New York Mets: Revisiting the R.A. Dickey Trade


In 2012, R.A. Dickey went 20-6 for a New York Mets team that finished 74-88. Getting 20 wins is hard enough, but when you think about him achieving that feat with an offense that ranked 25th among the league in runs scored, your brain starts to hurt.

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The reason he was able to win so much was in part due to his ability to pitch deep into ballgames. So many pitchers these days pitch excellent games, only to leave in the sixth or seventh inning due to high pitch counts. Dickey was different. He didn’t have to give up his masterpiece only to watch the bullpen give it all away every now and then. That season, he pitched 233.2 innings and completed five games. From 2013 to now, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom have combined to throw two complete games.

It’s harsh to compare young hard-throwing arms to the soft-tossing ones, but that’s what made Dickey so special. At the age of 37, most teams know that they can still get at least five years out of him, since fellow knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, didn’t retire until the age of 44. Thats when the Mets decided it was time to sell high on the veteran.

“The year he won the Cy Young, we weren’t in the hunt,” Terry Collins told the New York Post. “What he brought back has allowed us to be in the hunt, so I think his value, what he provided for this organization, was a chance to move a guy and move the organization forward.”

Dickey was the main piece used to acquire Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra. If you go further, John Buck was later used to acquire Dilson Herrera and Vic Black. At age 26, d’Arnaud is starting to play how scouts projected him to. Syndergaard has been inconsistent in his rookie year, but he still possesses so much upside with his fastball averaging 96 MPH per fangraphs. Herrera has provided good defense at second base, and his bat is expected to get better. Black pitched 34.2 innings in 2014 to a 2.60 ERA, but has yet to make an appearance in 2015 due to shoulder issues.

The one player who has yet to make a big league appearance is Becerra, but even he has lots of potential. At the time of the trade, he was a 17-year-old who had played in 11 games of rookie ball. He is 20 now, and hitting .289/.340/.491 in Class A ball. His expected MLB time isn’t for another 2-3 years, but if he can make it there, it will be the cherry on top to a trade that has already been won.

In his first two years with the Blue Jays, Dickey was able to pitch 224.2 and 215.2 innings. His ability to keep teams off the scoreboard, however, he has never been the same since his three-year tenure with the Mets, having posted 4.21 and 3.71 ERAs in 2013 and 2014. He comes into Thursday nights game against the Mets with an ERA over 5.00. The other two players the Mets traded to the Blue Jays, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, also haven’t done much. Thole is struggling to stay with the major league club while Nickeas has reportedly retired at the age of 32 and gone back to school.

This trade was clearly won by the Mets as they may have gotten not only their pitcher and catcher of the future, but also a second baseman, relief pitcher, and potential right fielder. If it all works out, this trade will likely go down as Sandy Alderson’s best, as he was able to acquire some of the most highly regarded prospects in baseball for a 37-year-old at his peak value.

Next: Where do the Mets rank in our MLB Power Rankings?

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