The much talked about R.A. Dickey trade moved one step closer to completion. The New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays have agreed in principle on a deal that will send the Cy Young winner to Toronto, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports. The trade was agreed to about twenty minutes ago and may include as many as seven players. The Mets will send Dickey and Josh Thole to Toronto in exchange for top catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud, big league catcher John Buck, and pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. Each side may exchange another prospect in the deal and the Mets may also receive cash from Toronto to offset Buck's six million dollar salary for 2013. The deal is contingent on Dickey agreeing to an extension with the Blue Jays, and Major League Baseball has given Toronto a 72 hour window to negotiate an extension with Dickey, Rosenthal also reports.
The Mets had previously been simultaneously negotiating an extension with Dickey and also exploring his potential trade value. Dickey angered some in the organization by using the team's holiday party (which was to help children affected by Hurricane Sandy) as an opportunity to air his grievances over his contract situation. Those comments, combined with the sudden change in the pitching market following the signings of Anibal Sanchez and Zack Greinke, had the Mets focusing exclusively on the trade market in the last few days. The Mets received a deal they couldn't refuse from Toronto, which is headlined by catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud.
D'Arnaud is regarded by many in baseball as the best catching prospect in baseball, and he projects to be a solid defensive catcher that can hit for average and power. D'Arnaud would qualify as a "difference maker", which is what Sandy Alderson was seeking in any trade involving Dickey. D'Arnaud has the potential to solve the team's revolving door behind the dish, which is a great move. The team also scored a coup by acquiring Syndergaard, a young right hander who pitched in Single-A last season. Syndergaard is a young righty with a 95 mile per hour fastball and has the ability to become a front of the rotation starter. While he is still several years away from the majors, Syndergaard could eventually team with Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, and Jon Niese to form a lethal home grown rotation. Buck was essentially sent to the Mets in exchange for Thole as Toronto wanted to receive a catcher who could catch the knuckle ball in the trade. Buck will presumably enter the season as the starting catcher, and he does provide some righty pop from behind the plate.
The deal cannot be completed until Dickey can sign an extension with the Blue Jays, which he is reportedly open to. If the deal is officially completed, the trade appears to be a steal for the Mets. D'Arnaud and Syndergaard are two significant pieces to a rebuilding project and add much needed talent to a farm system lacking in it. D'Arnaud would likely start the 2013 season in Triple-A but could be up with the big club as soon as May. Toronto was willing to pay a premium for Dickey as they feel that the AL East is open for the taking, and Dickey adds another stellar arm to their starting rotation. The winner of this trade won't be determined for years as a lot will depend on how D'Arnaud and Syndergaard develop. The Mets made a similar swap of prospects for an ace when they acquired Johan Santana for Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, and Kevin Mulvey. The trade, in hindsight, was a win for the Mets while the Twins got nothing out of any of the prospects acquired in the deal. Time will tell if the Mets fare better than the Twins did in a similar situation.
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