The 2012 season has not started off the way R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays probably envisioned.
Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner, struggled out of the gate this season, giving up 10 earned runs and 15 hits over his first two starts of the season. Dickey, to the delight of the Blue Jays, recovered in his next two starts, giving up only one earned run and collecting his only two wins of the season.
Unfortunately for Dickey and the Blue Jays the Knuckleballer’s struggles have continued over his last couple of starts. Dickey has given up seven earned runs over his last two starts, to drop his record to 2-4 on the young season. In addition to Dickey’s losing record he’s compiled a 4.50 era, after finishing the 2012 season second in the NL with a 2.73 era.
Dickey does have an excuse (if there is such a thing in sports) for his poor performance to start the season. The Nashville native has been dealing with neck and back issues all season. He recently described his frustration to the New York Daily News:
I’m waiting for whatever is back there to subside or abate, and hopefully start rolling off some wins. It sure was frustrating because I feel like if you’re yourself, you could stay out there longer and probably have a little bit better results. So it is frustrating.
That probably won’t provide much comfort to Toronto fans. This off-season the Blue Jays assembled a New York Yankees type lineup, full of powerful bats and dominating pitchers, a lineup that was expected to not only compete for the Al East, but dominate the division.
It hasn’t turned out that way so far for the Blue Jays — in fact far from it.
Toronto has started the season 9-17 and they currently sit 9.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
Dickey of course was acquired by the Blue Jays this off-season from the New York Mets, in order to bolster their pitching staff. The Blue Jays gave up catcher John Buck and two top prospects in catcher Travis d’Arnaud and pitcher Noah Syndergaard in exchange for Dickey.
With Dickey’s struggles to begin the season, one has to wonder if the Jays are regretting their decision to trade for the NL Cy Young winner.
Here’s how the players the Blue Jays gave up in the trade are doing so far this season.
- John Buck, considered the “throw-in piece” of the deal by many, got off to red hot start for the Mets this season. Buck began the season hitting nearly .400 over his first eight games and has hit nine homeruns, including several tape measure shots.
- Travis d’Arnaud, who was the centerpiece of the deal for the Mets, is one of the top prospects in baseball. Unfortunately for the Mets d’Arnaud broke his left foot while playing for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas and is expected to miss a significant portion of the season.
- Noah Syndergaard is still a ways away from joining the big leagues, but has showed promise so far in his young career. Syndergaard has a 4.50 era and 19 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched so far this season in the minors.
It’s still very early in the season and hopefully for Toronto fans Dickey can get past his neck and back issues and regain the form that he showed in his historic 2012 season. Dickey has shown flashes this season and there’s little doubt that he can still be a dominant starting pitcher.
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, with the slow start this season, it may be too little, too late.