The Toronto Blue Jays have exercised the option of veteran right-hander R.A. Dickey, according to a club announcement made on Tuesday afternoon.
Alongside Dickey, outfielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion have also had their options picked up by the club. Infielder Maicer Izturis on the other hand has had his option declined.
The news comes one day after the club officially brought aboard new president Mark Shapiro, who formally announced the promotion of Tony LaCava during his first press conference with the local media. LaCava was promoted from assistant GM to interim GM, taking the place of Alex Anthopoulos who the team parted ways with on Thursday.
As reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Dickey's option for 2016 is worth $12 million. Heyman added as well that Bautista's option is worth $14 million and Encarnacion's is worth $10 million.
For the two needed power hitters atop the club's lineup, this was seen as a "forgone conclusion." As for the case surrounding Dickey, it was a little more complex given the way he has pitched over the past two seasons with uncertainty heading into every start, as the club was unsure what to expect in terms of the way the knuckle ball would float that day.
Alex Anthopoulos recently commented on Dickey and his capabilities, saying that he had put himself in a good position for the option to be picked up.
As noted by MLBTradeRumors, Dickey turns 41-years-old tomorrow and has logged more than 200 innings pitched for the fifth consecutive season. Heading out of the 2015 season, Dickey walked away with a 3.91 ERA with 5.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate in his 214 1/3 frames this year.
When first welcomed by the city of Toronto, not everyone approved this deal as there had been criticism beyond the limit in his first season with the Blue Jays. In his final start of the postseason, Dickey allowed five runs (four earned) in just 1.2 innings. However, Dickey was a strong performer in his last 23 starts leading up to the postseason, posting a 3.11 ERA in 150 innings pitched. Without Dickey, the Blue Jays wouldn't have been as successful down the stretch leading up to the postseason.
The club has been patiently waiting to see the stuff he played with in a season in which he won the CY Young with the New York Mets, as his innings were more steady and indeed had a value. Dickey has averaged 218 innings per season in Toronto and looks to total that in a more successful season come 2016.
As Marco Estrada, David Price and Mark Buehrle are now all free agents, we could see a very different rotation going into 2016 if the club is unable to bring any of them back for another season with a shot at postseason baseball on the line for a second consecutive season, which would make the second such appearance dating back to 1993.
Not only is Buehrle a free agent but he is also thinking about a potential retirement which makes retaining the veteran left-hander more complex for the team. Toronto had stability in the rotation in 2015 and they look to build on that, however, with several pieces missing they could lose that entering 2016.
Either way, Marcus Stroman will be in the rotation as he looks ahead to playing a full season after dealing with an ACL injury back in late March. Stroman did pitch during the final month of the regular season and into the postseason, in which he had some success.
Depending on who the Blue Jays acquire in the offseason, you could potentially see youngster Aaron Sanchez in the rotation.
Bautista, 35, reached the 40 home run mark for the third consecutive season, having led the AL with 110 walks. Encarnacion, 33, finished 2015 on a positive note with a fourth consecutive season overcoming the 34 home run mark.