Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’
Check out this R.A. Dickey-inspired new reality show from MLB Network:
Former NCAA Division I FBS quarterbacks John David Booty (USC), Josh Booty (LSU), Doug Flutie (Boston College), David Greene (Georgia) and Ryan Perrilloux (LSU & Jacksonville State), will compete for an invitation to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Spring Training camp in MLB Network’s first-ever reality series competition The Next Knuckler, premiering Wednesday, February 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Produced by MLB Productions and co-hosted by World Series champion and former All-Star knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield and MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar, the five former quarterbacks will compete against one another to determine who can throw the best knuckleball.
Taped at Vero Beach Sports Village, the former Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, each episode will feature the contestants learning from Wakefield how to throw this baffling pitch before facing challenges to test the effectiveness of their knuckleball. One contestant will be eliminated from the competition in each episode based on his performance and input from Wakefield and Millar. The winner will earn an invitation to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Spring Training camp and the chance to pitch for the D-backs in a Spring Training game.
“I’ve dedicated my entire baseball life to the challenging art of throwing the knuckleball,” says Wakefield in the premiere episode. “Now, I’ve embarked on this mission to continue the knuckleball legacy. These guys were great athletes on the gridiron so I wanted to try this experiment out. You don’t have to grip the baseball the way I threw it, but if you want to win, you have to lose the spin.”
In addition to Wakefield and Millar, The Next Knuckler will feature special guests, including 2012 NL Cy Young Award Winner and knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, former All-Star knuckleball pitcher Charlie Hough and 15-year old knuckleball phenom Chelsea Baker, who threw two perfect games for her Plant City Little League team in 2010.
“We look forward to being featured on The Next Knuckler and giving an opportunity to one of these top-flight athletes to come to Spring Training with the D-backs,” said D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall. “With a knuckleball, you never know what kind of success a pitcher will have and that’s part of the intrigue for our franchise to take part in this reality show.”
Following the premiere hour-long elimination episode of the The Next Knuckler on Wednesday, February 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET, the final three episodes will air on February 14, 20 and 21 at 10:00 p.m. ET, with a re-air of the previous episode beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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How did the R.A. Dickey trade affect the Mets’ farm system? Baseball Prospectus today offered this new top 10 prospects list:
1. Zack Wheeler, RHP
2. Travis d’Arnaud, C
3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
4. Michael Fulmer, RHP
5. Wilmer Flores, INF
6. Gavin Cecchini, SS
7. Domingo Tapia, RHP
8. Jeurys Familia, RHP
9. Brandon Nimmo, OF
10. Rafael Montero, RHP
Obviously there is some difference in opinion here from last week’s Baseball America list, which was published before the Dickey trade, and ranked Fulmer seventh and Luis Mateo fourth. But the industry consensus seems to be that d’Arnaud and Syndergaard are now the Mets’ clear second- and third-best prospects behind Wheeler.
On d’Arnaud, Baseball Prospectus called him “ready for prime-time” and described him as a “.275-plus batting average” guy with “17-25 HR power potential.”
On Syndergaard, BP wrote that his ceiling is as a “high-end no. 2 starter” and that “he could be a monster.”
You can read the full scouting breakdown here (subscription required).
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Here’s how unheralded R.A. Dickey’s original signing was with the Mets. When he agreed to terms in early 2010, the team didn’t even give him his own press release. Check this out (click picture to enlarge):
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A new day brings new names. The R.A. Dickey deal currently on the table, according to the New York Post, would net the Mets right-handed pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, in addition to catchers Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck and another as-yet unnamed prospect. The Mets would give up Dickey, Josh Thole and a non-elite prospect.
So let’s take a look at Syndergaard, as we did yesterday for d’Arnaud. Again, click to launch the 2012 MLB.com Prospect Watch page:
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The Mets are in serious talks to trade R.A. Dickey. This has become clear. But who might they receive in return?
If the Blue Jays are indeed the second team involved, then catchers Travis d’Arnaud and J.P. Arencibia, along with outfielder Anthony Gose, are the obvious targets. d’Arnaud the highest-rated player of the bunch, but is he the so-called “difference-maker” that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been seeking? Check out MLB.com’s Prospect Watch bio (click below for the full page), and decide for yourself.
