Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey hints at retirement after beating Nationals
Thursday night, veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey twirled a gem against the Nationals, holding them to two runs in eight innings. The Braves held on to win the series finale against Washington (ATL 3, WAS 2).
The win improved Dickey to 10-10 with a 4.32 ERA in 183 1/3 innings this season. And, after the game, he hinted at retirement after the season while speaking to reporters. Here’s what Dickey told the Associated Press:
“I’d be lying to say I didn’t have some emotions about it,” Dickey said. “This could be my last start ever at a home venue. But we’re going to make that decision at the end of the season and see how I feel and what goes on there.”
“If I did not continue to play, it would be because our family decided it wasn’t the best thing. I’ve dragged my kids all over the world playing baseball for 21 years. You know, there comes a time they deserve their dad to be around.”
Dickey, who turns 43 in October, has an $8 million club option for 2018 in his contract, which is the going rate for a veteran innings-eater these days. The Braves are loaded with young pitching, but there is no such thing as too many starters, and besides, it’s always good to have a veteran leader you know will take the ball every fifth day.
That said, Dickey could still retire even if the Braves do exercise the option. He’s been solid in the five seasons since being named the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner, when he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA with the Mets, and because he’s a knuckleballer, he can basically pitch forever. Normal pitcher aging curves don’t apply to them.
Dickey has banked over $50 million in player contracts at this point, so chances are the biggest reason he could continue playing is to try to win a World Series. He’s yet to win a ring. That said, there are things more important than baseball, and family is one of them. If this is indeed the end of the line for Dickey, he’s had one heck of a productive (and fascinating) career.