R.A. Dickey puts off retirement and signs one-year deal with Braves

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 02: R.A. Dickey #43 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
R.A. Dickey #43 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)

It’s hot stove time in MLB, and the Braves have pulled a pot off that hot stove and made a free agent signing. They’ve signed veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, most recently of the Toronto Blue Jays, to a one-year deal. He’ll be in Atlanta for 2017, and he also has a club option for 2018. The financial terms of the deal have not been released.

Dickey, who is 42, had reportedly been considering retirement. But this deal was apparently enough to make him put that off for at least another year. Dickey has said he wants to be on a championship club, which makes the Braves a slightly puzzling choice. They had a really bad season in 2016, and even though they’ve got young talent coming out of their ears, they’re still a fair distance from being competitive.

But maybe Dickey just wants to keep on pitching, which is completely okay. Though watching him pitch in a Braves uniform in 2017 will be tough for New York Mets fans. Dickey won the 2012 Cy Young award while he was with the Mets, but was traded to the Blue Jays just months later. He went to Toronto along with Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, and the Mets received Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, Wuilmer Becerra, and Noah Syndergaard. Even though that trade brought Thor to the Mets, Dickey was well-loved among Mets fans, and seeing him play for an NL East rival won’t be easy.

2012 was the high watermark for Dickey. He won the Cy Young on the back of a season where he looked almost effortlessly dominant, with a 2.73 ERA over 33 starts, and an NL leading 230 strikeouts. But in four seasons for the Blue Jays his ERA was 4.05, and in 2016 alone he pitched to a 4.46 ERA. So it’s clear that his time as a front-of-the-rotation starter are far behind him. The Braves may not be competing in the immediate future, but they can use a veteran like Dickey. He can help guide their cadre of young pitchers, and he can eat more than a few innings himself. In four years with the Jays, he averaged 6.1 innings per start.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher