If you have been following the off-season news cycle at all, you’ll know that there is plenty of speculation as to what the Mets will do with their NL Cy Young winner.
- 38 year old knuckleballer with the Mets; won the NL Cy Young in 2012 and struck out over 200 batters over more than 200 innings
- Heading into the last year of his contract at a rate of 5 million; wants a 2 year extension tacked on at ~12 million per year for a total three year commitment of 3 years and roughly 28 million dollars which will have him under control through his age 41 season.
- Has moved his family over 30 times in his 16+ year professional career– this is his final (and only big) security payday.
- Improved with age progressively over the past three seasons (200+ IP each year).
Why the Mets might move him even though it makes ridiculous sense to sign him at the pittance he wants and run with it:
- Just signed third baseman David Wright to a huge long term deal.
- Weak positional player depth in the lineup around him; Wright is the only real pop they have.
- They have more depth at starting pitching than anywhere else on the ML roster.
- Sellers market to an extent, as Grienke has signed with the LAD, and Dickey is the only “difference maker” SP left potentially available before opening day… however there are no injuries this time of year so that weighs as well.
- Need impact players at C and in the OF (CF especially). These players are hard to get and cost big which is an issue for the somewhat frugal Mets.
Why the Jays *may* be a good fit
- Have depth at CF and at C; Gose and D’Arnaud will be starting quality or already are soon… somethin’ gotta give.
- Have a desire to add to their SP depth and have stated they would like to make Happ the swing man by getting someone better and “demoting him” (someone always always gets hurt or misses time; don’t feel bad for Happ).
- They have money to spend and would LOVE to have Dickey for three years and would probably be willing to pay him even 40+ million over three years (the Mets are being cheap and trying to “negotiate” when his demands are a pittance).
- Fits their timeline of winning now and not wanting to get into a 5 year+ free agent deal.
- Great “look” for the rotation; three of their four projected starters sit 90mph+ with the fastball so the knuckler will be great to mess up swing timing; especially of older hitters who rely the most on it. Looking at you, Jeter.
- Minimal concern for injury as the knuckleball is known to be easy on the arm for a MLB pitch. Huge plus for the Jays after last season’s injury Chernobyl.
The other suitors
Mystery teams often strike this time of year, and fans of the Jays know this especially well. In fact it has gotten to the point that many fans take the stance of “if we hear that the Jays are in on a guy, it means they aren’t almost definitively.” I say almost because AA sometimes leaves traces of his moves-to-come if you look hard, as Stoeten of the Score did. This situation is similar in many facets. With that said, other teams have/had reported interest:
- KC was looking for SP help, though not really connected to Dickey. They are out as they traded for Shields and Wade Davis with Tampa earlier today.
- Texas has been rumoured to be interested, AND they were interested in Grienke. Are they going to swoop in and make the best offer… remembering Yu Darvish sucks still, eh? However their Gose equivalent is Mike Olt, a top thirdbase prospect which is the one position the Mets actually have locked down. Yeah they could easily flip him, but dang that is more work and it is near Christmas and Alderson probably needs to do his shopping still..
The Rangers have money thanks to their TV deal but they went through their “Miami trade splurge” equivalent the last two years, and so the cheapness of RA is definitely appealing to them and a trade fits their aggressive ways. Make no mistake they could put together a package that is “worth it” to the Mets, but will they? I don’t think the odds are high, as their rotation is just as “set” if not more-so than the Jays, and they don’t have the AL East factor working against them as do the Jays.
Reasons the Mets won’t move Dickey to the Jays or to any team at all… yet:
- They still have 162 games to play next season despite not being projected to be a division threat.
- The Mets are more financially minded than perhaps any NY sports franchise (Islanders if they count maybe?) and Dickey at 5 million for 1 year is a jaw dropping stupendous deal for them; it would be mean to RA but business is business.
- Should they keep him and then he leave via FA come 2014, the Mets will get a first or second round draft pick as comp when they tender him the 1 yr qualifying offer and he declines.
