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R.A. Dickey may retire

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Braves starter R.A. Dickey had a nice outing against the Nationals last night, allowing two runs over eight innings to pick up his 10th win on the year. After the game, however, he hinted pretty strongly that it was his last home start and, based on the schedule, one of the last couple of starts of his career. Dickey:

I’d be lying to say I didn’t have some emotions about it. This could be my last start ever at a home venue. But we’re going to make that decision at the end of the season and see how I feel and what goes on there.

The data points for the decision: though he’ll turn 43 next month, he’s still a useful major league pitcher. Last night’s win evened his record at 10-10 and pushed his ERA down to 4.32, which is around league average. He’s also subject to a team option for $8 million for 2018, which is eminently reasonable for a league average starter, especially one as durable as Dickey is. Last night was his 30th start and 2017 is the seventh straight season in which he’s pitched 30 games (he started 29 and came out of the pen once for Toronto last season). If he wanted to pitch, he’d certainly have a gig.

The data point against the decision. Family. Dickey:

If I did not continue to play, it would be because our family decided it wasn’t the best thing. I’ve dragged my kids all over the world playing baseball for 21 years. You know, there comes a time they deserve their dad to be around.

Dickey has four kids, aged 15, 14 and two who are younger. Based on my personal experience, once your kids are teenagers, you start to realize that your time with them is finite in ways you never really think about when they’re younger. It would be totally understandable, then, if he decided to walk away from $8 million and baseball in order to spend more time with them.

Part of me, though, selfishly wants to see Dickey keep going. He’s a knuckleballer, man. There aren’t many of them.

Sean Doolittle to miss more time with stress reaction in bridge of left foot

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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will miss more time than expected as he is dealing with a stress reaction in the bridge of his left foot, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Doolittle started feeling soreness in his left foot two weeks ago and went on the 10-day disabled list on July 10, retroactive to the 7th.

According to Zuckerman, Doolittle’s injury is similar to a bone bruise. The lefty will stop his rehab program and will likely miss several more weeks than expected. The injury caused Doolittle to not participate in the All-Star Game, but his hope was to return shortly after the second half began.

Doolittle, 31, has 22 saves and a 1.45 ERA with a 49/3 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings for the Nationals this season. Kelvin Herrera will likely get the lion’s share of save chances while Doolittle is out.