Wednesday, January 2, 2013

R.A. Dickey Trade

Happy New Year everyone!!  We are back after a brief holiday hiatus to bring you more of this off-seasons' reviews.  Today I'll look at the busy Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets as they agreed on a deal that send defending Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey to the Mets in return for some pretty high end prospects.  Here is how the trade looked:

Blue Jays Receive:
RHP R.A. Dickey (Dickey then agreed to 3 year, 30 million dollar contract)
C Josh Thole
C Mike Nickeas

Mets Receive:
C Travis D'Arnaud
RHP Noah Syndergaard
C John Buck
OF Wuilmer Becerra

Now let's take a look at the individual players involved:

R.A. Dickey
The centerpiece of this trade is the 38 year old knuckleballer.  Dickey had been a journeyman earlier in his career, but the last 3 seasons with the Mets, he has established himself as one of the games' most reliable pitchers.  Dickey's best season was 2012, where he won the Cy Young and struck out a career high 230 batters while winning 20 games and maintaining a 2.73 ERA.  While some people are worried about the affect a domed stadium will have on Dickey, he has had tremendous success pitching in both Toronto and Tampa Bay in the past.

Josh Thole
Thole is a relatively young catcher, but the main reason he was included in this trade was to catch Dickey's knuckleball.  Thole is a career .261 hitter, so he is serviceable with the bat, but he is much better known for his defense.

Mike Nickeas
All you need to know about Nickeas is that he was included in this deal to catch Dickey in case Thole gets hurt.

Travis D'Arnaud
D'Arnaud is one of the best hitting prospects in baseball and according to almost everyone, is the top catching prospect in baseball.  He tore his ACL in 2012, but the Mets were ok with his medicals.  Before his injury in 2012, D'Arnaud hit .333 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in just 300 at bats.  Granted that was in the very hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, but D'Arnaud is definitely a very good hitter.  His future might be at first base, but for now, he presents the Mets a really nice option as many consider him to be close to Major League ready.

Noah Syndergaard
The 20 year old Syndergaard is also a very high end prospect.  He was the third best in the Blue Jays organization and is a top 100 prospect.  Syndergaard has great size, coming in at 6 foot 5.  He throws in the mid to upper 90s and has a good breaking ball and a decent change up.  He was great in A ball last year, with a 2.60 ERA and 122 strikeouts in just over 100 innings.  Look for Syndergaard to start in High A or Double A ball this year and to move through the Mets' system rather quickly.  I am a huge fan of Syndergaard and see him as a future number 2 or 3 starter.

John Buck
Buck changes teams for the second time this off-season.  He won't hit for a very high average, but he does have quite a bit of power and has a decent glove behind the plate.  He will be able to start if D'Arnaud isn't ready for opening day, but can be the back up and provide some pop off the bench as well.

Wuilmer Becerra
Becerra is a 18 year old international signee from Venenzuela.  He played in 11 games for Toronto's rookie league team last year before turning 18.  While he is still extremely raw, Becerra is extremely athletic and has a ton of raw power.  If all goes right, he could be a solid corner outfielder in the future, but right now it is just way too early to tell.

Who won this trade???
To me, this is an extremely win win trade for both teams.  The Blue Jays are truly going for it.  They have now traded 4 of their top 5 prospects this off-season, but they have gotten quite a bit of talent back.  They get the former Cy Young Award winner in this deal and they were able to sign him for a 10 million dollar a year contract, less money per year than players like Ryan Dempster, Andy Pettitte, Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, and Dan Haren received this off-season.  The Mets are in a bit of a rebuilding phase.  They get two big parts in this deal, with top prospects D'Arnaud and Syndergaard.  While there is no such thing as a can't miss prospect, D'Arnaud could be one of the games' best young hitters and Syndergaard has the makeup to become a front end of the rotation starter in a couple of years.  If the Blue Jays can win in the next couple of years, this trade is absolutely worth it.  I commend them for going for it and I also commend Mets GM Sandy Alderson for getting the absolute max return for Dickey.

Don't forget to follow us @FullCountBlog and don't forget to follow one of the game's most entertaining and best people R.A. Dickey, @RADickey43 You'll even get to see him at his best, wearing Star Wars footie pajamas.