I know, I know…the Mets are yet again revealing themselves an unserious and possibly inept organization for not (or not yet) signing an impact free agent while instead laying in a supply of R.A. Dickeys for the hard winter ahead. It’s an easy enough charge to level.
Still, can I say something in some combination of the Mets’ and Dickey’s defense?
There’s nothing wrong with signing R.A. Dickey.
Oh, eventually there might be. There might come a time when he knuckles under rather than hunkers down as his most unusual pitch  flutters past one of our many backup catchers — or, worse yet, over one of the league’s many outfield fences — but we don’t know that. I don’t know a damn thing about R.A. Dickey other than what I’ve been reading regarding his lack of elbow ligament …which, I admit, doesn’t inspire oodles of confidence…and his inglorious track record. I kind of recall his excelling against the Mets  one June night not long ago when Oliver Perez was decidedly doing no such thing against the Mariners. I recall it being considered aberrational (the Dickey part, not the Perez part).
But so what? He’s a minor league signee who will either descend into the land of forgotten relievers or surprise us with his effectiveness. The problem is not R.A. Dickey or Ryota Igarashi or Henry Blanco or Chris Coste. If those are the guys on the cover of the media guide, yes, that’s bad news. But they’re spare parts at the moment, and who honestly cares if we pick up our spare parts before we finalize our engine shopping?
You never know when a spare part will become essential in the short or long term. Rick Reed, Brian Bohanon, Darren Oliver and Omir Santos, to name four, all raised yawns in their time of acquisition. Then they each gave us some big innings and great swings down the road. I don’t know that the unexciting signings of late 2009 will remotely approach the contributions those guys made…but maybe they will. If not, they won’t be here or relied upon forever and a day.
R.A. Dickey isn’t why the Mets didn’t go harder for Jason Marquis or somehow get involved for Javier Vazquez or get around to landing Jason Bay. He’s just R.A. Dickey. He’ll report to St. Lucie before too long, he’ll be the subject of a few “look, it’s a knuckleballer!” stories and we’ll either be glad we got him or practically forget him as soon as we can. It’s not like we traded Bubba Trammell for Donne Wall or, for that matter, Jason Bay for Steve Reed here. It’s a minor league contract. It’s low-risk. It’s simply one of those things.
The Mets need to do more of the bigger things, but until then, get out the oversized mitt and make R.A. Dickey feel at home. What the hell? Consider it in the spirit of the holiday season.