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R.A. Dickey is under contract for one more season at $5 million, after which he can become a free agent. The Mets are currently negotiating a contract extension with Dickey that could take him through his age-40 season. They are also weighing trade offers from other clubs, ideally trying to add an impact power hitter to their lineup.
Opinions vary on what to do with Dickey. So what would you do?
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Despite public optimism from COO Jeff Wilpon, the New York Post quoted an anonymous source Tuesday in saying that the Mets are only a “50-50″ bet to ink third baseman David Wright to a long-term contract extension this winter.
The source told the Post that Wright “is less than thrilled with the length of contract and amount of guaranteed money the Mets have offered,” which “could set up a game of chicken between Mets brass and Wright’s agents.”
“Part of it is [COO] Jeff Wilpon tries to win every negotiation, he doesn’t go for the middle ground,” an anonymous source told the paper.
Later Tuesday, Wilpon appeared publicly in Far Rockaway, Queens, and said he is more optimistic than he was two months ago that the Mets will be able to re-sign Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey.
“Certainly it’s gotten better because there’s conversations going back and forth,” Wilpon said. “So when you look at it from the end of the season when you didn’t really know how they were going to accept, or look at how we were positioning things and they were positioning things, there’s more optimism.”
Both Wright and Dickey are under team control for one more season.
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Unprompted this week, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson mentioned Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as trade candidates in addition to R.A. Dickey.
But not everyone is up for grabs. The New York Post reported that Ike Davis is unavailable and Daniel Murphy is “unlikely” to be traded, as the Mets do not know how they would replace the offense of either player. If the Mets strike a significant deal, it will be drawing from their strength — starting pitching — to plug up holes in their lineup.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson addressed the state of the Mets for nearly 25 minutes Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the news story on Mets.com, you can ready the full transcript of Alderson’s Q&A here:
“Overall, a disappointing season. We had some positive things, I think, but overall inconsistency. Certainly disappointed with the won-loss record. Lots of inconsistencies, first half/second half, home/road, individual performances. All of which I think led to the record that we will have after today’s game.
“So the first half was of course positive. I think we exceeded many expectations. I thought that we played as well as we had expected coming out of spring training. For a variety of reasons, some of which are only hypotheses at this point — they’re not actual explanations — we did not play well in the second half. There were a variety of things that happened. I’ll go back and probably point to four or five things. But ultimately, the second half was similar to the second half we’ve had over the last several years. I think if there’s one consistency among those four that we’ve been able to determine it’s that we really did not see significant contributions from additional players over the second half of any of those season.
“Inevitably, you have injuries and other things that happen, maybe sub-par performance. It’s nice to have somebody come in and take up the slack. And we had a couple people who had good second halves. We saw the emergence of Matt Harvey. Ike Davis played well in the second half. But overall, that wasn’t the case.
“Lots of positive things did happen. I think we’ll start with R.A. Dickey, I guess, and David Wright. Jon Niese had an excellent season for us. [Bobby] Parnell out of the ‘pen was good. Chris Young finished well. We saw Harvey emerge, some other young players emerge. So I think there’s some positives from the season, certainly. I take all of those as positives.
“The thing we’re trying to do here is three-fold: One is build through our farm system. The second is to retain our core players. And the third, really, is to add free agents and trade acquisitions on a fairly judicious basis. I would say over the first couple years, we’ve certainly looked to the farm system. Obviously not totally successful. We really have not, until now, been in a position to retain our core players. Which is the second prong of this approach. I think we’re in that place now. Then the third, we really have not been able to be involved significantly in the free-agent market. We certainly have brought in players on a free-agent basis. But in terms of significant acquisitions, it’s somewhat limited. But I can see that changing, perhaps not immediately, but somewhere in the near-term. So from my standpoint, many positives. But overall, a disappointing year.”
Are you looking to make a more significant number of trade and free agent acquisitions than in years past?
“Well, I think that it’s possible, given what we have, that we’ll be more active in the trade market. But that’s not a given necessarily. I mean, I really do believe that some of our players are on the verge of making bigger contributions. But it’s been two years. We have a better idea now of who we have at the major-league level, who’s coming from our player-development system, and the places where we need to look outside.
