Is A Dickey Reunion Possible?

Let me say this right off the bat. I’m not writing this to sell people on the notion that R.A. Dickey has another Cy Young caliber season left in his right arm. I’m not writing this to try and convince people that Dickey the knuckleballer is a better rotation option than our five young aces, our newly emerging Triple-A starting depth, or our other 43 year old Big Sexy starting pitcher. But I am writing this to say that it may be worth bringing in some cheap veteran rotation insurance this offseason considering all the injuries we witnessed this year.

Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve), and Steven Matz (elbow bone spur) all had season-ending surgery to repair their pitching arm issues. Noah Syndergaard was pitching this season with a bone spur, but the team decided against surgery to repair the issue. Robert Gsellman had his labrum surgically repaired in his non-pitching shoulder. Zack Wheeler has missed two straight seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery (he’s probably still listed as day-to-day).

From now on every single conversation about one of the Mets’ young starters will include the caveat “if he can stay healthy”.

Bartolo Colon will eventually be a free agent at 43 years old, and there’s no guarantee he returns to the Mets. The young aces are all supposedly going to be recovered and ready to pitch come spring training. But on the off chance that one of the young starters experiences a slightly delayed recovery timeline (very unlikely because as we all know an injury recovery setback has never happened to a single Mets player in history) it might make sense to have a veteran innings eater like R.A. Dickey as an option.

Dickey will be 42 years old this month and wasn’t that effective last year for the Blue Jays (10-15, 4.46 ERA). His walk rate was up (3.3 BB/9) relative to his career norm (2.8) and his strikeout rate (6.7 K/9) was down relative to his best seasons where he averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. But prior to last year, he had pitched 200+ innings for five straight seasons. In 2014 and 2015 he posted an ERA under 4.

He said he’s considering retirement after the season, but if he does continue to play, he’s openly said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win it all. The Mets certainly fit that description. If the interest in Dickey is limited league-wide, and he would sign a one-year deal at a minimal cost (significantly less than the 12 million he made in 2016), I think he’d be a fine rotation insurance policy for the Mets.

The Mets have plenty of major issues to tackle this offseason before they even begin to think about starting pitching depth. And despite all the question marks surrounding their young starters, it’s unlikely the Mets will spend big money in free agency on a starter or trade for a big time arm.

This team is built on the backs of our five young aces. If we are ever going to make it to the promised land in October, the young arms will be the ones that lead us there. But Bartolo Colon emerging as the most durable pitcher in the Mets rotation in 2016 has served as a very real reminder of how fragile the young rotation can be.

Plus, imagine how amazing the 2017 storyline would be if we paired Bartolo and Dickey in the same rotation even for a short stretch. If the stars align and the cost is minimal, I would have no problem watching two 40 year old fan favorites serving as insurance for the Mets young studs. After all, whether they are among the youngest arms in the league or the oldest, you can never have enough pitching.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

It’s Time For Eric Campbell To Go

The Metssiah has been on the “dump Eric Campbell” train since day one. Not day one of the 2016 season. Not day one of 2016 Spring Training. I wanted nothing to do with Soup on day one of 2015 Spring Training. In 2015, our front office promised us that we were finally assembling a true 25 man roster. Then they went ahead and gave us John Mayberry Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Eric Campbell. They made us wait until July 31st before a real 25 man roster of major leaguers was assembled. Fortunately for Mets fans, Sandy assembled a championship caliber roster at the deadline. But here we are again in 2016 dealing with the same lack of depth BS. Time and time again, Terry Collins has been forced to use this guy whenever we have an injury at first base or third base. Unfortunately with the health struggles of David Wright and now Lucas Duda, we’ve been getting more Soup than ever this year. Somehow in the eyes of the Mets front office, he’s the team’s 26th man. Well the time has come to cut ties with Soup. I don’t mean demote him to Vegas. I mean he needs to be released and cast out of the organization. Eric Campbell is batting .159 on the 2016 season. He hit .197 in 173 ABs last season. He’s a .221/.311/.624 lifetime hitter. He’s absolute crap, and there’s no place for him in New York.

Since his debut in 2014, I’ve been forced to listen to all the Soup apologists. I’ve read article after article talking about his walk rates, the exit velocity when he makes contact, the number of pitches he sees per AB, his versatility in the field, and all the absurd Soupermetrics. Well enough is enough. He’s useless and brings nothing to the table whatsoever. What’s that? He plays third base and first base and we need depth at those positions? Well the Mets should have handled that problem before the season. Instead they handed the backup keys to this bum again in 2016. It’s the Mets fault. I don’t blame Soup for being put in these positions. He doesn’t belong here. He’s facing competition that he has no chance of succeeding against. I don’t know if he will ever be a competent major leaguer, but the time has come for him to explore that path elsewhere.

I’ve lived through this situation many times before with the Mets. When the Mets employ a player who’s a good person and tries hard but wears out his welcome. My personal favorite examples are Roger Cedeno from 2003 and Luis Castillo from 2010. Cedeno had prior success with the Mets, we paid him some money, and by 2002/2003 he completely lost his ability to steal bases and make contact which were the reasons we paid him to begin with. Luis Castillo had a similar story. By the time he joined the Mets he lost his speed, his contact bat, and his range in the field. The fans chose to scapegoat these two players for the team’s woes and booed them out of town. The differences with Soup are 1) Soup was never good like Castillo/Cedeno 2) This team is actually good, so we can’t afford to have weak links. Sure it’s not entirely fair to pin every little offensive problem the team has on Soup, but the reality is we’d be better off playing someone different out there. It literally can’t get worse than a guy hitting .150. It just can’t.

So goodbye Soup. Get the hell off my team. Get the hell out of my organization. For now, James Loney plays first base and Wilmer Flores plays third base until Duda and Wright can come back. Sandy must go out and get a real backup 1B/3B. But in the meantime, play anyone else out there. Because I’m done with Soup. And so is the rest of the fan base.