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Hot Stove: Blue Jays Acquire R.A. Dickey From Mets
Reggie Yinger | Monday December 17th, 2012
The Blue Jays continue to build a playoff contending roster. (US Presswire)
The Blue Jays continue to build a playoff contending roster. (US Presswire)
The Toronto Blue Jays continue to be very active this off-season. Their first major move this off-season happen when the Blue Jays acquired Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and others from the Miami Marlins. After the move with the Marlins, the team upgraded their outfield depth with the signing of Melky Cabrera.

The latest move for the Jays has the team acquiring the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner from the New York Mets in exchange for top prospects.

In order for the deal to be completed, the Blue Jays were required to complete a contract extension with Dickey. According to Richard Griffin of the The Star, Dickey and the Jays agreed to a three-year deal worth approximately $30 million.

Here's what each team is set to receive:

To the Blue Jays

To the Mets

After failing to reach a new deal with the Mets this off-season, the Mets are selling high on the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner and hoping to build for the future by acquiring a solid set of prospects from the Blue Jays.

Dickey, 38, finished the 2012 season with a 20-6 record, 2.73 ERA, and 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings. During his ten year career, he's compiled a 61-56 record with a 3.98 ERA, and 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings. During his three-year span with the Mets, he was 39-28 with a 2.95 ERA and a 3.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Over on FanGraphs.com, Dave Cameron reminds us that not only is pitching WAR (Wins Above Replacement) valued differently for pitchers who outperform their FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), but FIP/WAR is also valued different for pitchers who primarily throw a knuckleball. Cameron suggests that instead of valuing Dickey on WAR/FIP alone - we examine Dickey as it relates to RA9-Wins (Wins Above Replacement using RA9) with the RA9 standing for Runs Allowed Per 9 innings. So, when using advanced statistics to evaluate Dickey, we'll examine his RA9-Wins over the past few seasons. 

For good mesaure, over the past three seasons (2010-2012) - R.A. Dickey has been approximately 9.9 fWAR, however, his RA9-Wins sits at 14.9. In 2012 alone, Dickey was worth approximately 4.6 fWAR, but his RA9-Wins was a 6.6.

Here are Dickey's past three seasons with the Mets broken down by fWAR, FIP, and RA9-Wins.

Google Visualization API Sample

The Mets were not able to construct a contract extension with Dickey, so they decided to trade their ace pitcher to a team that needed starting pitching. In the process, they were able to acquire top prospects that will hopefully help in the future. According to Baseball America, the Mets acquired two of Toronto's Top Five prospects for Dickey.

The biggest acquisition for the Mets was catcher Travis d'Arnaud. d'Arnaud, 23, was Toronto's No. 1 prospect prior to the trade. He's climbed quickly in the Blue Jays' minor league system, and finished the 2012 season at Triple-A Las Vegas. In 2012, the right-handed hitting catcher posted a .333/.380/.595 triple-slash line with 16 home runs and a .975 OPS. Although he's 23 and spent 2012 in Las Vegas, he'll need little time at Triple-A in 2013 before making his big-league debut with the Mets. He's clearly the catcher of the future for New York.

In addition to d'Arnaud, the Mets also acquired a 20-year-old right-handed starting pitcher. Although just 20, Nolan Syndergaard features a powerful fastball (94-98 mph) and has a tall frame, giving him a big presence on the mound. In three minor league seasons with the Jays, he's posted 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings and allowed a total of four home runs in 176 innings.

You can read about the other pieces of the trade on Baseball America

Overall, the trade makes sense for both sides and it's difficult to claim one side as the "winner". The Blue Jays have certainly made it clear that 2013 is their season and plan to do everything they can to not only win the American League East division, but also return a World Series Championship to Toronto. For the Mets, they saw an opportunity to trade a pitcher coming off a career year. While Dickey is a 38-year-old knuckleball pitcher and likely doesn't face the same injury issues as other pitchers, the Mets simply didn't want to risk $20-$25 million on one player, but rather continue to rebuild their club at other positions on the diamond by trading a good pitcher that was in high demand.
Reggie YingerReggie is a writer and the co-founder of Baseball Press. He enjoys fantasy baseball and hates when players bunt in baseball.