“There are a couple of obvious needs that we have. So it’s very possible that we’ll be more active in the trade market, as well as potentially in the free-agent market. But I don’t want to give the impression that we’ll be out in the free-agent market, looking for significant additions. We have lots of payroll tied up in a handful of players. That’s a situation that gradually has to resolve itself. We’re not really at that point.”
Who are the core players?
“The two that are popularly referenced are David Wright and R.A. Dickey. What we said over the last couple of months is we’re going to make every effort to retain those two guys. And I think we are in a position to be able to do that. Whether we are successful or not, time will tell. But I think we’re in a position to make a bona fide effort to do it. So I’m happy about that.”
Is Dickey a high priority to retain long-term?
“Those are the two big issues. Retaining our own players is, as I said, one of the key tenets of the approach we’re trying to take. Those two would be the most obvious. They’re free agents at the end of 2013. Those are the two situations we need to address and expect to address.”
Is the organization in a stronger place financially than it was a season ago?
“Yeah, I think that’s unquestionably the case. The Madoff situation was resolved. The investments were made in the team. And I think that overall, just with those two issues behind us, the team is in a better position. That’s progress.”
How much money do you project to lose this year?
“No. But unlike last year, I don’t intend to get involved in that discussion.”
How will the better financial situation affect your future spending?
“The first indication will be what happens with David and R.A. Because while those situations may not significantly increase our payroll this year, they will represent commitments on out years. Which I think is a fundamental shift in our situation. If you have the uncertainty that existed last spring, it would be difficult to make those long-term commitments. So I think that’s a fundamental shift. And I think that would be a good indication. I think the fact that we’re talking about it, and talking about retaining our players in a different tone than we were last year, should be a positive signal.”
Do you feel an urgency to get the Wright and Dickey deals done before Spring Training?
“I think not only would we like to see these two situations resolved by the beginning of spring training, Opening Day, I think we’d like to see them resolved much sooner rather than later.”
When will you open the dialogue?
“How long does [this] game last?”
Have you had any discussions yet?
“With the agents? No.”
Or with David?
“There have been some informal conversations with David. I wouldn’t say that they have been negotiations. That wouldn’t be our approach. That would be something that would be done with his representatives. But we’ve had some informal conversations.”
How soon could this be done? By the World Series? Winter Meetings?
“I don’t see why it couldn’t happen quickly. Now whether it will or not, I don’t know. I don’t have any indication that it would get done quickly. But as you look at it from our standpoint, the sooner the better.”
Is there a certain point where you need to sign them to extensions or else consider trading them?
“I think that there’s a preferred time frame from a baseball standpoint. As you get further into the offseason, with the uncertainty of the contract situation, then you do have to start thinking about other possibilities. That’s something we’re contemplating right now. but there’s that inevitability. But from a non-baseball standpoint, getting these resolved earlier, and if we were able to do it positively, that would have a salutary effect on everything else in the offseason. So there are lots of reasons why it would be great, if things got resolved soon. Whether they will or not, I have no idea.”
How will you sell Wright and Dickey on the future outlook here?
“I guess that’s going to be hard for me to assess. But what I intend to be, in any conversation that relates to the future of the Mets overall, is as honest as I can possibly be. I expect that that’s what they’ll want. I also think that there are factors that relate to New York that go beyond winning. That’s clearly the most important thing for any of us. But I think there are some other important factors, too, that don’t relate to salary or money, that may have an impact. I’ll try to be as honest in that regard as well.”
What would your message be?
“My message would be ‘Look, I think we’re very definitely headed in the right direction. But at the same time, we will not in the near-future have unlimited funds. So recognize what our immediate situation is, what we expect to be our mid and long-term situations, and evaluate us on that basis.’”
Must you prove your commitment to acquiring talent before they sign?
“As a practical matter, that’s probably not going to happen between now and the time that these conversations take place. But I think it will be important for them to hear from me, and again, to some extent, we’ve had these conversations. So I expect there will be further discussions about it.”
Wright wants this to be the final contract of his career. Can that kind of deal work here?
“Yeah. Would I rule that kind of contract out? No. I don’t know how long he expects to play. Presumably beyond 31 or 32.”
Would Baltimore or Oakland winning the World Series help prove that payroll increases are unnecessary?
