I'm not sure exactly what the New York Mets were expecting when they signed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to a minor league contract prior to the 2010 season. But I would argue they never would have imagined he would have given them three seasons of ace-type numbers and the heart and soul the team desperately needed.
In his three-season tenure as a Met, Dickey has a cumulative 2.95 ERA with 468 strikeouts. Of course, his career pinnacled in 2012 when he was crowned the league's Cy Young award winner—the first Met to win the award since Dwight Gooden in 1985—leading the league with 230 punchouts.
However, Dickey just turned 38. And although knuckleballers are known to have more longevity than the prototypical pitcher, one has to wonder how much longer Dickey can maintain this level of play. Despite his incredible 2012 season, there were times his body started to break down. Amazingly, he pitched the entire season with a torn abdominal muscle, for which he had surgery last month.
Dickey's current contract with the Mets expires after the 2013 season. The sides have been looking at a contract extension for the entire offseason so far. The point is, when the time comes for Dickey to put down that knuckleball, some would say he should still be donning that Mets uniform. And here are the reasons why...