Replacing R.A. Dickey: The New York Mets 2013 starting rotation

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Anthony Gruppuso-USATODAY Sports

The New York Mets traded Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey for a plethora of prospects this off-season. Dickey had one of the best seasons that a knuckleball pitcher has ever had in 2012, becoming an asset for the rebuilding team. The team’s rotation was a strong point last season, but can it be successful without Dickey?

The Mets rotation has five starters with MLB pitching experience. Johan Santana will be the team’s ace after finishing last season on the disabled list. Santana has shown flashes of being the dominant pitcher he was with the Minnesota Twins, but has had trouble staying healthy and effective since coming to New York in 2008. The Mets signed right-hand pitcher Shaun Marcum in the off-season to fill Dickey’s spot in the rotation. Jonathan Niese is looking to build upon a solid 13-9 record last season, with Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee rounding out the rotation.

It will be tough to replace Dickey’s 20-win season, but the Mets have focused on their bullpen problems this offseason. After signing Marcum, New York signed three relief pitchers in LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon and Pedro Feliciano. The bullpen should be stronger, which would take pressure off of the team’s starters.

If Johan Santana can stay healthy, the rotation has a chance to be just as good this season, even without Dickey. Niese has progressed each season with more experience, and Harvey and Gee are legitimate fourth and fifth starters in any rotation. While replacing the reigning Cy Young Award winner is not easy, the Mets’ rotation will still be a strong part of the team in 2013.

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