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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. dcfan4life - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    I wouldnt classify the Blue Jays as the OBVIOUS favorites for the AL east, that would mean they are easily the best team in the division and thats just not the case. The Marlins, Angels, Dodgers, and Phillies have all shown the best team on paper means absolutely nothings. And in the AL East, all 5 teams could be around .500 or above, with 2 returning playoff teams and maybe the best pitching in the AL with the Rays. But the Jays will definitely be a strong contender and on many lists the favorite, just not the obvious runaway favorites.

  2. yankeepunk3000 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    I as a Yankee fan am happy for the jays…I’m excited to see what they can do and honestly I hope they make the playoffs…It’s about time guys…very excited to see them play I used to watch them play a lot when they had halladay and now ill do it again probally 30 or so extra games awesome

    • paint771 - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:24 PM


      Your post almost makes me not hate you solely on the basis of your being a Yankees fan.


    • jaysjunkie - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Lol, paint771’s post echoed exactly what I was thinking. I appreciate the comment, yankeepunk3000.

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      Honestly I feel the exact same way Punk. Being a Sox fan it’s really nice to actually see the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays step up and do something. Sure I want my Red Sox to win the World Series every year, but they’ve had 2 championships before I turned 18 so I’ll do alright if there’s a few years before they get another. I REALLY want to see this be a division where every team is above .500 and it turns into a dogfight for 162 games because even if the Red Sox don’t win the championship or even make it to the playoffs it’ll be a hell of a ride the whole way

      • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:53 AM

        The EAST is so Stacked ! Come September, it will be a blood bath ! The team with the best bullpen wins. I hope Mo comes back strong but at his age, I’m burning a few candles for him now .Will be interesting if both Jose and Edwin can both put up 40+ home run seasons together.

  3. giantboy99 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Win win for the Mets

  4. dondada10 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I hope he shuts the Yankees out every time he faces them. Good luck, R.A.

  5. thebadguyswon - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Yeah…I don’t think the Yanks fans will be so happy for him when they’re a .500 team next year and the Jays are in first.

  6. kappy32 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    It’s hard to judge the winner in a trade involving prospects, however the Mets certainly got a big haul here, on paper that is. It’s going to take 2-3 years to determine whether the Mets won this trade. If either d’Arnaud or Syndergaard become good players for the Mets, then the Mets will win this. People who are saying the Mets won this as of now, they know nothing. They can’t predict whether either prospect will pan out. They’re reading the same reports all fans are & they know little about any of the players the Mets acquired. So, please, my fellow Mets fans, save yourself the embarrassment of pretending to know what you’re talking about & let this thing play itself out.

    • indaburg - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      Mets fan, I have a question for you. Since they’re obviously in rebuild mode, why extend Wright? Why not trade him for a boat load of prospects?

      As for who “won” this trade, I usually think it’s silly at this point to venture a guess. If it’s a good trade, both teams win, but sometimes we don’t know for a few years.

      • thebadguyswon - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        3B are incredible hard to find. I would have traded Wright too, but I can’t blame them for keeping him. He should age well.

    • js20011041 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      I think the Mets win this one regardless. This is a team thats not headed for the postseason in the immediate future. A 38 y/o pitcher, no matter how good he is, is of little value if he’s only helping improve the team from 75 to 80 wins. Turning R.A. Dickey into a couple players that have a really good shot at being key pieces to the next good Mets teams is huge. Regardless of how those players turn out, this was the right move for the Mets. Of course, this isn’t to say that the Jays have “lost” the trade. Dickey is a huge upgrade for a team that needed pitching. I just think that what makes this a successful trade for the Blue Jays is a much smaller window than for the Mets. Toronto has gone all in for the next couple of years. They need to turn this into something signifcant, which is easier said than done.

  7. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Awesome. Now hopefully I wont hear or see RA Dickey’s name again until at least February.

