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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mets Must Keep Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey

The last time a Met pitcher won the Cy Young Award, the team won the World Series the following year. 27 years later, I'll settle for a reason to come to the ballpark every fifth day.

R.A. Dickey is a great story. Now he's had a great season. Conventional wisdom says that the Mets need to sign David Wright to a long-term contract because he's the face of the franchise and can be a long-term ambassador for the team. But Dickey could also be a great representative of the Mets - a unique everyman who triumphed over great odds.

The odds were against my going to a Met game last September once another season was down the drain. But thanks to Dickey going for his 20th win, the Mets actually had a meaningful game in September, and I was part of a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Teams trying to contend don't trade Cy Young winners. In recent years, Kansas City traded Zach Greinke, Cleveland traded Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia and Minnesota traded Johan Santana. How's that working out for them? 

2012's other Cy Young winner, David Price, probably just punched his ticket out of Tampa Bay because his price (no pun intended) just got too expensive. The Rays have had a lot of success in recent years, but it hasn't translated into a large fan base. Who wants to root for a team that keeps shipping out their best players?

A couple of years ago, Toronto traded away former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, who promptly won a second Cy Young with the Phillies. But Toronto got back top prospects Travis D'Arnaud and Kyle Drabek. Isn't there a scenario in which the Mets could trade Dickey for top prospects and improve the team's chance of contending down the road?

Theoretically, yes, but most prospects are ultimately just prospects. Everyone's excited over how the Mets landed Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, but Wheeler still hasn't pitched an inning in the majors. He's no sure thing.

And Beltran, always underrated with the Mets, has been a perennial star when healthy. Halladay is putting together a Hall of Fame career. Will other teams be willing to part with top prospects for a 37-year-old who finally found success with a knuckleball?

As Squawker Lisa knows all too well, finding good pitchers who can pitch well in New York is hard enough. The best thing for the fans is to keep Dickey around. It's probably the best thing for the Mets'  hopes to put together a good team as well.

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Lisa and I saw "Knuckleball" last spring at the Tribeca Film Festival and we both highly recommend it. The film is now available on DVD through www.knuckleballmovie.com.

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