R.A. Dickey now a Blue Jay, but was the price too high?
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Last Friday, it was widely reported that the Toronto Blue Jays were nearing a deal with the New York Mets for reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Monday afternoon, that deal became official, and the Jays continue to stack their team for the 2013 season.
There was a firestorm of rumors and tweets over the weekend. My own Twitter account got a solid workout as I refreshed every 45 seconds trying to keep up with the latest reports out of New York. The deal went through a number of different iterations and combinations over the weekend before being finalized today.
On Sunday afternoon, rumors emerged that a deal was in place pending Dickey signing a contract extension with the Blue Jays, and that deal was struck Monday with a two-year extension worth $12 million per year. The Jays are also holding a $12 million option on a third year in 2016. This is pretty much the deal that Dickey was looking for from the Mets, but after talks broke down, Mets GM Sandy Alderson began shopping Dickey. According to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, talks started on a bus ride during the Winter Meetings a few weeks ago. After lots of deliberation and speculation, everything is now official.
The Jays are getting Dickey, and two catchers: Josh Thole and Mike Nikeas.
Headed to the Mets: Jays super-prospect Travis d’Arnaud, pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard and catcher John Buck. It was widely reported that d’Arnaud was the centerpiece in this deal, and according to an interview with Anthopoulos, Syndergaard was the piece that put this deal over the top. Buck was thrown in to offset the two catchers the Mets are losing. By shedding Buck’s $6 million dollar salary the Jays opened up some wiggle room for Dickey’s extension.
The next few weeks will undoubtedly revolve around rotation speculation, but it is safe to say Dickey will end up in the front end. The Jays’ starting rotation looks very deep this year. Most likely, the top five will be Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, but also in the mix are J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek, who could be back from Tommy John surgery in time for the 2013 season. Last year, the Jays had a disastrous June when Morrow, Drabek and Drew Hutchinson were all moved to the DL in a four-day span. After last year’s injury-dominated season, the Jays seem poised to maintain a strong rotation even if they run into injury problems again.
There has been some discussion as to whether or not the Jays are overpaying for Dickey. While he is older (38), knuckleballers generally have a different age cutoff than traditional pitchers. The last great knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, pitched into his 40s.
Dickey should fit in nicely to the rotation and should be a strong asset against the AL East next season. Over the last three seasons, he’s sported a 2.95 ERA and averaged 205 innings per season. There is no doubt that a pitcher who can go the distance and give up only a handful of runs is going to push the Jays over the top. There’s a reason why Dickey was named the Cy Young winner last season, and it’s hard to argue that Dickey won’t be an asset to the Jays in the coming seasons.
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