Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Not that I want to try to make something out of nothing here, but R.A. Dickey had a wide-ranging talk with Eno Sarris of FanGraphs published this morning, and while it’s all pretty interesting– particularly the stuff about Dickey’s health, which sounds not even close to 100%– a couple comments really stood out to me, and maybe not in a good way.

Sarris: How does this relate to, you called it 75% effort vs when you were a conventional thrower… Did this remind you of your age? The thing about knuckleballers is “oh, they can pitch forever.”

Dickey: I don’t know if it reminds me of my age, as I look to my left and right, I see far younger players on the DL for far lesser things.

Sarris: Touche.

Dickey: So it’s hard or me to equate this with just my age. What’s much more important to me is to take the ball every fifth [day] and be counted on for 200 innings. You have to be able to take the ball when you’re not feeling great. The guys that can’t really pitch unless they are 100% that don’t ever get to those milestones. Do I feel old? Not really. Am I old?

Hi Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson!

Now, I have no idea if those are the guys who Dickey sees when he looks left and right from his locker, but it’s pretty hard to avoid reading between the lines here, given the spotty health of those two. After all, they are counted-on Jays starters who, so far, have made just two more starts combined than the ailing knuckleballer has alone.

But let’s not be too hasty in slamming Dickey for possibly calling out a couple of teammates– or, y’know, in praising him for it.

For one, thing, when Brandon Morrow was scratched from a mid-May start, he made it very clear to reporters that the decision was not his. It’s ”out of my hands,” he said at the time, noting that the club was just being “extra-cautious,” while John Gibbons told reporters that “we just want to make sure he’s as close to 100% as possible.”

Here, Morrow comes off like a gamer who was willing to go out and pitched, yet was forced back to the bench by the club. Could that have been spin? Did we perhaps also not get the full story back in May, either, when Josh Johnson, a day after telling Barry Davis he was “feeling better” and was looking forward to pitching, ended up on the Disabled List?

I’m sure the negative fucking suckholes out there will now insist that we didn’t, and that the maligned Dickey is now the patron saint of veiled truth-telling, but… man… I don’t know.

Mostly, it just kinda looks bad to be on a roster with seven pitchers on the DL, and two who just returned from it this week, shitting on the weak constitutions of the young wretches who actually have ulnar collateral ligaments to feel barking, and who can’t survive as big league pitchers while topping out in the low 80s. Doesn’t it?

And somewhat frustratingly, Dickey knows he’s a different animal, too! He admits to Sarris that “if I was a conventional pitcher, with this injury, I’d be out. There would be no way. I couldn’t pitch. In fact, in Texas I had a similar injury to my rhomboid in 2004 and I was out for more than a month.”

Yes, with this injury. Not with whatever widdle ouchies today’s delicate little flowers won’t pitch through.

Thing is… uh… R.A., could your big man injury maybe be healing faster if you were out? Because we kind of need you to not be the shitbag who has allowed six or more runs in five of his first fourteen starts– including three of the last four.

Granted, you could have been spared some of those runs if you were less willing to stay in games in order to save the bullpen. But still, it’s been real fucking ugly a lot of nights. Real, real fucking ugly. And while I do genuinely have hope that the knuckleball going to get working again consistently, until it does, there’s no other way to put it. And whether these comments were directed at teammates or not, they sure as fuck aren’t helping.

Comments (95)

  1. Why does it say Esmil is pitching on

    • Because he is pitching.

      • An odd decision

        • Yet, not the first time it’s been done.

        • Its not really that odd. Even though he hasnt pitched long into games, he has definitely pitched well when he was there. And if they want to stretch him out, theres only one way to do it. Look for him to go a little bit further tonight than his previous 2 starts.

          And with Morrow out, Happ’s return still not really known, it cant hurt to have that swing man that can be stretched out and pitch in the rotation.

      • crap.

        • this gives them the ability to rest other starters, and also push everyone back and more easily slot someone in on a desired return date.

          • Because our starters need rest from all the innings they have pitched this year?

            • Its not necessarily innings pitched (really a way of counting how many batters are retired) but how many pitches you throw that counts. A pitcher who goes 4 innings with 10 hits a 6 walks probably needs more rest than a guy who throws 95 pitches over 7 innigs.

    • They decided to move everyone’s start a day later, rather than skip Rogers.

    • because he’s our second best starting pitcher right now

  2. I read that article before you posted this, and I didn’t draw the same conclusions. I didn’t get the feeling he was calling them out at all. But maybe?

    Are we still not better off with a 75% Dickey, than say Chad Jenkins?

    • 75% of Dickey for 2+ months or Jenkins for a month then 100% Dickey for the rest of the season.

