Royals GM Dayton Moore is determined to improve Kansas City’s starting rotation for 2013; he’s already added Ervin Santana via trade and has re-signed Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year/$25 million deal, but they’re not done yet. According to sources, they’re shopping both Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, while asking around the league to find an ace for their rebuilt staff. They’ve inquired about James Shields, Jon Lester, and yes, reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.
For the Mets to make a trade to fill their needs in the outfield and at catcher, they’re going to have to trade starting pitching, which is the one area they have depth in. This isn’t exactly new news to anyone, as both Dickey and Jonathon Niese seem to be the two starters that would be most likely to get a one way ticket out of town. In reporting this story, Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlogsaid he sees Dickey getting traded, but only if the price is right, and I couldn’t agree more. The knuckler’s value is the highest it will ever be, but that still doesn’t guarantee an opposing team is ready and willing to trade away legit MLB talent. So, that’s where Niese comes in.
The southpaw is coming off his strongest year yet (13-9, 3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 155 Ks in 190.1 IP) and is signed to an incredibly franchise friendly deal in which he’s under team control until he hits free agency in 2017. At the young age of 26, he has more upside than Dickey does and his potential would be worth more of the risk for an opposing team to give up the offense for that kind of arm (hint hint Blue Jays, Royals, and Angels).
However, as the Mets and Royals discussed the possibility of swapping R.A. Dickey, Kansas City said outfielder Alex Gordon was virtually untouchable, and they didn’t entertain the thought of dealing prospect Wil Myers or catcher Salvador Perez either. Moore would be willing to give Alderson and company some lower level prospects that are not close to being ready, but his tune could change if Niese is brought into the conversation.
In my eyes, Niese has to be the one that goes. I don’t want to see him go because he can be the anchor of this staff for the next few years, but dealing him will give New York the best chance to fill their current holes with productive players. Although it’s a gamble handing out an extension to a 38-year-old knuckleballer, I’d take my chances with R.A. Dickey. It would hurt losing Niese, but with rumors that Zack Wheeler could be ready by the All-Star break, room will eventually have to be made for him in the rotation, so why not sell high on Niese since he will get the organization the talent they desire, whereas Dickey won’t. Alderson has gauged trade interest on R.A. for some time now, so he knows what he can and can’t get for him, and we’ll see what the Winter Meetings bring next week in Nashville.
In case you missed it, the Nationals pulled off a pretty significant trade yesterday, acquiring center fielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins for minor league pitcher Alex Myer, who, by the way, is a monstrous 6’9″ and 220lbs. That’s one less potential outfield target for the Mets, as that price could’ve been right for them. For the Nats, it seems they’re out of the running to re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche, as this move would allow Michael Morse to shift back to the corner infield position. However, Washington GM Mike Rizzo said opposing teams are interested in Morse, so don’t be surprised if they re-sign LaRoche and flip Morse to another team.