At this writing, the details of the trade are still not fully clear — and God is in the details, as the expression goes. However, I am thrilled by this trade. How can we not be, Mike? After all, it’s very much along the lines we hoped Sandy would follow.
A month ago I wrote here, “I’d give up a lot to get d’Arnaud.” And we just did. This is such a rare moment for us, as fans, when the organization makes a move that strikes us as bold, intelligent, progressive. Talent is in such short supply at the catcher position, a team starts off with a huge edge when it features an all-star at that position. We saw it with Piazza; we saw it with Carter. Sure, that’s a lot to put on the shoulders of Travis d’Arnaud, but again: the thinking is right. Dickey was a huge chip — the Jays just got a hell of a pitcher — and we needed a big return.
Painful or not, a basic fact has always been that 2013 looked pretty bleak. Hey, you never know, and I was always planning to watch the games, but I have never been able to get my head around the Mets contending in 2013. What I have been looking for is a move that can get us out of the purgatory we have been in for four years now and help get us closer to a day where we can contend. This trade is designed to be that move and I applaud it. As I have already stated, I love Dickey, but we needed some young position player talent. Of all positions catcher is the hardest to fill, if d’Arnaud becomes a star that is invaluable. Will he? That is the question that will be answered in time, but at this point in Mets history this was the correct risk to take. Today Alan K. commented that this trade had much in common with the Lee Mazzilli deal for Ron Darling.
I agree, and I have the patience to see if Sandy Alderson got this trade as right as Frank Cashen did with that one. But one quick memo to the owners. My patience is not everlasting. By next off-season I expect some money infused into our new core. By then it will be high time to put up or shut up.
And Mike throws down the gauntlet, ladies and gentlemen!
With John Buck reported as included in this deal, speculation is that d’Arnaud will be kept in Las Vegas when the year begins, to delay his clock to eventual arbitration and free agency. This is not a new Alderson move, unless you really think that Matt Harvey could not have out-pitched Jeremy Hefner or Miquel Batista in the first half of 2011. It’s also why Wheeler is not even being considered for the 2013 rotation. As a fan I don’t love this at all but I will try to be a grownup about it since I understand the logic. By mid-season, hopefully sooner, both will be Mets. In the meantime, I prefer Buck to Thole, as Buck has that all or nothing approach that fits better at the bottom of a lineup.
The other guy reported, Syndergaard, looks nice on paper but has a long way to go to show he is a major league player. I could list names all day of pitchers who tore up A ball and never amounted to anything. In a strange way this is why I like Syndergaard as one of the players included. We are beginning to really stockpile these guys as an organization and that is key. Pitching is huge and pitchers are hard to grow. You cannot have enough high-end pitching prospects, because so many will flame out. They also are very valuable future trading chips for that very reason. I have nothing to criticize here, Syndergaard was a good get. If you have enough auction tickets sometimes you end up with a prize.
And also, as we discussed before, it’s fine if some of the prospects turn out to be relievers. It’s better than fine; it’s part of the intelligent design. It looks to me like we are building that pipeline to the bullpen, and that should be another very good thing.
Frankly I have very little to criticize at all. I have consistently stated that we needed to trade an established pitcher for a young position player. I also was adamant that we needed to sign the 30-year-old David Wright, our only excellent position player at this time. Done, and done, and the Wright deal looks better and better every time I see a new contract signed.
The pace of our moves this off-season has been tortuous at times, but things are now taking shape. I finally see a direction, and to use the word Jimmy keeps tossing around, I can see a reason to hope.
It’s a start.
I don’t have much to add, Mike. I’m curious, of course, about the names of the “players to be named.” Early rumors had Anthony Gose in the deal, and I was very excited about that — a young, toolsy CF’er who could bat leadoff and steal bases. Either the Blue Jays drew a line in the sand right there, or Sandy refused to include some other prized prospect into the deal. Would I have thrown in Fulmer if it could have brought back Gose? Yes, I would (again, no idea if that was a possibility). Earlier, when we discussed Span to the Nationals, I disagreed and said that I would not have traded Michael Fulmer to get Span, because I saw him as a two-year guy who would quickly become over-priced. I wouldn’t trade Fulmer for that. But for a guy like Gose, I would have sweetened that pot. That’s not a criticism of Alderson, we won’t ever know all the options, but it comes back to the other fact: the outfield still needs work. I would not be surprised if Sandy makes another deal — giving up young pitching for an outfielder. Do they sign Hairston?
UPDATE: Trade just got even better. Mets pick up young, raw outfielder Wuilmer Becerra and give up Mike Nickeas — who will never trouble your dreams again. Click and scroll for more on Becerra, according to Baseball America.
I am very, very happy about this deal. I hope R.A. signs a nice, hefty contract with the Blue Jays! He deserves it for the long, hard road he’s traveled.
Oh, one last thing. I just realized! Now I have to buy Alderson a new Christmas gift. The one I got him on Black Friday no longer applies.