NOTE: Yes, Gentle Reader, you are witness to an historic moment in “2 Guys” history — our first Guest Post! One of our loyal readers accepted our offer to contribute to this blog. Our platform is open to other readers as well, and that means you. So write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us what you’d like to write about, and we’ll figure something out. We’d love to hear from you. And now, here’s Alan . . .
Although the Mets were able to extract what many experts believe to be a significant haul of talent in the R.A. Dickey trade, I am still struck by the public mourning still expressed by Mets fans in seeing Dickey depart for Toronto. That view was driven home very clearly by Greg Prince in the Faith and Fear in Flushing blog post entitled “43 Ways to Leave Your Pitcher,” which clearly shows not only his genuine sadness at Dickey’s departure but expresses some element of doubt as to whether the Mets did the right thing in making the trade.
I think Prince is an excellent writer and a passionate fan. I thought his book Faith and Fear in Flushing is not only must reading for any Mets fan but any fan with an intense emotional bond to their favorite sports team. That being said, I do think that Greg’s viewpoint often expresses a fan sentimentality that left my consciousness years ago. I know that like many Mets fans, Greg still pines for Shea Stadium. Not me. Although Shea was an important part of my life, I knew Shea’s time had passed and it was time to move on. I was at the last game at Shea and while I was genuinely moved by the ceremony, I was ready to move on emotionally by the time I was out of the stadium and headed to the train. While it is not a perfect park, I genuinely like Citi Field; I just wish the product on the field was better.
Which brings me back to R.A. Dickey. R.A. was compelling story, not because of the Rocky Balboa rise to prominence or is courage in discussing his sexual abuse as a child and his candor in discussing his private life; he was also a public figure who “got it” and showed respect to the fans and media. So obviously I understand the emotional commitment and the lingering sentimental attachment.
But like Ronald Reagan once said, “Facts are stubborn things.” And the facts are that despite a great season by Dickey, the Mets still finished in 4th place with a losing record. The fact is that RA Dickey is 38 years old and while knuckleballers have longevity, the rest of his body is 38 and can fail him anytime. The fact is that the Mets don’t have the money or resources to build a team around RA Dickey that can compete in 2013 or 2104. The fact is that the Mets are rebuilding (even if Jeff Wilpon or Sandy Alderson or David Howard won’t publicly admit it), and they needed to replenish the team with young talent. The fact is that R.A. Dickey may never have had more trade value in the future than he did on the day he was traded to Toronto.
Obviously there is no guarantee that Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard or Wuilmer Becerra will pan out, just as there was no guarantee that Ron Darling or Walt Terrell would pan out when the Mets traded Lee Mazzilli to Texas on April Fool’s day in 1982. Mets fans who were upset to lose Maz back then may have been hoping that trade was a April Fool’s joke that day, but that trade turned out to be an important building block towards an eventual championship. Hopefully, this trade may be viewed the same way in another three or four years.
Trading Dickey was not easy, but it reflected several positives which in my opinion outweigh the potential negatives. It showed the Mets were facing reality about their present and their future. The trade was a classic case of selling high and an example of a GM holding out for the best return. Finally, it showed that the Mets were willing to risk pissing off their fans to make what they believed to be a solid baseball move.
R.A. Dickey’s contributions to the Mets should always be appreciated, but it’s time to end the mourning period, and look to the future.
– Alan Krystal