The Winter Meetings got off to a quick start yesterday; we saw Angel Pagan get $40 million over four years to stay with the Giants, Jason Marquis is heading back to San Diego, and Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year/$39 million contract with the Red Sox. While the Mets didn’t make any moves, Sandy Alderson and his staff was certainly active, as it was reported they spoke to eight teams regarding the availability of R.A. Dickey. The New York GM has said he’s not actively shopping either Dickey or southpaw Jonathon Niese, but he’s willing to talk if other executives want to have a conversation, which he’s been doing- a lot. After the first day in Nashville, I’m still convinced there are only a couple of true players who will emerge for Dickey’s services, and those teams are the Royals and Blue Jays.
Honestly, I don’t think the Royals will end up dealing with the Mets now, or the rest of the winter. Marc Craig of Newsday tweetedthat Kansas City is seen as a good match for New York for a deal, but the two sides didn’t meet Monday to chat. Unless something changes quickly (which is more than possible), I doubt a trade will be worked out to send Dickey to the AL Central division. If the Royals were looking for one more pitcher to get them over the hump, I think they’d be more willing to trade away a bat like Will Myers, which is what the Mets are rumored to desire in return.
Coming off a 72-90 campaign in 2012, they’re not primed to be a playoff contender in 2013. This is a very young team that could improve greatly from one year to the next, but that’s an unknown right now. They still have an eye to the future, and with rumors they’re shopping major offensive producer in Billy Butler, they may not be willing to send Myers or Alex Gordon for a pitcher. The fact that these two sides didn’t touch base face-to-face yesterday leads me to believe Dickey isn’t high on Dayton Moore’s wish list, likely because of Alderson’s asking price.
However, it was nice to hear Sandy say New York will only trade Dickey for difference makers because that’s the type of player he is. Obviously, someone who wins a Cy Young Award is a difference maker, but not many GMs come out and say that.
Now, onto the Blue Jays; these two teams did in fact meet, and word on the street is they’re serious suitors for Dickey. Although they disappointed with a 73-89 record in 2012, the mega-deal they pulled off to bring in the likes of Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and company have automatically made them playoff contenders on paper. The key in that deal was the acquisition of John Buck, who is a backup catcher with legitimate MLB experience, creating a roster crunch with J.P. Arencibia already in the Big Leagues and highly-touted prospect Travis d’Arnaud ready to contribute. Toronto made things even more interesting by claiming Eli Whiteside off waivers yesterday from the Yankees.
Now, that gives them four catchers for two spots on the Big League roster. I would presume Whiteside will be headed for Triple-A Buffalo as catcher insurance, leaving the Jays with Buck, Arencibia, and d’Arnaud, with the latter two grabbing most of the potential trade headlines. A rumor circulated early yesterday the Jays would be willing to trade d’Arnaud for Dickey straight up, but if that was legit, it would have gained more steam.
What looks to hold more weight is the potential that Arencibia will be on the move; MLB Trade Rumors reported over the weekend the Jays would be hard pressed to acquire a pitcher like Niese straight up, and the same with Dickey. So, it sounds that if a deal forms between these two teams, it will likely have J.P. as the centerpiece.
It’s tough for me to see Dickey be involved in so many trade talks because like most fans, I love the guy, but if the right deal comes around that can fill multiple holes on the roster, then it’s worth it to me. According to Alderson’s recent statements, that’s how he’s going to operate with R.A., but as we know, things can change very quickly at the Winter Meetings. If I had to put my guess on it (and I”m not good at these), Dickey won’t be traded this week because of the high price the Mets are putting on him. If he does get dealt, the only team in my eyes that would be willing to part with that kind of package would be the Blue Jays because of their desire to win right now.