Well now here’s some nonsense.
With key starters Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez hurting, the Baltimore Orioles, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, seem to have taken the opportunity to notice out that they can’t keep winning games on smoke, mirrors, a decent lineup and a ridiculous bullpen forever– right? RIGHT????– and could probably use finding some kind of top-of-the-rotation help.
This seems a simple enough observation, but getting there is going to be another matter for the O’s, especially since Heyman informs us that GM Jim Duquette has apparently been “telling teams that top Orioles pitching prospects Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are absolutely and understandably untouchable.”
Uh… yeah… pretty sure the O’s conversation about any team’s ace-calibre pitcher that doesn’t start with either Gausman or Bundy is going to go over like a Jon Heyman-shaped lead balloon, but why the hell should that stop anyone from indulging ridiculously in speculation, eh?
The Orioles, according to sources, showed considerable interest in Dickey last winter. But while he’s off to a rough start in Toronto, the Jays have him on a reasonable three-year deal for $30 million, so he may not be available.
The Jays may not trade, to a division fucking rival, the guy they gave up a top twenty and top 100 prospect to land, and who has played all of six weeks for them so far.
They may not entertain giving up last year’s NL Cy Young winner, who makes less this year, and only $4.5-million more in each of the next two years than Ricky Romero.
They may not, despite the “rough start,” cut bait on a guy who was dealing with neck and back soreness for much of the early part of the season, and who pitched one of his best games of the year last night after declaring himself to be back at 100%.
And, indeed, while Dickey still maybe didn’t quite look the part of the guy who was so thoroughly dominant last year with the Mets, everything seemed to be trending in the right direction. According to the Pitch F/X data at Brooks Baseball for last night’s start, Dickey’s knuckleball maxed out at 80.59 mph, as compared to 78.86 in his previous start, and his best fastball was a tick faster as well. Granted, the velocity numbers look similar to his May 4th start against the Mariners, in which he was shelled, but perhaps more importantly, against the Giants, Dickey was better able to throw strikes.
Last night 65% of Dickey’s knuckleballs went for strikes. He generated 15 whiffs, and 51 “strikes not in play”.
On the 4th it was just 54% of knucklers for strikes, with 9 whiffs and 32 SNiPs, while the previous start in Tampa was 59%, 13 and 39.
There also seemed to be a slight change in Dickey’s release point between the Tampa start and last night’s, as we see in this GIF:
Following last week’s start, Dickey acknowledged– as had been written about a few times over the course of his back/neck injury– that the release point was something of an issue.
From John Lott of the National Post:
Meanwhile, Dickey acknowledged that he continues to seek a consistent release point and may still be feeling the after-effects of the neck and upper-back spasms that hampered him in recent weeks.
“There might be some weaknesses because I haven’t been able to do my in-between start routine and get in the weight room like I’d like to,” he said. “There may be some residual weakness which is manifested in lower velocities but for the most part I feel pretty good. [Trainer] George Poulis has had his hands full with this team but he’s done a heck of a job getting me ready.”
The strike zone plot looked less scattered last night, as well:
I don’t know if it means anything, to be honest, but the result was certainly there for Dickey last night, and there are some signs that he actually took a step in the right direction. Good news for the Orioles, huh? Jonathan Schoop, here we come!