After days of speculation and set-up and the omission of details that still aren’t available to the public, it looks like R.A. Dickey will finally be shipped over to the Blue Jays. Dickey, catcher Josh Thole, and an unnamed prospect will go to the Jays, while catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, catcher John Buck, pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, and another unnamed prospect will head to the Mets in return. The deal still isn’t official, but it looks like it’s all but done now that Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, has agreed to sign a two-year, $25 million extension with his new team.
Dickey is obviously a unique player to talk about, as he’s already 38 and didn’t even become useful until 2010. Since that point, however, the knuckleballer has achieved quite a bit, and he was able to translate his stuff into a lot more strikeouts in 2012 than before. Even if he can’t live up to his superlative masterpiece season, Dickey will surely be a very nice starting pitcher to have, he doesn’t have that many innings on his arm, and his low-effort approach may help when it comes to longevity. These are also reasons that a two-year deal worth $25 million seems favorable for the amped-up Bleu Jays, a team that is clearly ready to win right now.
Travis d’Arnaud is certainly a top-level prospect, as he posted a .415 wOBA for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate last season and is near the top of every prospect maven’s list. He has a chance to be something special, but he’s already 24 and may not stick behind the plate. Noah Syndergaard is an interesting prospect in his own right; the 20-year-old righty put up a 10.59/9 strikeout rate and 2.21 FIP last season in A-ball, and in a recent farm system evaluation FanGraphs had him third for the Toronto organization. In many ways, the prospect haul here is somewhat similar to the once Tampa Bay netted for James Shields.
Dave Cameron at FanGraphs astutely pointed out that the big difference between this trade and the one the Royals authored is contextual. The Blue Jays have already completed a monster trade with Miami that brought in Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. They’ve also already added Melky Cabrera to their outfield and have some established players in the fold from last season. The Jays can and likely will contend right away, and it’s for that reason that trading for R.A. Dickey and shipping off a couple of top-tier prospects makes sense. The Blue Jays have the talent on hand to be right in the thick of the intriguing AL East for the foreseeable future, so it makes complete sense to go for the throat.
The Jays now boast a rotation of Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero. Every single member of the rotation has a chance to be well above average, and guys like Morrow and Romero could even be shockingly good if health, consistency, and development work in their favor. Add in that Wil Myers is a much younger prospect than d’Arnaud who has never faltered at any stage and there are a lot of things to argue with when someone compares this trade to last week’s. The Blue Jays are trying to win now and actually have reason to believe they can pull it off. As a result, this deal works well for both teams involved and suits the directions each are headed in.