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.
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.