There has been TOO much talk about the Mets keeping/trading R.A. Dickey without any real discussion over what they think they could realistically get for a 37-year old Cy Young. It’s great that he throws a pitch that’s easy on the arm and has shown remarkably good health but age is always a concern and just as the Mets are more eager to trade Dickey than David Wright because of age… so to are teams willing to pay more for a player in his prime.
Step 1: Trade Candidates
Identify teams who have a need for Dickey. Those who have obvious holes in their rotations and play in competitive divisions that they think they might actually stand a chance in. The reasoning is that a team who feels like they need Dickey in 2013 is going to pay more than a team who would merely like to have Dickey in 2013. The reports I’ve heard have linked 12 teams to interest in Dickey. I’m going to venture 10:
- Atlanta Braves – Atlanta is still a well built team and the Nationals have not yet pulled away with the NL East, so there is always the chance that they look to improve their rotation to attempt to claw their way back into NL East dominance.
- Baltimore Orioles – Might 2012 have been an anomaly? Maybe, but one thing I’m sure of is that Baltimore won’t think so. They see the AL East as a jewel that can be stolen from the typical hands of the Yankees and Red Sox.
- Boston Red Sox – Boston doesn’t look like a contender right now but Boston (thanks to Los Angeles) is able to spend some money to improve their team. It would be shocking for Boston to not be seen as a player for many names this off season.
- Chicago White Sox – Robin Ventura’s White Sox are a solid team but they could use a strong pitcher to stack up behind Sale and Peavy.
- Detroit Tigers – Detroit just made waves by signing Torii Hunter but they could still use a second star-quality pitcher behind their man Verlander.
- Los Angeles Angels – With Haren moving on the Angels suddenly have holes in their once epic rotation. Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are good but I have to think that they’d love to have Dickey as their #3.
- New York Yankees – Let us not forget the Yankees who have C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. Remember that Pineda is not due back until June and that players like David Phelps, Adam Warren and Dellin Betances are penciled into the rotation.
- St. Louis Cardinals – On paper you wouldn’t be too upset with Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jamie Garcia but with Garcia’s health in question the Cardinals could look to add another pitcher.
- Texas Rangers – Questions everywhere: When will Neftali Perez and Colby Lewis be healthy? How will Yu Darvish fair in his second season? Is Martin Perez ready? Perhaps an R.A. Dickey reunion would be in order?
- Toronto Blue Jays – Before the mega trade the Blue Jays made a ton of sense. Now… I can still see it but my confidence is less. They have Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, J.A. Happ and injured players like Kyle Drabek. With all of that said… I still see them as players for Dickey but the need is much lower.
Step 2: Focus On Met Needs
Identify which of these teams in turn has the MLB ready young players at catcher or outfield that the Mets might want if they were to make a deal. Let’s see if we can make ourselves a neat little list.
- Christian Bethancourt, C Atl: Bethancourt is young (21 for most of the 2013 season) and he’s already ready to be an MLB catcher (at least defensively). His hitting isn’t yet at the caliber that would get fans excited. An athletic catcher he’s going to have the legs to steal a few bases but he’s only got a career minor league OPS of .653 and that isn’t good enough for the majors.
- Caleb Joseph, C Bal: Jospeh is going to be 27 in June but if not for a certain player named Matt Wieters. Jospeh has slugged .408 through 5 minor league seasons and was great in AA in 2012. The flip side is that he stunk in the 22 games he played in AAA making me question if he’s worth trading for or if he’s simply a guy you look to include in a larger deal.
- Christian Vazquez, C Bos: Vazquez wasn’t phenomenally impressive in 2012. (.254/.344/.369 and a .713 OPS) He struggled once he was promoted to AA. 23 in August he’s still young and on track for a catcher of his age. The reason I pick him out of the lineup is that in 2011 he hit 18 HRs and slugged .505 in the SAL. If Boston cannot trade Lavarnway… Vazquez is the catcher we’d want.
- Ryan Lavarnway, C Bos: Let us imagine that the Red Sox trade for someone like Mike Napoli it would open them up to trading someone like Ryan Lavarnway. What you must understand about him is that he’s not the complete package. He’s a hitting catcher who has yet to really hit in the majors. His power is VERY real and I believe he will someday hit in the majors.
- Tyler Flowers, C Chi AL: Color me skeptical but Flowers is a long long way from being worth trading a pitcher like Dickey for. The only way that Flowers is the catcher in the deal is if someone like Thompson was the centerpiece of the deal.
- Carlos Ramirez, C LAA: He’ll be 25 in 2013 and repeating AA for the first time. Ramirez only really impressed in one season (for me) in 2011 and in A+ CAL he managed 21 doubles and 4 HRs while hitting .348 in 52 games. Spending a full year in AA with a triple slash of .204/.312/.276 does a lot to make me think he’s not that special but he’s got a good eye… so there’s that.
