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Terry Collins not ruling out using R.A. Dickey on short rest to help his Cy Young bid

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The Mets have floated the possibility of using R.A. Dickey on short rest at various times this season, but that talk has died down in recent weeks as the team has faded in the standings. However, Mets manager Terry Collins raised the possibility again this afternoon after Dickey finished off a complete game 6-1 victory over the Marlins.

Dickey is now tied with Angels right-hander Jered Weaver for the major-league lead with 15 wins while the knuckleballer ranks fourth in the National League in ERA (2.72) and first in strikeouts (166), WHIP (1.00) and complete games (three). The Mets haven’t had a Cy Young Award winner since Dwight Gooden in 1985 or a 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, so Collins told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that he would consider using Dickey more often in September in order to boost his chances.

“Will I? I certainly might, yes,” Collins said. “He certainly deserves that shot. I thought Jose Reyes deserved to win the batting title last year, too. I got criticized for that, and I may get criticized for this.”

Reyes, of course, exited the final game of the regular season last year after reaching on a bunt single in the first inning. It wasn’t without controversy, as Reyes was booed as he left the field and Collins was brought to tears in his post-game press conference, but the speedy shortstop ended up beating out Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun to become the first player in Mets history to win the National League batting title.

Dickey predictably said all the right things when asked about the possibility, noting that he doesn’t want the individual to overshadow over the team.

“I would not want to be on three days’ rest purely to win more games,” Dickey said. “If we can claw back in this thing and they think that I give our team the best chance to win, or a good chance to win, then I’m willing to do that. And I’ve voiced that. But we’ll see where it goes.”

If Dickey stays on his current schedule and pitches every fifth game, he currently projects to make 10 more starts this season.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.