Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Will Kuroda's Contract Affect How Much Dickey Gets?

Earlier today, the Yankees re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal with $15 million.   The right-handed starter, who will be 38 by Opening Day, had a 16-11 record with a 3.32 ERA for the Yankees in 2012.

Kuroda's season was outstanding, especially considering that he was pitching in the American League East for the first time last season.  But prior to 2012, Kuroda was a sub-.500 pitcher in four years with the Dodgers.  From 2008-2011, Kuroda was 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA.  Those aren't the usual numbers posted by a $15 million pitcher.

Now let's look at R.A. Dickey, who, like Kuroda, will also be making his 2013 debut at the age of 38.  In 2012, Dickey had the best year of his career, going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and a league-leading 230 strikeouts, five complete games and three shutouts.  He will be earning $5 million in 2013.

Both Kuroda and Dickey had career years last year, but let's compare what the two pitchers have done over the past three seasons.

  • Kuroda: 96 starts, 40-40 record, 3.26 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 487 Ks, 3.29 K/BB
  • Dickey: 91 starts, 39-28 record, 2.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 468 Ks, 3.12 K/BB

Dickey has one less win and 19 fewer strikeouts than Kuroda since 2010, but Kuroda has five more starts.  Given five extra starts, it's not unreasonable to suggest that Dickey would have more wins and strikeouts than Kuroda over the past three seasons, to go with the better ERA and WHIP.  However, Kuroda's teams over the past three years have finished a combined 29 games above .500 (257-228), while the Mets have combined to finish 26 games below .500 (230-256).

If Kuroda is earning $15 million in 2013, then what's Dickey worth, especially after his Cy Young campaign?  After watching their crosstown rivals pony up for their 38-year-old starter, the Mets are going to have to break the bank to keep theirs.

Although Dickey is definitely the type of person who would give the Mets a hometown discount, especially since he's (in his own words) loyal to the team that gave him a chance in 2010, why should he settle for only $10 million per season?  If the Mets are going to offer Dickey a two-year extension that would keep him in New York until 2015, they might have to start with a $30 million offer for the two seasons, thereby having $35 million tied up in their knuckleballer ($5 million of that amount is for his 2013 salary) over the next three years.

R.A. Dickey is a loyal human being, but he's not a stupid one.  After watching Hiroki Kuroda get $15 million with the Yankees, the Mets are going to have to offer Dickey something in that neighborhood to get him to stay in Flushing.  Otherwise, Dickey might be playing in another neighborhood sooner than fans would like.

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