- RA could still be extended if the Mets stop being super ultra cheap on him. This option does seem unlikely as they really are “negotiating” when all the damn dude wants is what he deserves: 2 extra years on his contract a 10 million per year! Gooogle the Greinke contract if you desire context on how cheap RA really will be.
- The NYM could simply hang onto him until the deadline and if they are not competitive they will likely get a much better haul in a trade from a team desperate for elite rotation help. “Flags fly forever” and all that jazz.
Honestly; if I were Sandy Alderson (Mets GM) the obvious choice is to wait until the deadline for a trade opportunity, and in the meanwhile extend RA at the terms he wants immediately. This will greatly enhance his trade value, and future free agents won’t look at my organization with disdain and disgust. No matter what happens to contender’s rotations, someone always needs help in July and they almost always end up over paying for it. Regardless as to who else is selling at the deadline, Dickey will still be the reigning NL Cy Young and the urgency of the deadline will allow Alderson to get the value he seeks.
With all that said, if the Mets had a competent GM they wouldn’t been wallowing in ineptitude for the past many years despite an all-things-considered advantageous market location.
The Mets would accept a package of AAA catcher D’Arnaud and AAA outfielder Gose right now if it were offered, but Anthopoulos would never go for that. 12 years of control of up and coming players with loads of to-be-realized potential that play premium positions for… 1 year of Dickey who, Cy Young or not, is 38 which means likely 3 years more and done or close to it. Well if you put it like that…. right? Even if it were a trade and sign that included 3 years plus a team option, that is still not worth it in any sane logical baseball room.
The more likely current offer is something like this (in order of how painful it would be for AA):
-Arencibia straight up for RA
-Rasmus straight up for RA
-Rasmus/Bonifacio or Arencibia/Bonifacio for RA
-Rasmus and Arencibia for RA
Should (more like super IF) Gose be sent for RA, it would make sense that it’s a straight up swap. 6 years of control of a dynamic Michael Bourn-esqe CF with even more upside than that is a very very steep price, and I really don’t think AA will go there.
You can forget D’Arnaud being traded unless the return is franchise altering– he is the absolute apple of AA’s eye farm system wise. Anthopoulos is careful not to praise him too much which to me speaks volumes– AA dumps ridiculous praise on some of his lesser B prospects all the time as he is a spin master– it is all about value. The Jay’s GM also relentlessly pursued D’Arnaud till he acquired him and even hinted that he would have been called up last year were it not for an unfortunate injury that happened in a collision. Travis D. is gonna be a Jay — that is almost certain.
I honestly believe that Rasmus + JP is the “highest” price AA would be willing to pay, the man is an economics master (literally) and he will consider most if not every single factor that could possibly matter. Make no mistake though — as an economist he understands opportunity cost — and the opportunity right now to make the post season is perhaps too great for him to ignore.
Right now the Jays are in great shape even if they do nothing. The current roster, barring another injury plagued season, will be competitive in July. Should AA do nothing now, he will have the trade “bullets” he saved over this winter and can pull the trigger on another deal when more teams are selling. However, the same can be said for the Mets.
I think the most likely scenario is that Dickey is extended now and then traded in July, but the *possibility* is out there to acquire a true ACE, and one that will totally screw the timing of every hitter he faces which will only serve to benefit his rotation mates. Not sold on Dickey? Yeah the Jays were actually his worst start of the year last year– go check out his numbers against the rest of the AL East and I think you’ll be sold. AA has literally nothing to lose and everything to gain, and Alderson is in much the same boat — though he does have the concern of an early season injury to a 38 year old man totally devastating the value of his main trade asset to basically nil– so there’s that at least.
AA and Alderson both have decisions to make but the easy one for both is to wait. Funny, we the fans all know that feel… waiting for a trade to happen, waiting to see how the FA market shakes out, and waiting for April. Make the smart move AA, we know you will, and most Jays fans have your back!