      I would take the latter

  3. Eh…I think you’re reading into this wrong.

    Max effort pitchers need to be at 100%, or else they are probably going to be altering their mechanics and that is likely to lead to more severe injuries.

    I think Dickey is saying that because he’s not throwing at max effort, he can play a little hurt.

    At least thats how I think he meant it

    • Read his words, though.

      • I did. I doubt he meant to call out anyone on particular. Was probably just “in the moment” and talking about how he’s different from other pitchers.
        But maybe not… maybe he’s a bit of a dick.

      • My impression of the comment was that he was talking league-wide, not necessarily in the clubhouse.

  4. Kinda like applying troll bait.

  5. This seems horribly taken out of context. The question immediately following that was this:

    Sarris: I guess what I meant is, did it make you feel more like a conventional pitcher again?

    Dickey: No, because if I was a conventional pitcher, with this injury, I’d be out. There would be no way. I couldn’t pitch. In fact, in Texas I had a similar injury to my rhomboid in 2004 and I was out for more than a month.

    So, he is only talking in terms of being a knuckleballer vs. a conventional pitcher, not calling out his teammates for not sucking it up like he is.

    • Very possible.

      • I can see your slant Stoeten but I agree with No.
        At this point,I’ll err on the side of RA.
        He doesn’t seem like a guy to call out,even indirectly, his teammates.
        In fact ,he has stated so in his book.
        He doesn’t throw his teamates under the bus..

        • Well then. If he said it in a book.

          Remember him calling out the Mets at their Chrismas party for kids last December? Not teammates, but not entirely out of character.

          • Anythings possible Stoeten,I guess.
            In the book he praised Reyes as an incredibly dedicated player.
            Then a section later sorta called him out, for pulling himself on the last game of the year to win the batting title.
            Still think,in this case,it’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

          • Ask any mets fan…Mets ownerships standard operating procedure is to trash popular players right before trading them away.. R.A “calling out” the Mets was more hype then reality . Read. Emma. Span’s. account.

  6. Could this be a way to rationalize his sub par numbers against AL teams???

  7. He’s probably talking about that plaid wearing pussy Happ, that guy could never be a hockey player out over a month from getting hit with a ball… sack up.

  8. Actually I thinking pitching well is more important than 200 innings.

    While I applaud his attitude, he’s really not pitching well enough to be taking a high road on anything at this point

  9. Yeah, they really need to put him on the DL. That last start was just awful to watch.

    • It’s not crazy to think the fog flattened out the ball and made it worse. Would be easier to believe if he hadn’t been crap so often this year, though.

      • From my years in the airline business i know for a fact that there is less lift in humid air. The ball would naturally take a different path: most likely with less “dance” they say.

      • I believe it, but then it’s hard to rely on a guy who is so influenced by the playing conditions.

      • I was at that game and I can say the fog caused me to have trouble tweeting because the condensation on my fingers made it hard to type. If I had condensation on my fingers, chances are pretty good he was having trouble too. That’s the thing with a knuckle ball pitcher, when it is going good it is pretty great. But just a smidge of a variable can completely throw it out of whack.

  10. He is a baseball player, who took a solid shot off the head. Telling him to sack up is ridiculous.

    Take your hockey comparisons over to tsn where they belong.

    • Holy fuck, miss the joke much?

      At least… I think he’s joking.

      Holy fuck, is he not joking???

      • Joking?? Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot and kept going for all three overtimes!!!! Baseball players have no heart!!!

        Yes definitely joking… maybe if my name was Damien Cox you could take it seriously… but yeah

        • “Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot and kept going for all three overtimes!!!! ” – Hmmm, let’s make the baseball players wear lots of pads… that’s the ticket. I am on to something here folks.

      • he’s joking (the original commenter) and it was brilliant.

  11. I read the Sarris article and also listened to Dirk and Blair speak of it on Jays Central and I didnt take it in the same context as calling out teammates, but….whatever.

  12. Well, if he wasnt referring to morrow and jj who the fuck else could he have been referring to??

    • Good ol’ Ramon Ortiz of course!!!!

    • Anyone and everyone in the league who is younger than him and has ever been on the DL?

      I didn’t take it as veiled criticism of anyone in particular. More a comment about the league in general.

      If he had said “I look around the league” instead of “I look left and right” is this even a conversation? Probably not. And i quite honestly dont care.

      Let’s do some more rosterbstibg

  13. Lets face it…Morrow and Johnson are pussies.

    Kinda hard to stomach when you see a guy like Melky out on the field every day, giving us all he can, despite his bad hamstring(s).

