Greetings from balmy Havre, MT, where the temperature finally got over 0 degrees for the first time in four days.
It seems as though our good buddy Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald must have gotten his Christmas shopping done and didn't wait till Christmas Eve like the rest of us. Why? Well, because he broke the story today that knuckleballer R.A. Dickey spurned a chance to re-sign with the Mariners along with free agent offers from the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers to sign with the Minnesota Twins - the team the Mariners first acquired him from.
Here's Dickey's splits with the Mariners this season.
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Can't really argue with Dickey's logic for choosing the Twins. Even though the Mariners offered more money, Dickey went with the Twins because they offered his best chance to stay at the big league level - which is all he ever wanted.
Is Dickey a major loss for the Mariners? Well, that depends on how you look at it. Dickey wasn't the most consistent pitcher for Seattle last season. He showed flashes of brilliance as a reliever, particularly a long reliever. However, he struggled as a starter much of the time and he fought to find consistency with his signature pitch for stretches. Still, he was valuable in the sense that he was willing and almost asked to take the ball every day. He was always available no matter the situation and a pitcher with that attitude and durability definitely has his uses.
For me and other sportswriters, Dickey was a breath of fresh air and a dream to have in the clubhouse. He was unpretentious, always available and accommodating almost to a fault. He is probably the most intelligent baseball players I've ever covered and one of the smartest people I've ever met. He has a great perspective on not only the game but on life outside of it. He was always a guy you could go to ask a bigger picture question about things affecting the game, almost always you got a smart, well-put opinion that resonated with what you were writing about. And on days when you were searching for a notebook idea, a quick chat with Dickey or Roy Corcoran could often illicit something useful.
Part of the reason why he was so good to talk to is because of what it took for him to get to this point in his career. It was far from conventional and was well documented in this New York Times story.