With an All-Star appearance, 32.2-inning scoreless streak, 20 wins and a Cy Young, R.A. Dickey certainly had one of the best 2012’s in baseball. The 37-year old looked to be heading to retirement until he retooled a knuckleball that proved to be nearly unhittable. So what did that earn him from the Mets? That’s right, a ticket out of town.
Fans rallied behind the underdog story that surrounded Dickey, and he was one of the bright spots on a team that was nowhere near playoff contention yet again in 2012. While New York Mets fans are not wrong in feeling hurt and disappointed that their team traded away the reigning Cy Young award winner, they need to step back and take a look at where the team currently is.
Despite the great pitching of Dickey all season long, the Mets finished fourth in the National League East. With other National League East teams poised to be even better in 2013, the Mets are faced with a harsh reality that they are maybe two to three years away. That makes it easy to see why a 40-year old making a lot of money might not seem like a great idea.
After patiently waiting for the right package, the Mets actually received a pretty solid prospect package from the Toronto Blue Jays. Headlined by top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets also are excited to see what Noah Syndergaard can do for them.
By now most Mets, and fantasy baseball fans know about d’Arnaud and his potential. He could be up as early as next season, and he is expected to be the every day catcher at some point soon. Syndergaard has a longer way to go, but his plus stuff and overall velocity makes him a projected #2 or #3 starter down the road (think late 2014 or 2015).
No one wants to know that their team is basically already in rebuilding mode before the 2013 year even starts, but unless a bunch of players exceed expectations, that will be the Mets next season. Long-term, trading Dickey at the peak of his value could help the Mets become perennial contenders again. It might not be the popular move, but it was probably the right move.