The Braves signed R.A Dickey last winter to a one-year deal with a club option in the second year worth $8 million. They were hoping the combination of Jaime Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Dickey could provide enough quality starts to keep the team competitive, but Colon was horrendous and Garcia is now wearing pinstripes. Dickey is the only one that remains, and for good reason, he has been the best of the bunch.
Age has not slowed down the knuckleballer, who has just gotten better as the year has gone on. After a gaudy May, Dickey posted a 3-1 record in June and a 2.45 ERA in July. He has a 3.34 ERA post All-Star break, good for best among all the Braves starters.
But most importantly, the Braves needed their trio of veterans to log as many innings as possible while their younger pitchers get acclimated to the big leagues. Once again, nobody has done that better than Dickey. It wasn’t until July 24th that Dickey failed to go at least five innings in a start. A remarkable stretch, that featured several outings where he had far from his best stuff. His 134 innings pitched this season are easily the most on the Braves staff.
At 42, Dickey is certainly not in the Braves future plans with all the young guns working their way through the farm system. The Braves, like they do with many of there expendable players, put Dickey on revocable waivers that would allow the team to trade him through the August 31st deadline.
But to this point, there is not really a proven pitcher outside of Mike Foltynewicz and Julio Teheran heading into next season. Sean Newcomb has looked terrific at times, but still shows signs of his egregious control issues. Lucas Sims looked promising in his first major league start, but got shelled in his second start. There is no telling if either of these two or any of the other prospects that are nearing their MLB debuts can be depended on next season, when the Braves will be looking to be serious playoff contenders. Dickey has been everything the Braves have needed, however, it is unlikely any team will offer anything of value for him, and it looks like the Braves could use him again next season.
Atlanta will look to add at least one starting arm in the offseason, but there will still be plenty of question marks surrounding a rotation, that has been awful this season, heading into 2018. Holding onto Dickey gives the Braves an effective, relatively cheap backup option that can log a lot of innings until some of the prospects begin to establish themselves.