The New York Mets are close to dealing reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to CBS Sportsline's Jon Heyman, who broke the news on Twitter early Saturday morning:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 15, 2012
reminder: a deal isnt a deal until it's a deal. multiple deals have been derailed by medicals this winter alone.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 15, 2012
Per an ESPN New York report, the Mets would get catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud from the Blue Jays in return for Dickey.
There may be a sense of panic when it comes to dealing a pitcher coming off a career season, but Mets fans should not worry as general manager Sandy Alderson is making the right move.
Over the last three seasons with the Mets, Dickey has gone 39-28 with a 2.95 earned run average. During that span, Dickey has registered a WHIP of 1.15 and racked up 468 strikeouts with a league-leading 230 coming in 2012.
Those outstanding numbers are great for a knuckleballer like Dickey, but there are other numbers that the Mets should be concerned with.
First, there's the matter of consistency. While Dickey has been great over the past three seasons for the Mets, his 2012 season could be a fluke.
Prior to signing in New York, Dickey went 22-28 with a 5.43 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP over seven seasons. The point is, how do we know that Dickey has mastered the most inconsistent pitch in the majors?
The biggest fear with paying Dickey a boatload of cash is that he'll fall back into this stretch and the Mets would be on the hook for a highly-paid, underachieving player.
Dickey also turned 38 in October, which means that while the knuckleball has allowed pitchers to have incredibly long careers (see Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro) the wheels could fall off at any moment.
Perhaps the demands for Dickey wouldn't be so high if the price of starting pitching wasn't rivaling gasoline.
With Anibal Sanchez (five years, $80 million), Dan Haren (one year, $13 million), and Joe Blanton (two years, $15 million) getting wildly overpaid, Dickey has demanded a two-year extension worth $26 to $28 million.
With the Mets following in the footsteps of the 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers, the team can't afford to spend that kind of money on a high-risk player.
That's why this trade makes sense. By acquiring d'Arnaud (who hit .333 with 16 home runs and 52 runs batted in for Triple-A Los Vegas in 2012), the Mets will have another bat they can use in their lineup at cavernous Citi Field as well as filling the catcher position for many years to come.
The effects of having a franchise catcher (although risky) are becoming apparent as players like Joe Mauer (three batting championships) and Buster Posey (2012 National League Most Valuable Player) are having major impacts on their teams.
With d'Arnaud only 23 years old, the Mets have a chance to get some pieces for the future while saving some money in the process.
This won't be a popular move, but it's the right move to make to achieve long-term success for the Mets.
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