Build a new foundation now, or keep up with “Proven Crap?” That does seem to be the eternal debate when it comes to Met fandom in midst of horrendous down years. It was heard during the down fall of the Worst Team That Money Can Buy run, it was heard after the spending spree of 2002, and the debate has been heard today in the days before the R.A. Dickey trade was announced.
While the argument for signing David Wright to a long term extension was an easy one to make, Dickey’s situation was not so cut and dried. Yes since being brought in as a minor league Free Agent by Omar Minaya prior to the 2010 season he has been as popular of a Met has been in quite a while. To say nothing about his rags-to-riches story and the fact that he turned out to be smarter than your average bear in terms of what he did and said off the field. But at the end of the day decisions still had to be made.
Specifically, would R.A. Dickey be around when the Mets turn the corner? At his age,(and while yes knuckleballers like Tim Wakefield and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro enjoyed careers that spanned a number of decades) and the fact that he had such a meteoric rise makes the idea of him not sustaining his 2012 Cy Young form after some time while the Mets are in full “think about the future mode” a little easier to take. Of course, who knows the future, if Dickey does indeed enjoy Wakefield-esque success; he’d be a nice pick up 5-7 years down the road to fill the savvy 3rd-5th starter role.
Another decision that had to be made would obviously be what would be the Mets get in return. Naturally a reigning Cy Young winner should command more than just warm bodies to fill out organizational rosters. So, the fact that the Mets were able to get three of the Blue Jays top prospects, including a catcher and pitcher, out of the deal does soften the blow. Well, you consider yourself on the side of wanting the Mets to think more about the future than the coming season.
There are of course those that say this is another fine example of the Wilpons’ cost cutting ways. And yes, there is still a financial mess that the franchise is still in the throes of. But, on the flip side, the argument can be made that if Sandy Alderson and crew made this deal with the shackles of the Mets finances on them; then the players the Mets got in return would, well probably resemble R.A. Dickey circa 2009. Simply put projects and cheap AAAA players more than top of the organization prospects.
Interestingly enough, the trade does give a look of the other side of the argument. Here are the Blue Jays, already fortified with the Jose Reyes/Mark Buerhle trade trying to do what Met fans whom cry “rebuild on the fly” say. Will the trades work out? Can the moves the Jays already made this offseason give them more than just the “winners of the offseason” title. After all, this is a team that played to a 73-89 record in 2012, in a division that saw 3 teams win 90+ games. Chances are they won’t fall as flat as the 2012 Marlins and Red Sox did, but it is an interesting side-by-side comparison between what they are doing and what the Mets are doing.
It should be quite a long season in Flushing, but with moves like this one, chances are the Mets are banking more on a bright future than yet another middle of the road, mediocre season.