I came home from work Monday night to the venting of my sister Kathleen. She is a life-long New York Mets fan and she called to rant about the trade of R.A. Dickey. I tried to be as understanding as possible all the while knowing it pained her and most Met fans to see arguably one of the most popular player of the last 30 years dealt after winning the Cy Young Award. In a 2013 season that was shaping up to be not much better than the 2012 campaign, the trade of their best pitcher gives those loyal Met fans even less hope now that their best reason to watch the team every fifth day will not be wearing their uniform next season. Once the emotion of the trade wears off, I hope Kathleen and all those despondent fans will see that the trading of Dickey makes sense and was done for the future of the organization.
Many fans thought the Met brass was being frugal during negotiations with the knuckleballer on a contract extension. Why, they said, were they only offering two years for $20 million dollars on top of the $5 million dollars due in 2013? Dickey was supposedly looking in the neighborhood of two years, $26 million dollars. If you look at it from management’s point of view, they were being generous. After all, they were the ones who gave Dickey a nice contact when no other team would. Their offer per year was double his 2013 salary, not bad for a 38-year-old pitcher who won double digits in a season twice in his career. Perhaps the Mets knew they were going to trade Dickey all along, getting the most for him while they are clearly still trying to rebuild. Face it, the team might have been moderately better next year with Dickey and though I am an eternal optimist, it would have been very difficult to contend for even the second Wild Card spot in 2013.
How about looking at it this way. Even the most ardent of Dickey’s supporters would concede that he probably won’t win 20 games again. So what if he stayed in New York, played out the final year of his deal but went 15-10 with a 3.23 ERA. A pretty good year but do you think he would have been offered anything better than what the Mets proposed? I would venture to say no. By being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, Dickey gets his money and also is going to a team that is looking to take a shot at the World Series. Plus, the city of Toronto is much like New York and we all know how well he handled things here. Toronto will love him, much like the love he received in the Big Apple. Plus, he gets to stick it to the Yankees maybe four times next year, music to Mets’ fans’ ears.
As for those who question the prospects the Mets received from Toronto, maybe that was the best they could do. There are concerns about the health of catcher Travis d’Arnaud, the main piece of the deal who is listed as the 11th best prospect by mlb.com. If one of the three prospects received by the Amazins turns out to be a solid to spectacular player, then this deal is a win for the club. He will be playing for the team long after R.A. Dickey retires. General manager Sandy Alderson and company deserve a little leeway here. They did manage to pluck Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran. Beltran has already moved on to the St. Louis Cardinals while Wheeler hopefully will be up with the Mets sometime in 2013.
One final thought. I am sad to see R.A. Dickey leave. I think he was one of New York’s finest and most articulate athletes we have seen and is one of the best interviews in sports (just ask my niece Katie). This is why fans don’t make good GM’s. They are paid to assess the long-term future of the organization. The long-term health of the Mets dictated this trade had to be made. I do feel sorry for Mets fans. It seems as though this team is permanently stuck in neutral. Contrary to what many Yankee fans say about their team in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there is no comparison. They never saw problems like this. From 2001 to 2012, the Mets have had five winning seasons, seven losing seasons and one epic collapse. I hope this deal works out for the Mets much sooner than any of us anticipate and that by 2014, we can count on them as playoff contenders.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com