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Could The Orioles Sign RHP R.A. Dickey?

October 25, 2017
Throughout the next several weeks, we'll be looking at some prospective free agents the Orioles may be interested in. Not surprisingly, most of them are pitchers.
 
R.A. Dickey
 
Vital stats: Dickey will be 43 Oct. 29. The right-hander has pitched 15 years in the major leagues with the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves. In 2017, Dickey was 10-10 with a 4.26 ERA in 31 starts with the Braves.
 
Orioles connection: Dickey pitched for manager Buck Showalter with the Rangers from 2003-2006. Dickey credits Showalter for turning his career around by insisting he primarily throw the knuckleball.
 
Where would he fit? Even at 42, Dickey was an innings-eater in 2017, something the Orioles desperately need. He averaged more than six innings per start and had just two starts shorter than five innings.
 
Why wouldn't he fit? Late in the season, Dickey, whose $8 million option for 2018 has been declined by the Braves, said location would be a major part of deciding whether he'll continue his career. Dickey, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., said the Braves, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals were the three most geographically attractive teams to him.
 
Scouting report: "Fifth starter, save-your-pen type. Innings value over wins," according to a major league scout, who said he wouldn't "want to spend a lot" on Dickey.
 
It took Dickey several years to master the knuckleball, and Showalter got to see what he helped create on June 18, 2012. Facing the Orioles at the Mets' Citi Field, Dickey threw his second consecutive one-hitter and struck out 13.
 
Dickey, at 37, was on his way to the best season of his career, winning the National League Cy Young Award with a 20-6 record and 2.73 ERA.

Should Dickey not be able to sign with the Braves, Reds or Cardinals and wish to pitch on, Baltimore isn't all that far from Nashville, (about one hour, 55 minutes by air.)
 
Not only could Dickey help save the bullpen, but he'd provide some needed leadership to young starters Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, and Showalter would like his veteran presence around.
 
"Good father, good husband, good man," Showalter admiringly said of Dickey in June 2012.

However, the Orioles need much more than Dickey. They're looking to fill the spots in the rotation behind Bundy and Gausman, and while Dickey's resume is impressive, his age is definitely a concern.

Should Dickey sign with the Orioles, he'd instantly have a place in their history. With his first pitch, Dickey would become the oldest player in club history.
 
Ideally, the Orioles would be able to sign two free-agent starters who could give them two or even three years while their younger pitchers develop.
 
There's one stat that underscores the Orioles' need for Dickey, though. In eight appearances at Oriole Park, Dickey has allowed just three home runs in 44 innings. While he's gone 1-4 in Baltimore, he has a 3.27 ERA there.
 
When the Orioles acquired Jeremy Hellickson ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline this season, there was concern about the right-hander's history of allowing home runs at Oriole Park, and in 24.2 innings, he gave up seven.
 
Showalter wouldn't have that same concern with Dickey.