A day later: Reflecting on the R.A. Dickey trade

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.

4 comments for “A day later: Reflecting on the R.A. Dickey trade

  1. Name
    December 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Sure seems like cost cutting to me. I know RA took the high road, but starting at 2 years 14 million is Very insulting. Then the “bumped”(not really because they never made a formal offer) to 20 million. Not as insulting, but still well below average.

    I think the Jays will be for real. With Dickey, i would call that the best rotation in baseball. Dickey, Buerhle are workhorses, have another potential ace (when healty) in Johnson. Morrow is inconsistant, but can be absolutely dominant at times and Romero was their #1 going in to 2012, but somehow lost it in 2012. Pitching is the name of game, so they will be competitive.

  2. Chris F
    December 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I think some reflection brought clarity to the origin of the range of emotions the Dickey trade has raised in me. And I connected it when I heard a pundit ask of listeners yesterday: what is the word that describes your team’s Hot Stove season. The first word that came to mind was “young” of all things. And then I realized that several other things came to mind that were just as relevant.

    1. Young
    After looking at the lineup (before Cowgill) it is inescapable Alderson has moved the Mets to being a very young team with plans for the future. Many people are under control til ’17 and well beyond. Even if the age is not really young (like Duda or Murph), they bring minimal burdens on the team and are under control for years to come. The conscious effort to reduce payroll has yielded a team that has nothing but “future,” and hopefully promise, on its side.

    2. Rebuild
    Regardless of the Alderson NY two-step, this team is in full scale rebuild mode. I wish the FO would now just say it. Be clear. Let the fans who flip the bill for the drivel that SA puts out there understand the purpose and plan, and with a time frame for planned success. I thought the team could be gradually brought to shape maintaining and developing a mix of vets and newbies. The Alderson path sees no value in veterans with big contracts (no news there), instead preferring to sell the fans on the old addage that “the best days are yet to come.” While it’s not the way I would have gone, Im not the GM, and he gets to run the team the way he wants and should be able to do so. If it brings results beyond sporting a stock pile of blue-chip prospects, then so be it. However, I still wish this was a clearly delineated path to the fan base. It make Reyes’ exit with nothing for compensation and the Wright extension even more confounding. With a team this young, DW will be of little or no value by the time it can compete in ’15-’16 and beyond. Did I want Wright to stay? For sure. Does it make sense in a rebuild? Not to me despite Brian’s best attempts to get it into my thick skull.

    3. Grief
    It became clear to me that the loss of RA Dickey has put his committed fan base into a funk and that recognizing that a grieving process will occur is reasonable. The Mets have provided so little else to be excited about that RA became one of Casey’s Metsies, the loveable every day guy going to work not knowing what the next day brings, and then culminates it with victory over insurmountable odds. Whether that was baseball, his life, or the knuckleball mattered not, we have a relationship with him, he inspired us, and then he was taken away, for being great. It’s felt like a bit like an ugly break up, one with little reason, but a final outcome. Sure we all get “baseball reasons” for making such a trade, buy low — sell high, but this wasnt a passionless knob who was our star. Look at his 20th win and The7Line army that was in the stands. He made us love him and this team. Its frustrating for this fan of the Mets and RA to see a person be treated so poorly in negotiations and then stabbed in the back on the way out all for being excellent at his trade. In a town known for astronomical egos, RA was a gentle giant.

    4. Lack-of-trust
    Alderson said in his post-trade comments that he wanted the fan base to cheer for the team not individuals. Im not sure what utopian world he is living in, but regardless, people surely are going to see their favorites, like guys named RA Dickey. He put more butts in seats than Wright did last season would be my guess. I look a the MLB store and they are peddling DW and RAD jerseys…and have yet to see a Ruben Tejada jersey for sale. Even across town, I dare guess more folks are going to see Jeter than Nick Swisher. I do get his point though. But frankly, I dont trust that either him or the Mets ownership have the best interests of the team at heart, and while Ive been a Mets fan for many years, I really have the individual accomplishments to savor, like a batting title, Cy Young, no hitter, or gold glove. I have seen no evidence in the Alderson administration that we are heading towards something. I have yet to see/read an interview that sheds any light on anything. The obfuscation and double-speak makes me not want to believe in him or his “plan” whatever it is. I have no respect for the ownership of the team. They have not been good stewards of this organization. They are selling me on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…the one that disappears at the horizon. And I am afraid when we all fall in love with Piazza v. 2.0, or the Harvey Express, they will similarly yank them away from us for more prospects and a new, readjusted, and similarly distant horizon with an even bigger pot of gold at the end. I dont trust Alderson or this ownership enough to believe they are trying to build a fortress of sustained relevance and excellence. I believe they want me to buy that dream, with 64$/seat tickets for a 95L team. That’s not a dream I share no matter how much I love the Mets.

    • Metsense
      December 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      I have to weigh in with Chris F and Name as they both have made some good posts on this subject the past few days.
      31M for 3 years and you walk away from your most consistant pitcher of the previous three years. It is something I just can’t agree with. Going into 2013, with RA leading the staff, the team had a formidable starting rotation along with some minor league pitching prospects ready to add even more value to the Mets. This potential dominant pitching gave me hope. This trade took any hope of being comppetitive in 2013.
      As a Met fan of 50 years, I hope I’m wrong and these three prospects all pan out and lead us to a championship. As a 50 year Met fan, I have exhibited my share of patience with this team. I am getting real tired of waiting for this team to be managed properly and ownership to be respectable instead of some joke. I wish they would sell.

      • Name
        December 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

        Of course there’s still some hope, but no doubt it has been significantly cut by the trade of RA. Our only hope is to follow the A’s of 2011. They traded away their two best pitchers, and the youngsters they got were able to fill in. We traded RA, and we are going that Wheeler/Harvey can provide that young duo for us.
        They got unexpected production out of their RF. Maybe Cowgill/Baxter could provide that unexpected production for us. And they topped it off by signing a power hitting OF even though it didn’t make any sense at the time. Could Bourn be that guy for us?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: