It’s nearly official.
MLB insiders report the Blue Jays have inked R.A Dickey, last seasons NL Cy Young award winner, to a 2 year, $25 million contract extension, pending a physical. The Mets had previously exercised a club option on Dickey for 2013 at $5 million, so the extension covers the 2014 and 2015 seasons (Dickey will be nearly 41 when the contract expires). Part of the $25 million comes immediate to Dickey as way of a signing bonus, but that number hasn’t been disclosed. Rumours are that Dickey is in Florida at the Jays spring training complex and that the deal could officially close later today or tomorrow.
It’s been reported the Jays will send their number one prospect (and number one catching prospect and number 17 prospect overall ranked by MLB) Travis d’Arnaud along with their number three prospect, right hander Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and a non-elite prospect in exchange for Dickey, catcher Josh Thole , 26, (who would most likely continue to act as a personally catcher for Dickey – catching a knuckleball is extremely difficult and Thole has proven he can do it), and a non-elite prospect.
Dickey had requested a 2 year, $26 million extension from the Mets. The Mets, however, decided to “sell high” on Dickey after his Cy Young season where he led the National League with 233 2/3 innings pitched, 230 strikeouts and five complete games, posting a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP with 8.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
There are mixed views about this deal; the Jays gave up two of their top three prospects for a 38 year old pitcher. However, it’s clear the Jays see a window to make a run in the competitive AL East – a division that was once dominated by only the Yankees and Red Sox – and are jumping on the opportunity.
The Jays payroll projections (and last season’s actuals) for the coming seasons: 2012 – $75 million, 2013 – $119 million, 2014 – $103 million, 2015 – $89 million.
When this deal officially closes, the Jays have arguably the best starting rotations in baseball (on paper). The next bit of news I hope to see is that Darren Oliver plays one more season before retiring. Oliver has told the Jays he will give his decision before pitchers and catchers report in February. Hopefully the Jays transactions of late will convince Oliver, 42, that his best chance at a World Series ring is with the Jays in 2013. Oliver was arguably the Jays most consistent reliever last season throwing 56.2 innings with 52 strikeouts and only 15 walks to go along with a sparkling 2.06 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Oliver has now lowered his ERA every season since 2007 – not bad for an aging lefty.