Add another team to the list. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the Dodgers have talked to the Mets about a possible trade for R.A. Dickey.
Zack Greinke remains the Dodgers’ top priority, but there’s a chance they could try to add both pitchers. Of course, the thought is that the Mets could get more in return for Dickey after Greinke signs. The two clubs ultimately aren’t a great match, as the Mets are looking for young, cost-controllable players for their outfield and behind the plate. That’s not exactly the Dodgers’ area of strength from a prospect perspective.
It’s worth noting that Dickey is only making $5 million next season, so that’s reasonable enough for most contending teams to at least inquire about the potential asking price. In other words, look for lots of these types of reports regarding Dickey this week.
“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.
Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:
Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?
There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.
As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.