The New York Mets have reportedly agreed to send 2012 National League Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey and catcher Josh Thole to the Toronto Blue Jays for catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, right hander Noah Syndergaard, and John Buck. The deal also involves some ‘non-elite’ prospects from both sides and, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, is contingent upon Dickey signing an extension with Toronto:
The Jays and New York Mets have an agreement in principle on a Dickey trade, but the deal is contingent on the right-hander signing an extension with Toronto, according to major-league sources.
The two clubs opened a 72-hour negotiating window on Saturday, and the window expires at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, sources said.
Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young award winner, is signed for $5 million next season. He was seeking a two-year extension in the $25 million range from the Mets. It is not known whether he would accept similar terms from the Jays, or ask for a deal closer to market value.
It is also not known whether the deal would collapse if Dickey declined to sign an extension, or if the teams would agree to a different exchange of players.”
This scenario immediately reminded me of the trade that sent Johan Santana to the Mets in which negotiations on his extension went down to the wire. I’d be very surprised if Toronto couldn’t come to terms with Dickey on an extension as they were fully aware of his asking price heading into their talks with New York. As for the trade itself, most have said the Mets come out of this thing smelling like roses. According to Baseball America, d’Arnaud ranks as the #1 prospect in the Blue Jays organization, receiving the highest rankings for both batting average and power in their farm system, while Syndergaard ranked as the team’s top pitching prospect. Last season d’Arnaud hit .333 with 16 home runs in just .279 at-bats for Toronto’s then Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51’s.
For the 23-year-old California native, this does not mark the first time he’s been traded in a deal involving a former Cy Young award winner as the young backstop actually came over to the Blue Jays in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Recently, the young catcher was one of nine players named to the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team, putting him in some prestigious young company.
When Toronto traded Roy Halladay to Philadelphia, d’Arnaud may not have been the top prospect in the deal, but he might end up being the best. He has terrific all-around skills that surpass those of current young big league catcher J.P. Arencibia. Behind the plate, d’Arnaud is agile and athletic, and he has plenty of arm to help control the running game. He started truly fulfilling his offensive potential with Double-A New Hampshire in 2011, showing the ability to hit for both average and power. He continued to hit the cover off the ball in 2012, putting up a slash line of .333/.380/.595 in 67 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. He got past a torn thumb ligament suffered while playing for Team USA to start the 2012 season on schedule, but a torn ligament in his left knee ended his regular season in late June.”
Syndergaard, meanwhile, is a 20-year-old righty that the Blue Jays grabbed in the first round (38th overall) of the 2010 Draft out of Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. Last year for the Class A Lansing Lugnuts the 6’5″ prospect boasted a 2.60 ERA and struck out 122 batters in just 103 2/3 innings pitched.
Buck, who was sent to Toronto as part of the Blue Jays mega deal with the Miami Marlins, is likely to handle duties behind the plate for New York until the team feels d’Arnaud is ready for a call up. Most believe that will come three weeks into the season since it would put the 23-year-old under team control an extra year by waiting that extra time.
In the coming days plenty of people who know a good deal about evaluating players at this level of their career will weigh in and I think they are likely to echo the sentiment of most industry folks prior to the trade going down.
On Twitter I asked Jonathan Mayo, who covers the draft for MLB.com, the following question: “What are your thoughts on Travis d’Arnaud? Long term answer for Mets behind the plate?” His response:
This marks the second time in three seasons that Sandy Alderson has pried away an organization’s #1 prospect in a deal for a veteran player that was only set to be under team control for one season or less.
As GM of the Mets Alderson’s tenure looks like it may very well be defined by the futures of Zach Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud, as will the success of the team.
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