Former Tennessee Volunteer and current Toronto Blue Jay R.A. Dickey has had a long road to get to where he is today. The Tennessee native was drafted in the 18th round of the 1996 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers and spent five seasons in the minor leagues before making his big league debut in 2001. Dickey played with the Rangers, Brewers, Twins and Mariners before finally making his mark with the New York Mets.
Dickey had tremendous success in his first two seasons with the Mets, posting a 2.84 and 3.28 ERA in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The knuckleballer posted a career high in strikeouts in 2011 with 134.
Dickey wasn’t always a knuckleballer, he developed the pitch after the 2005 season to prolong his career. It ended up making his career. But it wasn’t until his time with the Mets that he realized his full potential with the pitch. The most games Dickey had started in a season prior to his time with the Mets was 15 in 2004.
After Dickey’s amazing 2012 season that Mets faced the dilemma of resigning Dickey to a large contract or trading him. The Mets, who were in somewhat of a rebuild, decided with Dickey’s age it would be better to trade him for some younger prospects. On December 18, 2012 Dickey signed a 2 year, 25 million dollar extension to complete a sign and trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays had been adding pieces to make a championship run and were ecstatic to land Dickey. Toronto’s general manager Alex Anthopoulos said he envisions Dickey improving on his numbers from last season and saw him as a front of the rotation guy.
Despite Dickey’s individual success over the past few seasons there’s one thing that has consistently escaped him during his time in the major leagues. He’s never pitched in a post-season game. Dickey was immediately excited to play for the Blue Jays for this very reason. In the past year Toronto has added Dickey’s former teammate with the Mets, shortstop Jose Reyes, as well as fellow pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson. Attempting to compete in the AL East is no easy feat, but Dickey feels like the Blue Jays have the players to do so.
Dickey has said that despite not receiving the respect he felt he deserved from the Mets, he’s glad they didn’t meet his contract demands. The Nashville native is already 38 years old. You never know how many chances you’ll get to reach the ultimate stage in baseball. Dickey is hoping it’s sooner rather then later.
R.A. Dickey has come a long way since his time as a Tennessee Volunteer, when he was surrounded by guys like Peyton Manning and Todd Helton. After setting records at Tennessee, Dickey’s career got off to a rocky start, and took some time to get on the right track. Now that he’s found his groove, Dickey is poised to add a world series ring to put next to his Cy Young Award.