No, I don't consider Dickey an elite pitcher. Brandon Webb won the Cy Young in 2006, do you consider him an elite pitcher? Bartolo Colon? Barry Zito? Aside from Dickey's 2 good seasons and his Cy Young season in New York, he's been a journeyman throughtout his career. And that's my only concern on Dickey, he is a huge question mark. He pitched in the AL before and has struggled. You can he's a late blommer, but typically when you get older you start to wore down easily, even as knuckleballer. At least with Marcum you know what you're going to get from him.
Now, no. Then, yes. Ditto for Colon and Zito. Name me one knuckleballer who "wore down easily"? Just like finesse pitchers, knuckleballers don't have the same age concerns because the main thing that causes pitchers to age is the shoulder stress from having to whip their arm around so fast to throw heat. Hence why Greg Maddux could pitch until he was 42. Jamie Moyer pitched when he was 49 (and probably still could). And Dickey has it even easier because he doesn't have to worry about the arm stress from throwing curveballs either. It's the power pitchers that hit a wall (except maybe Nolan Ryan), not the junkballers.
I'm not saying Dickey's going to be one of the "all-time" elite pitchers, but he is an elite pitcher now. Some guys can prolong their success better than others, so who knows how it'll work out. But your argument about Colon and Webb is silly. By that rationale, Pedro Martinez isn't an elite pitcher now either, but would I have wanted him on my team in 1998 after he won his first Cy? Hell yes.
By the way, one thing that tends to be predictive of a decline in pitching numbers or indicative of an outlier "overachievement" year is a low strikeout rate. Going along with your previous comment, it's quite notable that Webb, Colon and Zito all had comparatively low K rates in their Cy Young years in fact they are the owners of three of the five lowest K numbers by a Cy winner since 2000 (the others are Cliff Lee and Eric Gagne, though the latter shouldn't count since he's a reliever). To me the most typical example of a guy whose overachievement was predicted everywhere was Chien Ming Wang, who finished 2nd behind Santana in 2006 AL Cy voting but only struck out 3.1 batters per 9 IP. Sure enough, he flamed out two years later and has been awful ever since. Now you can't necessarily say that Webb or Zito or Colon just had individual good years, because all three had a period of multiple seasons where they were effective: Colon got Cy Young votes in 3 different seasons, Zito's a three time all star and Webb was the runner up in 07 and 08 and was more a victim of injury than anything else. However, the point is that strikeouts correlate well with longevity at a high level. And Dickey led the league in strikeouts last year. That's also a place where the Wakefield comparison drops off, since Tim never hit 170 K in a season. So I think on that basis the Dickey signing looks more sound than would bringing in someone with numbers that didn't seem internally consistent (eg: low ERA but low strikeouts) that would make the "fluke" alarm bells go off.
Edited by Gretzky's Mullet, 19 December 2012 - 03:12 PM.