No more Dickeyering – R.A. to the Jays

by Bill Chuck on December 17, 2012

Pending R.A. Dickey‘s coming to an agreement on a contract extension with Toronto, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is on his way from the Mets to the Blue Jays in exchange top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in what will end up a seven player deal. Dickey was asking the Mets for a two-year, $26 million deal, but could seek slightly more from Toronto in a deal that must be reached by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

But before Dickey leaves the Mets are doing what one member of Red Sox Nation said Boston is so very good at namely dragging a departing player’s name through the mud. As Tyler Kepner so astutely wrote in today’s New York Times:

Dickey is unfailingly polite and respectful, the way we wish all players would be. His compelling back story, and willingness to share it, broadened the Mets’ appeal. He has peeled off painful wounds from his past in an effort to help others deal with child sexual abuse, appearing on the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated in an article about it. Yet this is the man the Mets chose to malign.

Trading him might make sense, if the prospects help the Mets start winning again, someday. Smearing him in the process was utterly classless. For all he gave the Mets, on the field and off, Dickey deserved better.

According to Baseball America, D’Arnaud, 23, and Syndergaard, 20, are the Jays’ numbers 1 and 3 prospects. D’Arnaud is the one who is major league ready in spite of having to overcome a number of injuries: back trouble in 2010,  two concussions in 2011, and a torn posterior cruciate ligament last season. D’Arnaud hit .333 with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 303 at bats for Las Vegas in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League. There were 72 players with at least 143 at bats in the PCL last season who hit over .300, but D’Arnaud’s .595 slugging was the 10th best in the league. Syndergaard was 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA for Single A Lansing with 122 strikeouts in 103.2 innings in 2012.

Catcher John Buck, who the Jays acquire in their huge Marlins deal, would also head to New York. Buck, 32, hit .192 with a .297 OBP, 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 398 plate appearances over 106 games with the Marlins in 2012 after hitting .227 in 2011. He is entering the final year of a three-year, $18 million deal.

Here are the nine lowest batting averages (min. 800 at bats) 2011-12

Rk Player BA OBP
1 Adam Dunn .184 .315
2 Carlos Pena .211 .344
3 John Buck .213 .308
4 Casey McGehee .221 .282
5 Mark Reynolds .221 .328
6 Brendan Ryan .222 .296
7 Kelly Johnson .223 .308
8 Russell Martin .224 .317
9 Colby Rasmus .224 .293
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2012.

The Jays are also wisely picking up Josh Thole, Dickey’s primary battery mate in 2012, to help catch Dickey’s knuckleball.

Here are Dickey’s 2012 numbers throwing to Thole

Split G IP ER ERA BA OBP SLG OPS
Josh Thole 27 185.1 59 2.87 .232 .288 .366 .654
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2012.

R.A. Dickey could prove to be another key component in the Jays drive to win the AL East, the big question will be whether Dickey proves to be a 38-year old pitcher or a Cy Young Award winning pitcher.

Over the last three seasons, there have been 10 pitchers (min. 600 IP) with below 3.00 ERA

Rk Player ERA IP W L W-L%
1 Clayton Kershaw 2.56 665.1 48 24 .667
2 Jered Weaver 2.73 648.2 51 25 .671
3 Justin Verlander 2.79 713.2 59 22 .728
4 Cliff Lee 2.89 656.0 35 26 .574
5 Roy Halladay 2.91 640.2 51 24 .680
6 Felix Hernandez 2.92 715.1 40 35 .533
7 David Price 2.93 644.0 51 24 .680
8 Matt Cain 2.94 664.1 41 27 .603
9 R.A. Dickey 2.95 616.2 39 28 .582
10 Cole Hamels 2.97 640.0 43 26 .623
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2012.

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