Mets acquire impressive prospect haul for Dickey
By Adam Berry / 12/17/12 6:20 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made it clear that he wanted a "difference maker" in exchange for R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. As it turned out, Alderson may have picked up two.
The Mets completed a seven-player deal for the 38-year-old Dickey on Monday, with the Blue Jays sending catcher Travis d'Arnaud, right-hander Noah Syndergaard, catcher John Buck and Minor Leaguer Wuilmer Becerra to New York. The Mets packaged catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas with Dickey to Toronto. Several reports have indicated that the Jays might add cash or an additional prospect to the deal to offset Buck's salary.
d'Arnaud is the Mets' biggest prize for parting ways with Dickey, but New York also added another potential front-of-the-rotation arm to its farm system in Syndergaard. d'Arnaud was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 1 prospect in Toronto's bountiful farm system, and Syndergaard wasn't far behind at No. 3.
While trading Dickey might be an admission that the Mets don't expect to contend for a championship in the near future, adding d'Arnaud and Syndergaard to an improving Minor League organization could pay off in a big way for New York in the long run.
Long considered one of the top young talents in baseball, d'Arnaud clocked in at No. 11 overall on MLB.com's 2012 Prospect Watch. The Jays initially acquired the backstop from the Phillies in 2009 for another Cy Young winner, Roy Halladay, and d'Arnaud might have already made his big league debut had he not suffered a season-ending ligament tear in his left knee in June.
In 67 games prior to his injury, d'Arnaud batted .333 with 16 homers and a .975 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) at Triple-A Las Vegas, a notoriously hitter-friendly environment. If he doesn't break camp with the Major League club, d'Arnaud will likely stay put in Las Vegas, now the Mets' Triple-A affiliate.
Syndergaard posted a 2.60 ERA with 122 strikeouts and 31 walks in 103 2/3 innings last season at Class A Lansing. The Blue Jays' third-ranked player on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, he figures to slot into the Mets' rotation at high Class A Advanced St. Lucie, putting him on track for a big league debut in late 2014 or early '15. He profiles as a mid- to top-of-the-rotation starter.
"I'm feeling real comfortable right now," Syndergaard said before the season, "and I think that will show on the field."
The 20-year-old right-hander is projected to reach the Majors in 2014, by which time the Mets' other prized young pitchers, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, should be entrenched in the rotation. Wheeler was also added to New York's system via trade, as Alderson sent Carlos Beltran to San Francisco in exchange for Wheeler at the 2011 Trade Deadline.
But that's the long-term vision for the Mets. Meanwhile, Dickey's impact on both the Blue Jays' and Mets' rotations should be obvious immediately, as New York will be without its No. 1 starter and Toronto will boast one of the strongest starting fives in the AL.
Indeed, only time will tell whether Alderson got the difference makers he sought in exchange for his knuckleballing Cy Young.