  14. In general , though, he kind of touches on the softness of a lot of todays pitchers.
    My god, they get( the starters) 4 days off instead of 3 like a decade or so ago, so now we have more “5th starter” types in baseball ( yea for jo jo reyes), adn they spend a lot of time on the DL.
    Without getting into a long dissertation about making more $$ today, training regimens, pitching coaches and souffles, how on earth would the 4 starters that Baltimore had that ALL won 20 in the same year react to todays wimps?
    I mean Palmer, Cuellar, Mcnally and Dobson answered the bell all year and often completed what they started too. As a former pitcher I can tell you they would have been sore by Sept but they answered the bell and I think RA would have too. The others-I dunno.
    I guess it’s just diff times and attitudes but it w/b nice if some of them could suck it up a little more

    • Please dont equate your baseball experience with those of major leaguers.

      • why not? Because you have better insight? If so , let’s hear hit?

        • Just read anything Nolan Ryan has to say about it. He pitched 332 innings one year and his AVERAGE IP’s was 232. It’s physically possible to do.

    • Yeah I think its the different times thing that you said at the end. I agree, Id love for more ball players suck it up and play through a blister on their throwing hand or some other shit like that, but its not really the mentality anymore.

      With the length of contracts and money invested in guys, most teams and trainers have a desire to get to ailments early in the hopes that by not pushing it, they wont hurt it further and can come back quicker and stronger. I think you can attribute that to advanced medical diagnoses and things like MRI and other imaging devices that are so much easier to get access to than even say 15 – 20 years ago.

      Its a new era really. With regards to the time/players you mentioned, its likely that a lot of those guys had some of the same nagging injuries that a lot of guys have today, but without proper diagnosis, they would simply play through it. Now with the union and medical insurance such a big thing, I imagine a lot of the DL’ing of players comes from the organization or the union much more than it does the players themselves.

      • mostly agree with you. That’s what I meant by we could get into a lengthy discussion but you summarize the dilemma well

        • There were a few pitchers recently who didnt want to be drafted by organizations who held to strict pitch counts. They thought it would affect their effectiveness. I’m pretty sure Dylan Bundy was one.

    • Simple fact: club management decides to pull players far more often than players do themselves. Just complaining will get you the Schwimer treatment. A guy like Morrow (diabetic) will be handles with kids gloves no matter what the hell he wants. This is the natural consequence of player wages representing an increasingly high share of total club expenditures. Just club management reacting to labour markets.

      • good point. We went to a lot of gyrations to keep Schimmer and I never hear anything about him ( not that I am anxiously looking it up). But shit, wouldn;t he be at least as good as Ortiz/Bush?Laffey??

  15. In med school they used to say,” look to your left, look to your right, one of you will not make it through your first year. ”

    When he says left and right, he is not using it in a literal sense with his club house. He is referring to the overall baseball landscape. No question about it. Its not as if he actually means “morrow on my left, Johnson on my right”

    And it was a defensive quip. He was asked if age is the reason why he is dealing with this nagging injury. So his retort actually made alot of sense. If age is the issue, then why do so many young arms get injured? (in baseball, not just the jays).

    As for him playing through it, this is where I call bullshit. If it is really affecting his performance to that degree that he goes from cy young to shitty, then he needs to shut it down. He is not helping by doing that.

    And the comments about him at 75 percent being better than chad jenkins..that is a short sighted way of looking at it. In the short run, sure, you give up some by not playing him, but you recoup so much more once he is fully healed for the vast, vast majority of the season.

    • That’s interesting that the tell you that in med school, from what i hear it’s the exact oppposite. Once you get into med school, they do everything to get you to graduate.

      • Note that he said “first year”. It’s like that in lots of programs. My engineering class lost 75% of its members within the first 18 months; the rest pretty much all graduated.

      • That is why I used the term “used to “.

        That is the way it was in the old days.

        Now you have to be a complete idiot to not pass once you get in

      • I’m assuming that the medical staff told Dickey: a) he could play with the injury without aggravating it and b) it would heal itself at some point.
        But the damn thing keeps on resurfacing game after game. Wouldn’t it just be more productive to shut him down for 2 starts?

  16. I also am not interested in feeding the fire, but to continue with the fire/smoke metaphor, sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire with this type of shot-across-the-bow activity – i.e. him having a bit of a rep for this stuff with the Mets. Hayhurst was similar.

    Either way, Stoeten’s point about R.A. pointing out that if he was a “regular” pitcher he wouldn’t be able to pitch with this injury is kind of a significant one. You’d think that a bro as sagely and seemingly introspective as R.A. would see the irony in making that point.

  17. I just wanted to mention here, in case anyone who didn’t read the article didn’t realize, was that this interview was done shortly before RAD’s start against the Giants – two starts ago.

    So based on how he pitched that game and his comments then, he is feeling much better now.

