This ranks as somewhat of a surprise. The Mariners have taken knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, seen in my photo above warming up before a game in San Diego last season, off the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Class AAA Tacoma. Longtime Seattle area resident Sean White was also outrighted to AAA. That leaves 36 players on the 40-man roster.
Dickey, 34, has until Dec. 12 to accept the assignment, otherwise he becomes a free-agent. But it has to be disconcerting to him that 29 other teams passed on claiming him off waivers before he was outrighted. Teams like to keep free space on their rosters heading into the winter meetings. It makes it easier to acquire new players in deals, as well as keeping room to add others via the Rule 5 draft next Thursday. Let’s not forget, the Rule 5 is how the M’s got their hands on Dickey (and White) to begin with.
But this is truly a bad break for him. He felt he’d done enough last season to earn a major league spot full-time. Now, he’s off the 40-man roster. This could be the end of the line for him in Seattle. The M’s are likely banking that it isn’t and that he’d accept an assignment to AAA, given how no other teams seem to have bitten.
Then again, they might feel they can get some better bullpen additions in the Rule 5 draft and not care all that much if Dickey does leave.
Dickey had been looking forward to working with new manager Don Wakamatsu, pitching coach Rick Adair and bullpen coach John Wetteland. He spent time with all three during his days with the Texas Rangers. Two weeks ago, when Wakamatsu was hired. Dickey raved about him in an interview. Today had to come as a shock.
Oddly enough, I’m pretty sure this would make Dickey eligible to be claimed by another team in the Rule 5 draft, if he accepts the assignment to AAA before the draft is held. What a difference a year makes.
Photo credit: Tom Olmscheid/AP
December 5, 2008 at 4:57 PM