  8. giantboy99 - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    It’s hard to judge the winner in a trade involving prospects, however the Mets certainly got a big haul here, on paper that is. It’s going to take 2-3 years to determine whether the Mets won this trade. If either d’Arnaud or Syndergaard become good players for the Mets, then the Mets will win this. People who are saying the Mets won this as of now, they know nothing. They can’t predict whether either prospect will pan out. They’re reading the same reports all fans are & they know little about any of the players the Mets acquired. So, please, my fellow Mets fans, save yourself the embarrassment of pretending to know what you’re talking about & let this thing play itself out.
    Mets and Dickey couldn’t agree on an extension and the Met’s were not going to win next year. That being said, better to get some prospects then lose him for nothing after 2013 or trade him at the deadline where his value might be less then what it is today.

  9. charlutes - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    eat it pouliot! jays are amazing, haters gonna really have to step up their rhetoric this year.

  10. paint771 - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    This was a fair deal on all sides – good baseball sense for both teams. As a Jays fan, I can’t help but be queasy about giving up D’Arnaud, but as AA mentioned in the call-in just now, by the time he’s ready we may have been out Baustia, Buehrle, Reyes, EE, etc. And opportunities for right-now front-of-rotation starters – for about half of market value – just don’t come along hardly ever.

    That said, Mets fans should feel very good here. The wins Dickey would have added wouldn’t have made a difference in 2013 and probably 2014, but guys with upside like d’Araud and Syndergaard (if he develops an offspeed pitch) should start really paying dividends in a couple of years, at just the right time for the Mets. They should give you guys a lot of good baseball. The Mets will rise again, and this trade will be a key component of that.

    For the Jays? Holy shit. I have questions about Dickey, and would have been against this deal for sure on a one-year or even-two year rental. But through 2016, at this kind of value, in this pitching market? That is absolutely solid, and if all those “he’s just hit his stride” optimists are right, will be insane (seriously, if Dickey remains even a top five starter on a competitive staff in 2016 at $12 million, that will be incredible, and if he remains top of rotation at that price that year, will look like slavery). (And for the record, I think Thole has some upside too – more than Buck or Mathis anyway). This rotation looks absolutely sick. And this is unquestionably the right year to push – and we’ve managed to do so in a way that isn’t a one year all-in, but looks strong for the next two or three or four, with a still decently stacked farm system to boot.

    And here I am, checking the schedule and planning out my spring and summer around how many series I can catch per month (I live in Philadelphia, and am thinking at least one, including some pilgrimages north of the border).

  11. biasedhomer - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    AL East is going to be ridiculous next year.
    Blue Jays lineup and pitching rotation is much improved.
    The Yankees add Youk and will have Pineda finally pitch.
    Red Sox signed a bunch of guys to fill all their holes, and should have a less drama filled season.
    O’s will only get better with their young players continuing to grow.
    Rays took a step back losing Shields, but they will stay competitive and probably call up some promising players from the minors.

    • thebadguyswon - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      The Yankees have a ton of question marks and they’re old as dirt.

      • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:56 AM

        So are the Knicks, see who’s leading the East Conference.

  12. proudlycanadian - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    As far as the 2 catchers the Jays received, they filled needs. Thole can catch a knuckle ball better than Arencibia and Buck could have. The Jays also needed a third catcher to play down the road (the Queen Elizabeth Way) for Triple A Buffalo. Nickeas is perfect for that role. Not only was he born in Canada (Vancouver), he caught games in Buffalo last season when it was the home of the Mets Triple A team.

    If he stays healthy, d’Arnaud could become a star. In the past, he has had problems with his back and his knee. Syndergaard could also become a star, but is probably 3 years away from being ready for the majors. hopefully the Mets do not try to rush him too fast. Becerra is just 18 and is years away from the majors.

    Both teams got what they needed and fans of both teams have something to look forward to.

  13. bostonboy82 - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Terrible trade! Awful signing! Worse team! Fans suck! Managements retarded! Too much money! A waste of money! Signed for too long! Overpaid! Only an 85 win team! Bla bla bla bla bla….OH SORRY I THOUGHt THiS WAS ANOTHER RED SOX BASHING!!

    • thebadguyswon - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      Pills are good.

  14. cur68 - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    I cannot recall looking forward to opening day more. Dear Dog Almighty, is it April yet?