- Gary Sanchez, C NYY: The Yankees will not be willing to trade Sanchez. I say this because his name has been floated on tons of trade offers and he’s still a Yankee. The good on Sanchez is that he’s mastered his way through A+ and he’s going to be 20 in 2013. The knock against him is that he does nothing for the Mets until 2014-2016 and I’m not sure Alderson has the ability to be the long-sighted.
- Austin Romine, C NYY: The second option is Romine. He’ll be 24 but he’s also just about ready to take the helm for an MLB franchise. He was hurt in 2012 but seems reliable for an OPS above .700 when he is healthy. Because of his injury the Mets would need to be getting more than Romine back.
- Cody Stanley, C Stl: The theme with catchers is flaws. Stanley will be 24 and hasn’t played above A+. He’s hit fairly well everywhere that he has played but there isn’t this overwhelming groundswell of data supporting him as a trade target.
- Jorge Alfaro, C Tex: Texas has a few rated prospects but none of them have really progressed beyond low A. Alfaro will only be 20 and could be ready for A+ but it’s another case of me not thinking that Alderson can target a player who isn’t likely to contribute by 2015.
- Travis D’Arnaud, C Tor: Pretty much every name on this list until now (Maybe Sanchez) has been part of a package for Dickey. Travis D’Arnaud would be a 1 for 1 swap. D’Arnaud is a righty, with power, who hits for contact, can field his position and is only 24. His numbers are boosted by the PCL which the Mets will soon enjoy but he’s already whispered to replace the powerful J.P. Arencibia as the starting catcher for the Blue Jays. If the Mets could snag D’Arnaud I would be quite happy.
- Todd Cunnigham, OF Atl: At 24 and moving up to AAA, Cunningham isn’t the most exciting guy you’ll see. He’s not a power guy and he’s not a 50 SB guy but he does a little of both… hey… that sounds familiar (Kirk Nieuwenhuis). Cunningham is a switch hitter with a good OBP who could leadoff for the Mets as early as 2013.
- L.J. Hoes, OF Bal: Hoes is again not the prototypical power corner guy nor the speedy leadoff hitter. He does show pretty decent power and some speed along with a solid OBP which leads to him having a yearly OPS around .750. What is nice is that he will be 23 and ready for the MLB.
- Bryce Brentz, OF Bos: If the Mets are talking about Christian Vazquez then it might be realistic to talk about Brentz. Brentz managed a .296/.355/.478 in 135 games at AA last season and he’ll be 24 through the 2013 season. If he continues on schedule he’s a guy who will be knocking on the door mid-way through the season and he looks to have the makeup to be a solid corner OF.
- Jackie Bradley Jr., OF Bos: While Brentz could be the cornerstone of a deal, Bradley is more like the other names listed. His fatal flaw (for the Mets) is that he also is a lefty and doesn’t fill the immediate need for a righty.
- Trayce Thompson, OF Chi AL: I mentioned Thompson in conjuction with Flowers. If the White Sox really wanted R.A. Dickey they could fill two of the Met needs by trading the pair to New York. Thompson is a big righty who has shown good power. The White Sox rocketed him up through A+, AA and AAA in 2012 but I’m betting he’s a safer bet to start 2013 in AA. At 22 he could become the starting corner outfielder for the Mets before he turned 23.
- Avisail Garcia, OF Det: Another player who is 22 but here is one who is MLB ready. Between A+ and AA he managed 17 doubles, 14 HRs and 23 SBs in 2012 and also managed a .319 average through 47 MLB at bats. He’s 6’4” and listed at 240 Lbs and might be an option if Detroit becomes a player.
- Zolio Almonte, OF NYY: Assuming that Sanchez is off the table I might be very satisfied with a package of Romine and Almonte from the Yankees. In 106 games at AA Almonte managed .277/.322/.487 which amounted to a .808 OPS. That seems on line with his development and he looks like someone who might blossom into a 30 HR threat. He strikes out about once per game which isn’t great but is better than Matt Den Dekker.
- Oscar Taveras, OF Stl: He’s a lefty and I don’t care. He hit .321/.380/.572 in his first season at AA at the age of 20. I anticipate absurdly good numbers in the PCL and think that he’d force an audition after the All-Star Break. I’m willing to say it wasn’t a fluke as he slugged .584 the year before in Low A.
- Mike Olt, OF Tex: Texas is currently trying to get a player with a little more certainty like Justin Upton and might trade Olt to do that but if not he’s got to be a big guy on the Met radar. A righty with good power he is the exact match for what the Mets are looking for but the Rangers are not guaranteed to be looking for a pitcher so don’t get too excited.
Step 3: Evaluate
The Mets best matches are with Boston (Bryce Brentz and Christian Vazquez), Chicago (Tyler Flowers and Trayce Thompson), the Yankees (Austin Romine and Zolio Almonte), Texas (Jorge Alfaro and Mike Olt) and Toronto (Travis D’Arnaud). Frankly, I would take any of these trades but then again I’m a supporter for trading R.A. Dickey. So I’m posing the question to the fans who read the site.
Would one of these packages suit you in a trade for R.A. Dickey?