R.A. Dickey is a confusing baseball player.
His story is both incredible, inspiring and unusual. He's 38 years old, throws knuckleballs and is the most recent NL Cy Young Award winner. He spent the majority of his career as half-starter, half-reliever, occasionally missing entire seasons.
Until he ended up with the Mets and they believed in him enough—that's what they'll tell you; really they were just desperate—to make him a full-time starter, and the rest is history.
But now, Dickey is the subject of trade rumours. Since conventional wisdom would tell you that any team would be crazy not to re-sign the reigning Cy Young winner, that's what the Mets are trying to do.
But there's nothing conventional about R.A. Dickey.
It's one of those situations where the Mets may be thinking that Dickey's value will never be higher, so they ought to try to turn a 38-year-old into some young, talented assets. If they can't lock him up this offseason, the Mets will certainly entertain trade offers.
Which brings us to the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Fox's Ken Rosenthal, one of the latest, most plausible rumours surrounding Dickey is a trade that would send JP Arencibia and Anthony Gose for the starter.
Rosenthal also quickly dismisses the idea of trading Arencibia and Gose, since that trade would be clinically insane for Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos to even consider. A more reasonable idea is Arencibia for Dickey, straight-up. It's confusing though, because JP Arencibia doesn't seem like enough for a Cy Young winner.
That word "confusing" keeps popping up.
But a deal for Dickey seems possible. Anthopoulos is looking to add depth in the Jays rotation, and if Dickey is available he's one of the best options on the trade market. Like any deal, It all depends on what the Mets are asking for and what the Jays are willing to give up.
However, how well would he handle the dreaded American League East?
Dickey's career record against AL teams is 27-24 and 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA against AL East teams. Simply put, he's been very average. However, those are career stats and Dickey has been much more effective in the last few years.
In 2012, DIckey faced the Orioles, Yankees and Rays once. He did not make a start against the Red Sox or Jays. In those three AL East starts in 2012, Dickey threw two complete games—one a shutout—throwing a total of 24.0 innings.
So, while Dickey has been average in his career against the AL East, he was spectacular in 2012, albeit in a small sample size.
Another somewhat concerning number is Dickey's ground-ball to fly-ball ratio of 0.87 in 2012.
One would assume moving from pitcher-friendly ballparks like Turner Field and Marlins Park, Dickey's home run rate would increase. Yes, Citi Field is a hitter-friendly stadium, but Oriole Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Rogers Centre all would be described as hitter-friendly as well.
This may not seem totally relevant, but it may have a huge effect, should a trade occur. Dickey dominated the Marlins last year, and without those wins, Dickey's numbers would be strong, but not Cy Young-worthy.
Simply put, Dickey would no doubt allow more home runs in the AL East.
But he's not a predictable baseball player. It's not surprising that a look into Dickey's numbers against the AL East has essentially yielded nothing. Yes, Dickey has had success against the division, but other numbers seem to suggest that he'll struggle.