The Toronto Blue Jays' aggressive offseason has continued, as they have reportedly swung a deal for New York Mets knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey for catcher John Buck and other players, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.
This seems like a somewhat lopsided deal considering the late-career pitching prowess of Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young winner. But there is upside for the Mets in acquiring the 32-year-old veteran catcher.
Here is a full scouting report on Buck to better understand the motive behind this deal on New York's side of the table.
Buck is a solid, improved defensive presence behind the plate. In 2012, Buck threw out 27 percent of prospective base stealers. That was a part of Buck's game that had declined from the mid-30 percent range since his first three seasons in Kansas City, but it's encouraging that the statistic is on the uptick again.
Buck also brings power to the plate, and made the All-Star team in 2010 when he hit .281 with 20 home runs, 66 RBI and 25 doubles.
Clearly a powerful hitter when he makes contact, Buck could bring another big bat to the lineup for the Mets. Instant offense is something they could definitely use, as New York ranked 25th in the MLB this past year in scoring just 605 runs—less than four per ballgame.
His eye at the plate is improving. After the aforementioned 2010 campaign where he only took 15 walks all year, he has been more selective.
The problem with Buck's hitting for power is that his extremely aggressive style lends itself to a lot of strikeouts. It has also caused his production to slip significantly in the past two years, with the low point being a .192 batting average this past season.
Although he has gotten more patient with pitches, Buck doesn't get on base enough to get out of the seventh or eighth slot in the lineup.
It also remains to be seen if the spike in Buck's ability to throwing out baserunners will continue. Both Thole and Recker have had flashes of brilliance in that category.
Adding a veteran presence like Buck to the roster should help. He could serve as a valuable mentor to his younger catching teammates, including prized arrival Travis D'Arnaud from Toronto.
Having endured such an up-and-down career, Buck will be able to handle New York well and also impart plenty of wisdom.
At the same time, if he can even approach the heights he reached as an All-Star in 2010 while continuing to improve his defense, he could be a massive upgrade at the position for the Mets. GM Sandy Alderson is definitely making a cost-effective move on a pitcher with very little time left in his career and a catcher he must think has several good years left.
It's a total wild card as to what role Buck will play for the Mets in 2013, especially because of how the Miami Marlins team he most recently played for imploded under Ozzie Guillen. That could have impacted Buck's sharp decline.
But his experience and prior showcasing of power-hitting makes Buck an intriguing commodity despite the disappointment New York fans are sure to feel in losing Dickey.
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