R.A. Dickey is about to go from the New York Mets' beloved Cy Young winner to the front of another team's rotation. Multiple reports are indicating that the Mets are nearing a trade to send their knuckleballer elsewhere.
The Toronto Blue Jays are considered the the frontrunner, with the Baltimore Orioles also a possible destination, according to the New York Daily News' Andy Martino. The Texas Rangers were in the hunt, but are not involved any longer, Martino says.
The same report states that Dickey and the Mets ceased negotiations Wednesday, and that general manager Sandy Alderson has been involved in "intense" trade talks in the two days after.
Alderson stated earlier this offseason that he sought a "difference-maker" if Dickey were to be traded. To me, that means a young, impact position player -- an area the Mets sorely lack -- with multiple years of low-cost control left.
Let's take a quick look at some of the possible places Dickey could end up and why they make sense.
Blue Jays -- The Jays have been discussed as a fit pretty much since Day 1 of the offseason. Their general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, has gone full-force in improving his team with the acquisitions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck in the Miami Marlins' salary dump. It's clear he wants to end their 19-year playoff drought. The Jays are also stockpiled with prospects, and two of those -- outfielder Anthony Gose and catcher J.P. Arencibia -- have been rumored in Dickey trades. Personally, I don't think that's enough. Gose has supreme speed and is a great defender, but there are questions about how much he'll hit. And Arencibia may have more power than Josh Thole, but total value-wise, he's practically the same. Alderson has to hold out for catcher Travis d'Arnaud, their best prospect, who was ranked 19th by Baseball America mid-year.
Orioles -- The Orioles astoundingly made it to the postseason last year, ultimately falling in the first round. Now, they have to sense the division is up for the taking with the division-power Yankees weaker and older and the Red Sox a mess. Baltimore also has no slam-dunk No. 1 starter, and Dickey could fill that, and at a reasonable price. Who do they have to offer? That's the big question. Starter Dylan Bundy, considered a top-two prospect by most outlets, is unreasonable, as is shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado. Jonathan Schoop is probably their next-best prospect, but the 21-year-old middle infielder doesn't look like the "difference-maker" the Mets seek. Scanning their roster for young position players outside of those guys, it's hard to see a fit here.
Rangers -- Yeah, it's been reported that the Rangers are no longer involved. That's as of now. All it takes is one call and the inclusion of one player the Mets are looking for to get a deal done. The Rangers have lost out on every big-ticket free agent this winter, most recently Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Dodgers. There's never harm in adding another frontline arm. Dickey was originally drafted by the Rangers in 1996 so his career could come full circle here. Third baseman Mike Olt, whom the Mets would seemingly have to move to left field, would appear to have to be part of any package. But it doesn't seem like the Mets are sold on him and would want more. Middle infielder Jurickson Profar, the 1 or 2 to Bundy's 1 or 2, is way too good to include. Cody Buckel, a right-handed pitcher, is probably their next-best prospect, but the Rangers would probably deem that too expensive, too.
Angels -- Los Angeles has been rumored to be interested in Dickey. Owner Arte Moreno has already shown -- with the signing of Josh Hamilton -- that he's not afraid to be bold in an area that was a strength last year. They lost Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Greinke in their rotation and did add Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson ... but Dickey is in another tier and would only deepen the staff, while also hurting their division-rival Rangers. Hamilton's signing makes center fielder Peter Bourjos, a defensive whiz but a little suspect with the bat, and Mark Trumbo, a power-hitting right fielder -- with "fielder" in name only, available. But it's hard to see the Mets centering a trade on one of those guys. The other problem is, the Angels' farm system is depleted with Mike Trout in the big leagues and a few sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Greinke trade.