Dickey trade to Blue Jays official
R.A. Dickey is a Toronto Blue Jay.
The right-hander agreed to a two-year, $25 million extension with the Jays on Monday.
Dickey tweeted Monday that his trade from the New York Mets to the Jays was official after he passed a physical, and Toronto confirmed the trade later Monday.
”Now that its official, I want to say that I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support,” Dickey posted on Twitter. ”Thank you for making me feel wanted.”
”Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays,” he wrote.
Dickey, 38, accepted the same terms from the Jays that he requested from the Mets, and is now under contract until nearly his 41st birthday.
”It was an extraordinary privilege for us to be part of his career,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said about Dickey on a conference call. ”The final chapter has not been written.”
He already is signed for $5 million next season and now will earn $30 million over the next three years — a below-market price for the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. The deal also includes a club option for the 2016 season for $12 million.
”We clearly are convinced this can be a front-line starter for us,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said. ”I don’t think he gets the credit or the respect he deserves because of his age, and because of what he does throw. And I understand because it’s so rare.
”But there’s so much overwhelming data and evidence that points to him continuing to have this success.”
The trade, as first reported by the New York Post and confirmed by a source, sends Dickey, catcher Josh Thole and minor league catcher Mike Nickeas to the Jays, with the Mets receiving catcher Travis d’Arnaud, right-hander Noah Syndergaard, catcher John Buck and minor league outfielder Wuilmer Beccera.
Dickey needed to pass a physical before the teams announced the deal. He became the fourth pitcher to win the Cy Young and be traded before the next season, joining David Cone, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.
Alderson said the Mets’ preference going into the offseason was to re-sign Dickey. But as the winter meetings approached in early December, Alderson said Dickey’s value ”in a possible trade was also sky-rocketing. At some point, those lines crossed.”
Dickey, 38, went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for the Mets last season. D’Arnaud is the Jays’ No. 1 prospect for the second straight year, according to Baseball America. D’Arnaud, who turns 24 in February, hit .333 at Triple-A Las Vegas with 16 homers and 52 RBI. He tore a knee ligament in June and had season-ending surgery. Syndergaard, 20, is the No. 3 prospect.
The deal is a coup for the Mets, who fill their need for a long-term catcher with d’Arnaud and add Syndergaard to a stable of top pitching prospects that already includes right-handers Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey.
The Jays, meanwhile, are continuing their “all-in” approach that began when they made their blockbuster with the Miami Marlins in November, acquiring shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio.
”We’re just so close to contention,” Anthopoulos said. ”It’s not just about one season. This allows us to put what we feel is a contending team together for an extended run, for a three-to-five-year period.”
A rotation of Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle, right-hander Brandon Morrow and lefty Ricky Romero — combined with the Jays’ signing of free-agent outfielder Melky Cabrera and other additions — could make Toronto the favorite in the AL East.
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox appear more vulnerable than they have in recent seasons, and the Jays clearly are trying to seize the opportunity and return to the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Most of the Jays’ best players — including Reyes, right fielder Jose Bautista and first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion — are under contract through at least 2015.
Thole gives the Blue Jays a catcher who is familiar with handling Dickey’s knuckleball, and Anthopoulos said that relationship was a key to the deal.
”R.A. is too important to our chances to take a chance and have a tryout camp to see if someone can catch him,” he said.
Despite a big spot in the rotation to fill minus Dickey, Alderson said the Mets were not giving up on next season.
”We certainly are not punting on 2013,” he said.
D’Arnaud has been an All-Star at several levels during his climb through the minors. Alderson called him the top catching prospect in the minors and predicted he could contribute on the major league level next year.
”As painful as it was to trade the kids that we did trade, it might be three or four years down the road before they become All-Star status, or whatever is going to happen to them,” Anthopoulos said. ”At that time Reyes could be gone, Buehrle could be gone, Bautista could be gone, Encarnacion could be gone. We have no idea what our core will look like.”
Popular with Mets fans, Dickey perturbed team management when he spoke about his contract situation last week during a club event at Citi Field for children displaced from their schools by Superstorm Sandy.
Dickey said he enjoyed playing for the Mets and added it would be ”disappointing” if he went through his option year without a new deal and became a free agent.
”If that’s the decision that they make, I feel like it would be unfortunate because it probably is going mean that I’m not going to be back,” Dickey said then. ”And that would be sad.”
Buck was an All-Star with Toronto in 2010. The 32-year-old hit .192 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI for Miami last season, then was part of the big trade between Marlins and Blue Jays.
The 20-year-old Syndergaard went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA for Class A Lansing. The 18-year-old Becerra hit .250 with four RBI in 11 games in the rookie Gulf Coast League.
Thole hit .234 with one homer and 21 RBI in 104 games last season. The 26-year-old played four seasons with the Mets.
Nickeas split last season with the Mets and Triple-A Buffalo. The 29-year-old hit .174 with one homer and 13 RBI for New York.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.