    • indaburg - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      A tip of the cap to Faux-Bu II. Well done. The beave has won the off-season.

      • cur68 - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM

        Faux-Bu II is in BSOHL

      • indaburg - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:42 PM

        BSOHL in December? Don’t want to peak too early now.

      • cur68 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:03 PM

        He’s got his lil groupies to help him stay in shape.

  15. bcjim - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    RA = old one-hit wonder.

    Great move by the Mets and no I am not a Mets fan (Nats).

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      I find it funny that people are calling RA a “one hit wonder”. What about the seasons before last hmm? 2.84 ERA and 3.28 ERA, WHIP of 3.4 and 3.1, and not a lot of walks ESPECIALLY for a knuckleballer. The one thing I am curious about though are his strikeouts: the strikeouts he got last year are essentially the number of K’s in the 2 seasons before that combined between 382 innings

      • Old Gator - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

        This is clearly the week for folks who are living in their own local media market Truman Shows to chime in about ballplayers they clearly know absolutely nothing about. It takes an educated, eloquent ballplayer like Biggeth Dicketh to bring out the ignorant, inarticulate nincompoops in droves. Nature herself, rising on a scaffold of adversarially charged particles, seems to have so mandated it.

        Shrug it off. Idiots eventually get tired of hanging around here.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:59 AM

        Jokes on you, I’m an idiot and have no intention of ever leaving!

      • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:01 AM

        @Old Gator,
        You’re right OG, after the python hunting season , you can start with the rest of the bloggers here.Or bring in the Swamp People for hunting season, bloggers make good bait for gators.

    • mrchainbluelightning - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM

      Educate yourself

  16. buffalo65 - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Best thing is this Jays team is basically locked up for the next three years and they are still young.
    Next year Johnson can walk, Hutch or Happ can step in, lineup is locked up. Bullpen is young talented and cheap. Lots of nice prospects left.
    AA has delivered as promised. Time to produce on the field boys.

  17. rayfeathers - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    ra dickey is a self-serving attention whore who had ONE good year. why does he look like he’s about to cry in every interview? it’s like he made his past abuse public to sell books.

    • thebadguyswon - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:56 PM

      Wow….Merry Christmas to you too.

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM

      Wrong, 3 good years in a row and every interview I’ve seen him in he’s seen pretty damn happy. I’d give this troll a 2-3 out of ten, but I kinda think you’re being serious here

    • cur68 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Then grapes…they be sour, no?

      • historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:30 PM

        They be rancid raisins.

    • indaburg - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM

      Really, rayfeathers? Making past abuse public to sell books? That’s a disgusting accusation to make about him and completely uncalled for.

    • Old Gator - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      Yawn. Raysfeathers made the same idiotic observation on another thread and the stats were laid out before him for his delectation. As you can see, he jealously husbands his stupidity and was unable to assimilate the data in the form in which it was presented to him, viz., a few mostly one or two syllable words and Arabic numerals.

      The case may be, rather, that Raysfeathers makes his own imbecility public in order to draw attention to himself.

      • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:05 AM

        The motion is to tar and feather rayfeathers
        The ayes have it
        The motion is passed
        Next order of business

  18. yousuxxors - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    The mets were gonna extend him if they couldnt get a trade like this. Sandy played it perfectly, drag your feet till FA signings cool down and garner interest. If all else failed they would of payed him the 25.

    • sdelmonte - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      In Sandy (Alderson) we trust.

  19. sdelmonte - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    The thing to note about the Jays’ rotation is that it has two starters who have not dealt with the AL that much. We’ve seen this again and again when pitchers change leagues. The NL is the weaker hitting league, the AL the stronger. There is no reason to assume that RA and Johnson won’t do well. But there is no reason to be sure they will, either.

    Within the division, though, they should do pretty well since the only lineup even close to a powerhouse is the Yankees. It will interesting to see how these guys pitch in the House that George Built. RA began to give up more HRs as the season went along, so he could be vulnerable in the Bronx.

