RA Dickey Trade: Blue Jays Can't Let Contract Extension Cause Deal to Fall Apart

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: R.A. Dickey #43 of the New York Mets pitches against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on September 22, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of adding another major piece to their roster in the likes of the reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. The sides are still discussing a contract extension, but the Jays can't allow that to stop the trade.

Toronto has reached an agreement with the New York Mets on a deal for the knuckleballer, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. They report a new contract for the starting pitcher is the last remaining hurdle.

"Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, is signed for $5 million next season. He was seeking a two-year extension in the $25 million range from the Mets. It is not known whether he would accept similar terms from the Jays, or ask for a deal closer to market value."

The 38-year-old ace is coming off a season in which he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 233.2 innings. Even though wins have rightfully faded as a key statistic during the rise of advanced numbers, when you consider the Mets only won 74 games and he tallied 20 of them, it's an impressive stat.

Toronto has already made several high-profile additions during the offseason. A blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins landed the Canadian franchise Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, among others. The Blue Jays also added Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis through free agency.

Putting Dickey in a rotation that already features Johnson and Brandon Morrow—whose days of being overlooked will end now that the Blue Jays are a contender—would give the Blue Jays a legitimate chance of competing in the always tough AL East.

Without him, it's much more difficult to make that prediction. He's the type of player that can take the Jays to the next level after the team finished 22 games off the pace in 2012. That's why it's so important to figure out something in terms of an extension.

The reported $25 million figure over two years would be reasonable. Although Dickey is 38, he's flourished late in his career, which means that there's less stress on his arm. Furthermore, depending on a knuckleball instead of a upper-90s fastball helps his cause.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jays have already pushed all their chips in for 2013. They have gone out and made the moves that fans north of the border have been waiting for. Missing out on Dickey over contract talks would be a step in the wrong direction after all that progress.

Even if they have to slightly overpay to get him to sign on the dotted line, it's worth the risk. It takes an elite pitching staff to survive in the AL East, and Dickey would ensure that the Jays have one heading into next season.

The tough part of the deal is done. Now the team just has to make sure it doesn't let money—something it has already spent a lot of since the season end—get in the way of another key addition.