    • Except he played like shit again the next start. O, I forgot. It was the weather that time… and if he doesn’t pitch well next time, he’ll be hurt again.

      I love Dickey, but if he’s hurt he needs to fuck off for a few starts and get himself right. And if he’s not, then he can’t use it as an excuse for pitching poorly anymore. Dickey at 70% is better than Jenkins at 100%, but a hell of a lot shittier than Dickey at 100%.

  18. No question that if Dickey is hurt he should miss two or three starts. In fact, I’d rather have that. Plus Jenkins actually hasn’t been terrible.

  19. This whole thing is so unfortunate. I think there’s something to seriously be said for pitchers sucking while pitching hurt, but it’s not like you can say “go take a break” because there’s literally NO OTHER HUMANS TO CALL and at least the old man is eating innings. But I’ll file it in the “at least it can’t/shouldn’t get worse” folder.

  20. I have Dickey on my fantasy team. Maybe that’s why he’s doing so shit-tacular.

  21. First of all, RA has thrown 8 quality starts – tied for 33 in the league.. So for those that love to bash him – 60% of the time he has gone out there and given us a legitimate chance to win, take things in stride – its baseball people (a 12-2 loss and a 3-2 loss is the same on the record book.

    Secondly, RAs comments are bogus, Baseball is also a business and the young guys are pitchers with bright futures that make taking the extra week or two off beneficial in the long run (people with money invested definitely think that way). Every pitcher is different, some rely on muscles and ligaments that are more tender than others so are more at risk to certain problems.

    And RA is a 38 year old knuckleballer, health concerns aren’t exactly a priority if you can still get out there and make the ball dance.

    • Yeah, well, whining about “forearm tightness” and missing a start (or two) makes one a pusseh extraordinaire. Robert Allen is right.

    • I take back my bogus comment – and replace it with RA shouldn’t be surprised given the money invested with the over-caution approach when it comes to management towards young pitchers.

  22. I love how everyone thinks they know more about pitching than a Cy Young award winner. Dickey has more intelligence in his fingernail filings than you bunch put together.

  23. This would be consistent with Hayhurst calling Morrow soft the other day and Blair agreeing that he’s heard that around the clubhouse.

  24. The one point I would add to this article, stoeten, is that if Dickey’s injury was as bad as he makes it sound, the club wouldnt allow him to pitch especially if JJ and Morrow were both put on the DL by the club as we are led to believe.

    It’s impossible to make head or tails out of this, Dickey has been known to be… Lawyerly. ahem. Im not saying hes full of shit, but he’s an emotional guy that might lack the ability to keep it tied down from time to time… who knows.

  25. I think this article has made a mountain out of a mole hill.. This is what these journalists get paid to do.. stir the pot.. Whether he was calling out his teammates or not or possibly pitchers around the league. Its the truth. Teams are babying their investments. Its understandable. Who doesnt protect their investments or keep tabs on their investments..
    It makes sense..

  26. Yeah I’m in the “not what he meant” club too. He’s too well-spoken to have said something so callous without at least qualifying the statement or tempering it in some way.

  27. I know it can’t be quantified so to some people this is make believe, but a huge part of baseball is confidence. If you can actually convince yourself your struggles were due to something outside of your control and it has now been fixed, that can go a long way.

  28. Wow who the hell hires someone like this with grammer worse then a 4 year old. The fact that people have to read it 2-3 times to try and make out some of the sentences id psthetic at best. Great on R.A for calling it as he sees it and whoever wrote this piece do us a favor before you write your next piece go back and finish JK.

    • Those who live in glass houses…..

      Grammar, not “grammer”. Than, not “then”. That’s one spelling mistake and one misused word in the first sentence – I needn’t continue.

  29. I agree. The grammer id psthetic. Are you available for an editing position?

  30. We (those of us who aren’t delusional anyway) are far enough into the season to know that there ain’t gonna be no playoffs in the T-dot this year. Dickey should go on the DL for as long as it take for him to get better. Giving up 5 and 6 runs per start isn’t helping anyone.

  31. Definitely sounds like a throwaway comment, and your UCL aside is well worth noting. Morrow is shut down because “forearm tightness” is usually a euphemism for “future Tommy John.”

  32. Looking to your left and to your right is a turn of phrase that means randomly sampling the population. It doesn’t literally mean the people to your immediate left & right. I think he could have said, “Looking at the DL, I can see many far younger players for far lesser things,” and it would have been synonymous.

  33. you get paid to write this crap?

  34. Ok, what is this crap, Score? Reading between the lines? More like putting your arm elbow deep up a bull’s rectum to find a story.

  35. There is no doubt about R.A. Dickey’s performance. I like his play so much. Hope he will be a baseball one day.

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