championship," Santana said. "You get into that category of pitchers, that's what they do. To go along with what we have, there's nothing wrong with getting better."

"We've been playing great, but to go out and add a guy like [Oswalt or Lee], it might put us over the top," Pelfrey said. "You would definitely love to have those guys on your team. I think those are some of the elite pitchers in the game. It definitely can help if you go out and get them."

Both pitchers were sure to praise the other members of the current rotation, Jon Niese, Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey. All three have been integral to the Mets being where they are (the Mets would be the National League wild-card team if the playoffs started today), but one would have to be sacrificed if Lee or Oswalt came on.

Tuesday, manager Jerry Manuel added his voice to the chorus.

"The more aces you can put out on the mound obviously the better your chances," Manuel said.

The comments don't really rise to the level of pressuring the team to get Lee or Oswalt, but it does make you wonder what these guys will have to say if the trade deadline passes without any action by the Mets.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 9, 2010 11:44 am
 

Mets rotation news

The Mets have flopped R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese in the rotation. Niese will go Thursday against the Padres and Dickey on Friday against the Orioles. The move gives knuckleballer Dickey extra rest.

Right-hander John Maine, who has been on the disabled list since May 22 with shoulder tendinitis, is coming along faster than expected and could be back in the Mets' rotation as soon as next week. He threw a simulated game yesterday and will make a minor league rehab appearance this weekend.

Manager Jerry Manuel told reporters that when Maine returns, Hisanori Takahashi is headed back to the bullpen.

"We like Takahashi as a pitcher," Manuel said "[But] we think we have lost something in the bullpen when he's a starter, so that's a scenario that could work if and when John Maine is healthy and we feel he's ready to be part of the rotation."

-- David Andriesen

 
 
 
 
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