MIAMI -- Though R.A. Dickey's season is complete and he has not decided whether he will extend his career next year, the veteran knuckleballer strolled to right field at Marlins Park on Friday afternoon and took advantage of another opportunity to play catch with his Braves teammates."Even when there is
MIAMI -- Though R.A. Dickey's season is complete and he has not decided whether he will extend his career next year, the veteran knuckleballer strolled to right field at Marlins Park on Friday afternoon and took advantage of another opportunity to play catch with his Braves teammates.
"Even when there is nothing on the line, I love to work on my craft and see if I might pick up something in the last days of the season," Dickey said. "There might be a guy or two in the clubhouse that wants me to throw to them in the cage just to see what it's like to hit a knuckleball. You never know."
There is currently a lot of uncertainty about Dickey's future as a Major League Baseball player. The 42-year-old Nashville, Tenn., native will make his decision after extending the discussions he has already had with his wife, Anne, and their four children.
If Dickey provides the sense he does plan to extend his career, the Braves would have to decide whether to exercise his $8 million option or provide him a $500,000 buyout.
"It will be a family decision. I need some time to sit down and really figure it out with Anne and the kids to see what they can tolerate or not tolerate," Dickey said. "It comes down to that for me solely. So, if it is it, I'll walk away from the game a little bit better than I feel like I entered into it. That's what you hope for. You always want to be able to walk out on your own terms."
While there is the possibility he could be leaving some money on the table, there certainly wouldn't be reason to question his decision to walk away from a career that appeared destined for trouble in 1996, when he learned he didn't have an ulnar collateral ligament just weeks after the Rangers took him in the first round of the Draft.
Dickey spent most of his first decade as a pro in the Minor Leagues, but then transformed his career when he dedicated himself to becoming a knuckleballer. He was 35 years old before the 2010 Mets gave him his first chance to be a mainstay within a big league rotation, he won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012, gained what proved to be a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays and then spent this past year fulfilling his dream to play for the Braves.
Along with being able to play for the team he religiously followed as a child, the chance to play in Atlanta allowed Dickey to spend most of this year within 3 1/2 hours of his family residence.
"Everybody involved with the [Braves] was incredibly helpful in letting me be a dad and a husband, as well as a baseball player," Dickey said. "That's a really important part. It's a part that probably gets overlooked in the public eye. Half of my 42 years on earth have been as a professional baseball player. I've drug my wife and kids all around the country, and around the world, really."
While Dickey's preference would seemingly be to return to the Braves if he does indeed opt to extend his career, he said he would also be open to playing in either St. Louis or Cincinnati, a pair of cities also located in relative proximity to Nashville.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.