In a move that broke many Mets fans’ hearts, starting pitcher R.A. Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays after long-winded talks between the two clubs. The two sides agreed in principle to the trade on Sunday, contingent on Dickey signing an extension with Toronto. The deal became complete when the two sides reached a 2-year, $25 million extension on Monday. Dickey also has a team option for 2016, amounting to $12 million.
In return for the defending National League Cy Young winner (along with Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole), the Mets received highly touted catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as well as catcher John Buck and two other minor leaguers (pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra).
The centerpiece of the deal for GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets fan base is d’Arnaud. The catcher hit .333 with 16 homeruns and 52 RBIs in just over 300 at-bats in AAA Las Vegas last season. The upside for this kind of player cannot be overstated. Whether fans want to accept it or not, the Mets are a rebuilding team. By getting David Wright under contract for the foreseeable future, they have established a foundation; a player in his prime who will fill stat columns and the seats at Citi Field for years to come. With the highly regarded talent they have received in return, the Mets are set up for a prosperous rebuilding period and success within the next few years. Though R.A. Dickey had a magical season that captivated the fans, the knuckleballer has largely been a disappointment throughout his career. He is now 38 and probably won’t pitch (at least at a high level) for much longer. This is an investment in the future for this Mets team, and one that I believe will start paying dividends in short order.
d’Arnaud is an MLB-ready prospect. While the newly acquired John Buck may start on opening day, a bit a seasoning in the minors may have d’Arnaud ready for the bigs by mid-season. In the long run, this move will pay dividends for the Mets.
However, with the moves Toronto has made this offseason, they seem poised to make a long-awaited run at the AL East title. Mainstays like the Yankees and Rays had to watch out for the reloaded Jays even before this trade. For two teams going in different directions, this deal made all the sense in the world.