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Blue Jays, Mets finalize seven-player R.A. Dickey trade

Dec 17, 2012, 6:31 PM EDT

R.A. Dickey, Travis d'Arnaud AP

R.A. Dickey passed his physical, clearing the final hurdle for his trade to Toronto. Here’s the official transaction:

Blue Jays acquire RHP R.A. Dickey, C Josh Thole and C Mike Nickeas from the Mets for C Travis d’Arnaud, C John Buck, RHP Noah Syndergaard and OF Wuilmer Becerra.

The final two names — those of Nickeas and Becerras — were just revealed today, and that part of the swap certainly favors the Mets. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Nickeas is strictly a third catcher; he’ll be called up to serve as a backup in the event of an injury to J.A. Arrencibia or Thole. Becerra has no track record to speak of — he played in just 11 games in his pro debut last season before getting drilled in the face and suffering a broken jaw — but he’s just 18 and he was a big signing out of Venezuela in 2011.

We also learned that there’s no cash in the deal, meaning that the Mets thought it was worth taking on Buck’s entire salary to get both d’Arnaud and Syndergaard in the deal. Buck was actually slated to be the most expensive player in the deal for 2013; he’s due $6 million, while Dickey was set to make $5 million. However, Dickey will be receiving a bit more now after agreeing to an extension as part of the deal.

That extension rips up Dickey’s previous deal, replacing it with a three-year, $29 million contract that includes a $12 million team option for 2016. It’s a bargain for a reigning Cy Young winner. For comparison’s sake, Zack Greinke will average $24.5 million per season as part of his six-year deal with the Dodgers.

Dickey will head a Toronto rotation also set to include Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Thole will likely serve as the knuckleballer’s personal catcher, with Arencibia handling the rest of the staff.

The Mets, obviously, get less help for 2013. While d’Arnaud may get a chance to compete for a starting job in spring training, expectations are that he’ll spend a couple of months in Triple-A to start the year, pushing back his free agency clock. The Mets will likely go with Buck as a starter and sign a cheap backup, hoping that Buck plays well enough to give himself a little trade value come June or July.

Still, if the Mets felt that had to trade Dickey (though they most certainly didn’t), this isn’t a bad return at all. D’Arnaud has All-Star potential and should be a solid regular at worst. Syndergaard, a 2010 supplemental first-round pick, is one of the game’s top 25 pitching prospects. He’ll open 2013 in high-A ball and perhaps contribute in 2014. Becerra is a lottery ticket.

The Jays are now the obvious favorites in the AL East, barring a surprise blitz from the Yankees. There are still some question marks in the bullpen, but the lineup could challenge for the AL lead in runs and the rotation is as talented as any in the league.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    I want to than the Red Sox for making this trade possible. It is well known that d’Arnaud has now been involved in trades for 2 Cy Young winners (Doc and Dickey), but Boston’s role in this trade has been overlooked.

    Syndergaard was drafted by the Jays with a compensatory draft pick that they were awarded when the Red Sox signed Marco Scutaro as a free agent. AA was willing to let Scutaro go because he was trying to collect draft picks. Thus, my thanks go out to the Red Sox and the Blue Jay scouts who recommended Syndergaard.

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    I am sure while most Blue Jay fans want to see Dickey pitch against Verlander, a certain (she knows who she is) Detroit fan wants to see Dickey pitch against Fister.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      Dickey-Dog, you mean?

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:11 AM

        Cheers! It will be fun watching Detroit against the Jays. There will be thousands of Canadians in the stands when the Jays play Detroit.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        If you win, I hope Homeland Security makes your exit miserably unpleasant. Ha!

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        I have to give you a thumbs up!

      • Old Gator - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM

        “Cheers! It will be fun watching Detroit against the Jays. There will be thousands of Canadians in the stands when the Jays play Detroit.”

        Get to the bridge early on game days.

  3. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    If there’s anything that the hot stove league teaches us (especiallly recently) t’s that there’s is “Many a slip twixt cup and lip.
    Look at the Philllies with their super rotation, e.g.

  4. bravojawja - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    The real bummer here is that Dickey is now in the AL, where he doesn’t have to pick up and, more importantly, name a bat. Maybe he’ll get to pitch an interleague game or two.

    I’m hoping he goes with By-Tor and the Snow Dog in honor of his new home.

  5. El Bravo - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    “The Jays are now the obvious favorites in the AL East, barring a surprise blitz from the Yankees.”

    I call BULLSHIT! That is something you simply can never say about a team not named the Yankees in the AL East. Not to mention the Rays who always are in it and the O’s that are in it as of last season. The Red Sox are probably done, but who knows? Obvious? The only obvious thing here is how obvious that statement is grandiose and overreaching. The Yankees are still the best team in that division until proven otherwise ON THE FIELD. I hope the Jays do win, but to be so cocky about it is crazy in that division of all divisions in all of sports.

    • protius - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Greetings from Germany.

      Bravo, the Jays have been AL East doormats for almost 20 years. This off-season they made some good moves, and bought themselves a little respect.

      I think there is plenty of leeway to wink and smile if Jay’s fans want to celebrate and anticipate a successful season. I say, let them have their fun; the games still have to be played, and at the end of the 2013 season, Yankee fans will either be laughing at them, or will be laughed at by them.

      Personally, I don’t think they will do any better than 3rd place. They may have gotten themselves some good players, but it will take some time for the Blue Jays to coalesce as a team, and develop a winning attitude; something that the Yankees, Rays and Orioles already have.

  6. borderline1988 - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    This is a really risky trade on behalf of the Blue Jays – those are arguably 2 of the Jays’s best 4 prospects.

    But on the other hand, fans are tired of rebuilding and developing young’s been 20 years of missing the playoffs. Time to pull the trigger and go all out.
    Anyways, the Jays window is short…Bautista, Encarnacion, Reyes, Buerhle, etc. are all in their prime.

    I love this trade. Even if it doesn’t end up working out, it was the right thing to do, and I’d do it all over again in 5 years.

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