On Tuesday the Toronto Blue Jays introduced the latest piece in their championship-seeking puzzle: former Mets Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. During his press conference at the Rogers Centre, Dickey said that while there is no acrimony between him and his old team, he was thrilled to join a team that is “all in” on winning right now. He went further, saying that if the Blue Jays’ “World Series or bust” team went bust in 2013, it won’t be because Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos didn’t try. Anthopoulos added that when he first met Dickey, he didn’t think he was getting the respect he deserved from his former team.
The New York media, distracted by Mike Piazza’s Wednesday snub from the Hall of Fame, has been relatively quiet on Dickey’s comments. Perhaps that’s because they know Dickey and Anthopoulos are right. The New York Mets didn’t not treat R.A. Dickey with the respect he deserved, and R.A. and his new boss had the right to call them out on it.
We know already that the Mets weren’t “all in” on winning in 2013, but Dickey had the decency to give them a chance because of his loyalty to the team that gave him one in 2010. In an era when hometown discounts are nonexistent and even considered folksy, Dickey was giving the Mets one by seeking just a two-year, $26 million extension. Such a bargain during a bull free agent market should have been a no-brainer for Sandy Alderson. But there was one thing that held up what could’ve been a quick deal: as Rany Jazayerli of Grantland so eloquently put it: R.A. Dickey “throws the ball funny.” The Mets were willing to take a chance on a knuckleballer when he was dirt-cheap, but when he started asking for (well-deserved) All-Star level money, they tried to smear him and washed their hands of him faster than…well, his fastball.
It all comes down to the fact that, to paraphrase Frank Pentangeli from The Godfather Part II, people will do business with the knuckleball, people will respect the knuckleball, but people won’t trust the knuckleball. Rather than extend the reigning NL Cy Young winner for fewer years and less money than Anibal Sanchez got with the Detroit Tigers, Alderson decided to cash out on what he thought was, in the end, a gimmick. He may have won back some top prospects, but he did not win my respect.
Mets fans won’t have much to get excited about in 2013, but perhaps they can take solace in the fact that R.A. Dickey is finally in an organization that places proper value on him. At least we now have a team we can root for to win the World Series this year.