The R.A. Dickey Trade

As of this writing – 1:15 a.m. on December 15th (less than one week before the End Of The World), R.A. Dickey is still property of the New York Mets. However, there are all kinds of rumors swirling regarding his potential departure to either Toronto or Anaheim/Los Angeles/California. Let’s take a look at the packages being buzzed about in the media.


Supposedly, the Angels are dangling some combination of Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, and/or Hank Conger. If those are truly the players in play, I pass. Why? A quick rundown on each.

Mark Trumbo
Though Trumbo has the homerun power the Mets desperately need, and has proven he can play a corner outfield position, he’s a strikeout machine who doesn’t get on base; essentially, he’s Dave Kingman. But beyond that is the fact that he turns 27 a month from now. If you are a rebuilding team — which the Mets are — you don’t trade a “win-now” asset such as R.A. Dickey for another “win-now” asset such as Trumbo. It appears that the Mets are gunning for 2015 / 2016, and by then, Trumbo is too close to 30. My feeling is the Mets want to bring back bats under the age of 25 in a deal for Dickey.

Peter Bourjos
Without question, Bourjos is exactly the type of defensive centerfielder the Mets really, really need to cover the vast expanse of Citi Field. He also has the speed that managers like to have in the leadoff spot. However, like Trumbo, Bourjos is not as young as he seems — he turns 26 before Opening Day. That’s not old, but again, I think the Mets are looking to bring back younger bodies. Additionally, though he flashes Gold Glove defense, his offensive skills are questionable. He had an offensively poor 50-game debut as a rookie in 2010, a nice but unspectacular 550-plate-appearance 2011, and a horrid 2012 as a bench player. So, is he the challenged hitter of 2010 and 2012? Or, can he improve upon the .765 OPS he posted in 2011 as a regular, if he’s handed a starting position? And is that his ceiling, or can he raise the roof a bit? Even if he can raise the roof somewhat, that’s not enough of a return to be the centerpiece of a deal for R.A. Dickey — unless he was in his early twenties, which he’s not.

Hank Conger
The Mets need a catcher, and that’s Conger’s primary position. He’s a switch-hitter who has been an on-base machine and shown some pop in the minors. On the downside, his defense is adequate at best, his pro career has been riddled with injuries, and there are whispers that he could have a weight problem. Bottom line is that this soon-to-be-25-year-old more realistically projects as a first baseman or DH — which is not the same as an everyday catcher.

Bottom Line
If the Mets can get Bourjos, Conger, and at least one or two top-10 prospects, it might be worth doing the deal. The Angels have several intriguing minor leaguers, including LHP Nick Maronde, power arms Austin Wood and Mark Sappington (who remind me a bit of Bobby Parnell when he was at their stage of development), among others. At the end of the day, though, I’m not seeing a deal with the Angels.

Blue Jays

The names we’re hearing are center field speedster Anthony Gose and catchers J.P. Arencibia and Travis D’Arnaud.

Anthony Gose
Gose has outstanding speed, an outstanding arm (he threw 97 MPH in high school) plays very good defense, and is 22 years old. In short, he is the type of athletic outfielder lacking in the Mets’ farm system. He has to be part of any package — though, since his bat is a question at this early stage in his career, he can’t be a centerpiece of a deal for the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.

J.P. Arencibia
I like Arencibia’s all-around game. If he were to join the Mets, Arencibia would be the best catcher suiting up in the orange and blue since Paul LoDuca (which is kind of sad when you think about it). However, I fear that Arencibia’s main tool — his homerun power — will be suppressed playing half his games in Citi Cavern. And then what? He’s a younger version of Rod Barajas? Further, that’s not all that young — Arencibia will turn 27 during the first week of January. I’d like him better if the Mets were further along in their plan toward world domination, but, considering that he’s likely a 2- to 3-year stopgap, he can’t be a main piece in a deal for R.A. Dickey.

Travis D’Arnaud
Based on all reports I’ve heard regarding D’Arnaud’s athleticism, hitting prowess, and defensive skills, this kid may be the next Buster Posey. At age 23, there’s still room for development and projection. He was off to a torrid start in Las Vegas this past spring, blasting 16 homers and a .975 OPS through 67 games before a knee injury ended his season. All reports suggest he’s better than Arencibia in all facets of the game, and a future All-Star, which make me wonder how it’s possible the Jays would part with him. At the same time, I remember hearing similar scouting reports / expectations for young backstops such as Taylor Teagarden, Jeff Mathis, Josh Donaldson, and Max Ramirez (to name a few). Despite the uncertainty, I don’t see how the Mets could possibly balk at any deal involving D’Arnaud — even if Jonathon Niese replaces Dickey as the main chip.

Bottom Line
If D’Arnaud is part of the package, it’s a no-brainer — the Mets have to roll the dice and hope he becomes the next Joe Mauer / Johnny Bench / Buster Posey. Otherwise, a trade gets dicey. Gose appears on the surface to be exactly what the Mets need, but if his bat doesn’t develop, he’s another Ryan Thompson or Jeff Duncan. My feeling is that if D’Arnaud is not the centerpiece, the Mets have to get — at minimum — Gose plus at least two of the Jays’ top minor league pitchers, such as Daniel Norris and flamethrower Noah Syndergaard.

What is your thought? Are you liking what the Jays and/or Angels have to offer? Why or why not? Who would you like to see coming back to Flushing in a trade for R.A. Dickey? Post your notes in the comments.

12-13 Offseason

About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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