I touched upon this in our comments section yesterday, Mike, but one thing I love about this trade — we didn’t get any money back! In the old way of doing things (the Benitez trade springs to mind), we would have sacrificed the quality of the prospect in order to get a few bucks in our pocket. You know how Fred likes his walking-around money. It was so short-sighted. Whereas in this deal, my reading is that Alderson opted to forego the cash and instead focused on getting back the best players possible. Pinch me, Mike! Wait, no, on second thought: keep your hands to yourself, good buddy.
Benitez is a good example, and painful, as the young player we supposedly turned down was named Adrian Gonzalez. The Wagner deal, made right before Alderson took over, was another one. We took organizational filler to save one month of Billy’s salary. The Red Sox later received a first round draft pick and a sandwich pick for Wagner. Of course that was 2009 when the Madoff affair was not having any effect on the operation of the team. Ha.
Now, I will not pretend that I knew who Wuilmer Becerra was before last night. Now I know that he was worth a very big signing bonus of $1.3 million to Toronto last summer, and that he got hit in the face by a fastball. I think the second item is worth noting. It sounds like it was a very nasty beaning. Something to consider. But surely this guy is not just a throw-in.
I was thrilled with the trade when it still involved two players to be named, loosely described in media reports as “non-elite” prospects. I guessed it might be one of our interesting young pitchers from A-ball — we’ve got a spate of them — and I was okay with that. After all, we already received Noah Syndergaard, Norse God of Strikeouts. (I’m trademarking that, by the way.) So when I heard that the guy we surrendered was Mike Nickeas, I was shocked. I mean this sincerely: thank you, Toronto! The kid we got back, Becerra, is exactly the kind of player we need in the system right now. It doesn’t seem fair.
You know, I can immediately think of a dozen snarky, mean-spirited things to say about Mike Nickeas. Suffice it to say that he should never, ever, ever bat against major league pitching. But that’s not our problem anymore! I will say that he’s a solid organizational catcher, a guy to work with, and help in the development of, your most important minor league pitchers. That’s not nothing. He’s an asset at AAA, an albatross in the Bigs.
I don’t think Nickeas has anything materially to do with this trade. Dickey is a knuckleballer, and Toronto was worried that if something happened to Thole they wouldn’t have anybody to catch him. A fair worry. So Alderson said, here, take Nickeas. In the end the Jays must be hoping they find out they have other catchers who can handle R.A. Nobody would ever really want this guy on their major league roster.
Yes, details matter and I like that we got an extra guy. All three prospects have high ceilings, and there is safety in numbers so getting three, not two, helps. How well we have scouted the Jays’ system is the key to this deal. If one guy makes it, we did fine; more than that, this becomes great. Time will tell, Jimmy, and we can revisit this again here on the blog in a couple of years.