Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dickey's high cost would bring short term rewards for Blue Jays

The pending trade between the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays has people buzzing. Opinions have been bandied about everywhere. While one more voice on the subject might get lost in the cacophony, here is the Fan's take on the deal as it stands in the rumor mill. The deal, if completed, makes the Blue Jays a mighty tough team in the American League East and an instant darling for projections. But it would cost the Blue Jays beyond a two and three year period.

Despite the fact that the Mets may be feeding out nuggets about Dickey to the local media in New York to paint the pitcher in a negative light (see Davidoff's column yesterday for example), R.A. Dickey is a great pitcher whose three year track record seems too good to think he will crumble any time soon. He was 11-5 last season against teams with an above .500 record so don't buy the thought that he will crumble in the AL East. If you take any rotation and remove J.A. Happ and insert R.A. Dickey, you are adding three wins to the rotation.

Then look at that rotation from top to bottom: Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Ricky Romero. That is pretty sweet and should rival any rotation in the American League. Add that to the additions on offense and the Blue Jays--at least on paper--are mighty impressive.

So, yes, this deal makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays and bringing Josh Thole, who is used to catching Dickey, along for the ride makes sense even if John Buck should be a slightly more valuable catcher.

And don't buy the arguments that Dickey is 38 and will fade after another year or so. Phil Niekro, another knuckleball pitcher, pitched effectively for seven years past his 38th birthday. Dickey has found himself and it is irrelevant at what age he found it. His consistency the last three years should put aside all doubts.

But then there is the cost. And it is steep. Basically you are trading away seven years of cheap control on two (albeit unproven) talents in Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. As an aside: Do the Blue Jays have any prospects that are easy to spell!?

Anyway, d'Arnaud is a major offensive talent that has some question marks about where he will play in the field. He was drafted a catcher, but some, including the Blue Jays, question his defensive ability behind the plate. He played quite a bit of first base and DH this past season in the minors. But the guy seems to be a "can't miss" offensive player who could preferably play behind the plate adequately.

It is hard not to drool at Syndergaard's minor league stats thus far in his two short years at the lowest level in the minors. A K/9 rate over ten and a BB/9 rate under three is a pretty sweet combination. He is six foot, five inches which is just want you want to develop an incredible downward angle at the plate.

He is too young and new to have made any top prospect lists. But Syndergaard was a 38th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Your host here has always subscribed to the "prospects are lottery tickets" theory. The odds are better than the lottery, but a prospect becoming the player projected once he gets to the big leagues is always a long shot. A proven commodity like Dickey for two lottery tickets does make short term sense if short term means three years or so.

But if d'Arnaud and Syndergaard find success in the big leagues once they arrive, this deal will be discussed for many years to come...if it happens, that is.


William Miller said...

Hello William, For the Mets what it really comes down to is, they already know they can finish in 4th place with him, so why pay huge bucks to a pitcher pushing 40-years old so they can continue to finish in the second division? Clearly, they need a new direction, and Dickey is the best chip they have to trade. You're right that prospects are often overrated as hell, and this may not work out, but they really have nothing to lose by moving in a new direction.
Nice post,

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Definitely agree that the Mets are in a no lose situation with this deal. The post was from the perspective of why the Blue Jays would do this deal. Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

Anonymous said...

I think the Jays really see a window in the AL East.

The Yankees, while they will still be contenders, are aging and have some injury concerns.

The Red Sox are in a weird place where one can't really tell if last year was an aberration or if they're truly in transition, but I think they have pitching issues that will derail them in the end, and I don't think Farrell will wave a magic wand and fix that.

The Rays are always tricky and can never be counted out, but one has to wonder how long they continue to compete with their model before having to go dormant for a few years and re-start the cycle of accumulating top prospects. Still though, for this year they will be a threat.

The Orioles, much as I enjoyed their success last year, appear primed to regress to an extent. They won't be terrible, but I see them as having a slightly above .500 ceiling this year.

So, having made an aggressive statement by the mega-deal with the Marlins and subsequent signing of Melky Cabrera, I am impressed that AA is willing to plow forward and make the most of this opportunity. People may debate whether it's the right time, but since they've decided that it is, nothing would be worse than coming up just short because you stood pat after making the previous moves.

Dickey will cost us, but if he helps bring us to the post-season, the impact will be worth it. Plus, as good as d'Arnaud & Snydergaard project, prospects are never a certainty, and having Arencibia lessens the hit from shipping d'Arnaud out.