If I Had a Hammer

The Mets this week made what ought to go down as one of the more important personnel moves in recent history with the trade of beloved knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (along with both of his catchers!) to Toronto for catcher prospect Travis D’Arnaud, young pitcher Noah Syndergaard, veteran catcher John Buck and very young outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.

Given Dickey’s age, the Mets’ needs, and their limited resources, dangling him in a trade was absolutely the right thing to do, and from here it’s on D’Arnaud and his mates to make it worthwhile. I don’t for a minute believe the Mets necessarily “punted” on 2013, 2014 or whatever, I’m certain they can repeat a 4th place showing with or without a few hot new prospects and optimistic they might do more. They might not either, but that’s why they play the games. As for Dickey, what can you say. He was a great Met, and we’ll miss him, but this was one opportunity where the Mets had a hammer, and I’m pleased to see they used it.

Even more shockingly, they managed to unload both Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas while doing so. Thole, who looked like a backup goalie in his. No. 30 jersey, probably still has a chance to hit .300 but I’m glad he won’t be trying it with us. That Nickeas could be included in any deal almost defies reason: The Mets fearlessly whacked him from the 40-man roster this offseason but getting him back into the fold on a minor-league deal was one of those tiny details packing a potentially big payoff. It also miraculously resuscitated the Tim Bogar Trade Chain with four new branches when I was certain it was dead. Good job on that Sandy. Nickeas leaves behind No. 4 and previously wore No. 13.

If we needed the reminder (you probably don’t) that not all hot prospects work out, Mike Pelfrey quietly signed a make-good deal with the Twins this week. I have to admit that I pulled just as hard if not more for Pelf to succeed here than Dickey. He looked like a great power pitcher until you saw the doubts and poor results that tortured him here: I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out he was hurting for longer than we knew.

Finally the Mets added an outfielder. Collin Cowgill probably wasn’t high on anyone’s wish list but he’s a right-handed hitter (and lefty thrower!) who reportedly can go get it in center field, suggesting at worst he could platoon with Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Cowgill, acquired for minor-league infielder Jefry Marte (an Omar-Era International signee briefly considered a real prospect) wore No. 12 most recently in Oakland and No. 4 previously with Arizona.

Of the Toronto arrivals, D’Arnaud is listed as No. 15, which ought to be available unless Fred Lewis comes back or makes a stink and I wouldn’t expect either. John Buck in this article passed along by MBTN reader Matt details his reason for preferring 14, but with that number retired, could choose 44, 4 and/or 34.

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by gored82 on Thu, 12/20/2012 – 9:53pm.
    And now the rumor that they’re interested in signing Grady Sizemore, presumably to an incentive-driven contract – http://www.rotoworld.com/player/mlb/3795/grady-sizemore. Would they put 24 back into circulation and on Grady’s back?

    Submitted by FatJack (not verified) on Tue, 01/08/2013 – 5:24pm.
    History says trading a newly minted Cy Young Award winner (or even one several seasons removed) is a colossal blunder as you NEVER get equal value in return. Dickey is a knuckleballer; his age is absolutely irrelevant. D’Arnaud is (purposely) untested at the major league level and, as a young catcher, it should raise red flags that he’s already missed significant time due to back and knee injuries.

    Syndergaard is a one-pitch pitcher. Single-A hitters report that he tips his other pitches, which are mediocre to begin with. It’s one thing if a scout or coach says he’s tipping his pitches, quite another when that comes from Single-A hitters. Sure, he can still strike out those Single-A hitters with his fastball. But, as a young pitcher with only his fastball to rely on, he’s bound for Tommy John surgery long before he reaches the Show. Can you say John Glass? Buck is ancient and, most likely, a manager in training more than a catcher of the present. I think Mike Nickeas could outhit him at this point.

    It’s true, the Mets have many needs and aren’t (and weren’t) going anywhere for the next few years. But you build a ballclub by trading Carlos Beltrans for Zack Wheelers, not by trading a Cy Young winner for a damaged catching prospect. Had Dickey brought back 3 or 4 quality young arms, I’d say fine. But the Mets tossed a Cy Young winner on the scrap heap (mind you, a Cy Young winner who was asking less than Ryan Dempster received and less than Edwin Jackson received) for a handful of magic beans.

    History will not be kind to this move.

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