    If you ask me who wins the AL East right now, I would lean towards the Yankees or the Overachieving O’s. We’ve seen lots of clubs assemble seemingly unbeatable lineups and then get beat. Ask Reyes, Buerhle and Johnson. But there is no way the Jays don’t compete.

    • cktai - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:44 AM

      RA Dickey is 7-0 in 10 games against the AL in the past three years. In those 10 games he has a 1.77 ERA, 0.915 WHIP and 2.91 FIP.

      Although that is a small sample, there is no reason to suspect he will do worse against the AL than he did against the NL.

  20. gbar22 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    As a mets fan I am thrilled with the trade I would have loved just getting d’arnaud but syndergaard too?! I dont think Alderson could have done better job with this. If anything Alderson as shown an ability to get really nice prospects when he makes trades. Wheeler syndergaard D’arnauld. We’ll suck next year but 2014-2015 should be something to look forward to

  21. gbar22 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Rayfeathers thanks for your clever and fulfilling insight. You truly pushed the conversation further along and we are thankful. If you’ve followed the mets for the last three years you would know that he’s been above and beyond their best pitcher over that time period. Look at the numbers. Not a one hit wonder when you’ve done it for 3 years! Also there is nothing not to love about dickey he’s one of the nicest and most humble human beings in the world. This is a guy who was living in his car not too many years ago. You are clearly a misinformed ignoramus

  22. bluenoser23 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    LOL! The joke is on John Farrell! He might want to rethink where his “dream job” really will be this year. AA must be enjoying this particularly juicy bit of revenge on John “Benedict” Farrell. Enjoy beantown with Looney Larry L. and your BFF buddy Ben C. along with your disastrous pitching staff. Can’t wait to welcome you back to T.O. next year.

    • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      You’re right. And after every Red Sox lost, Bobby V will lite up a nice $25 Cuban cigar and laugh. When John comes back to TO, he’ll claim refugee status to Canadian Customs

  23. Old Gator - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Yeah, that little crack in his bedroom ceiling that he hasn’t paid attention to in years must be looking all kinds of hallucinatory to him at three thirty in the morning, no?

  24. canadabaseball - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    Da’naurd has know been apart of 2 trades for cy young winners

  25. jaysfan64 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Last time the Jays made a similar trade for pitching, they traded a kid named Michael Young to Texas for a pre-Cy Young calibre Esteban Loaiza..conversely, last minute deals in 92 (Jeff Kent for David Cone) and 93 (Steve Karsay for Rickey Henderson) pushed the club to World Series titles…no matter how this turns out gotta give kudos to AA and Paul Beeston for delivering on their promises to field a competitive club (which nobody here believed, by the way) as well as having the stones to make that risky move (as Pat Gillick did years ago)…now, as it was then, the pressure’s on the players to “bring it home” and I think these guys will deliver..I don’t think anyone not familiar with the market, the city, or even all of Canada quite understands what the re-tooling of the Jays means to us as Torontonians, as Canadians…suffice it to say that as a survivor of the early years (anyone remember Barry Bonnell and Joey McLaughlin?) thru the good times (Robbie Alomar, “Touch ’em all, Joe!”) to the dark ages again (Marty Janzen, Joey Hamilton, contraction rumours, losing Chris Carpenter) to the insane (3 starters, 5 position players on the DL at the same time, looking forward to Jayson Nix coming off the DL, the Farrell mess, which was a shot straight to the soul of all of us, regardless of what else we may say), as a survivor of all this and much more, to have my team not only truly relevant again after all these years, but have a real chance to make new memories for a new generation….makes me swell with pride to have been a Jays fan since 1977…So to guys like Alex Rios, who on his way out bad mouthed not only the organization but the city, claiming MLB should move the club “to somewhere where they care about baseball”, to people like him I say…”Hope to see you in the playoffs”…cause if this club can pull it off, folks, they’ll not only blow the roof off the Rogers Centre, this whole city and country will explode, too, just like it did in 1992 when Joe Carter caught the toss from Timlin at first…..

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:02 AM

      As a fellow long time Jays fan, I agree completely with your eloquent and oh so true statement.

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