“Yeah, to some extent. But look, the expectations in Baltimore this year, or the expectations in Oakland this year, or any year in some of these cities are very different than they are in New York. And I think we just have to recognize that.”
You don’t like second-generation free-agent deals. Is Wright an exception to that philosophy?
“I still hold a philosophy. But I think there are always exceptions to any rule. In my career, I’ve made exceptions in the past. I’m sure I’ll make exceptions in the future.”
Is Wright an exception?
“Well, look, we wouldn’t have had the last 15 minutes of conversation if that weren’t the case.”
What was the final 2012 payroll?
“The one that I use? We’re going to come in right around $100 million.”
Does that include salaries added during the year?
“Now it also includes 40-man roster guys at the minor-league level. It includes say a buyout on previous contracts. So I think we had a buyout of about $3 million or so on Frankie Rodriguez. So all in, right around $100 million.”
Could the payroll go maybe 10-percent higher next year?
“We’re having those conversations now. I met with Fred [Wilpon] and Saul [Katz] and Jeff [Wilpon], presented a number of different scenarios. We haven’t locked in to anything yet. There will be another meeting or two before we do that. So I can’t really give you an answer that.”
What factors will influence the payroll?
“What we can reasonably expect with whatever payroll we decide. So there are a lot of different factors. The players that we have going into next season, versus the players we have now or the players that we’ll have in 2014. There are different factors. It’s not all about one in particular.”
In next year’s payroll, will the 2014 buyouts on Bay and Santana be included?
“The buyouts typically are in the current-year budget.”
How willing would you be to trade starting pitching, particularly from your projected starting five?
“I think you’ve got to be real careful about dipping into your starting pitching. If you look at what happened to us, the five guys that started the season? We lost three of the five. So the depth there can be very important. And not just depth that you have at your Triple-A club with somebody who’s just coming up. Ideally, you’d like to have depth like maybe a Chris Young gave us this year. Which is under his special circumstances. You’ve got to be careful about our starting pitching, which is certainly our strength at the moment. And was certainly our strength, more or less, most of this year.”
If you deal Major League players from your roster, do you need Major League-ready players in return?
“Yes, we need some major-league ready players. There are some positions where we are not strong. Either the quality at the major-league level or in our system. And we need major-league ready players. Now that doesn’t mean to exclusion of a prospect. But we’d be looking for players that are close.”
Did you ever consider blowing up the roster completely?
“It’s a strategy that we’ve discussed. Again, I think every team is different. Every market is different. I’m not prepared to blow up the team and start over again. I don’t think we need to do that. so it’s unlikely that we’ll see any major explosions.”
Could you get away with that in New York?
“Look, with regard to probably 70 percent of any team’s roster, that can be done without any real negative reaction from fans. My attitude, if you think about it conceptually, is there are core players that fans identify with. It might be two players, it might be five, it might be six. Depends on how much success you’ve had, how many have come through the system. But there’s a core group. But it’s probably not that large in number. Everybody else? It’s all about succeeding. It’s all about bringing in better players. It’s all about making the team better. So I don’t think you sever any sort of relationship with fans if those players are interchanged.”
Could you conceivably still deal your core guys?
“It’s conceivable. And it would be something that we’d have to evaluate at the time.”
How do you evaluate Terry Collins heading into the final year of his contract?
“I think Terry’s done a fine job. As you know, we’re having the coaches back. Terry’s signed for next year. There are going to be questions about whether we’re going to extend him or not. That’s not something we’re doing yet. We haven’t had those discussions. We may not for a while. But I’m very pleased with the job that Terry did. The first half, second half situation has more to do with the players than it does with the manager or the coaching staff.”
Will the future payroll flexibility be based solely on money coming off the books, or will the bottom-line number expand?
“I hope both things happen. If you look at payroll, for me, there are really two components. There’s this core group of quality that most teams have. And then there’s the balance of the payroll. And right now, we have a lot of money tied up in a handful of players. So what I hope is that we do end up with more flexibility over the next couple of years. But also that we can grow the payroll to some extent.”
Would you back-load deals for free agents this winter?
“It’s a possible strategy, given the nut we have for 2013. But generally speaking, I don’t like to pay for today with deferrals tomorrow.”
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