The 2012 National League Cy Young award winner was none other then the 38-year old knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey. The R.A. Dickey trade winner was without question the New York Mets.
R.A. Dickey was a hard throwing righthander when he first came up with the Texas Rangers in 2001. He lost the ability to throw that hard fastball over the years and had to either adapt or look for a new job. He chose the latter. R.A. Dickey not only adapted, he reinvented himself. He taught himself to throw a knuckleball full time and has made a pretty nice living with it ever since. Dickey took the league by storm in 2012 when he shocked the world and won the National League Cy Young award as a member of the New York Mets. Dickey miraculously beat out guys like Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto to win the award. Then, before he could really even enjoy the dream come true, he was not only on a new team or in a new league, he was in a new country. That’s because the Mets cashed out on Dickey’s trade value and sent him to Toronto for a couple of prospects. One of those prospects was pretty well known at the time as he had previously been traded for another Cy Young award winner, Roy Halladay, just two years prior. That player was current Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Travis has been a mixed bag of sorts since joining the big league club in 2013. He has struggled to stay healthy for a full season and has been inconsistent at the plate and behind it. However, d’Arnaud wasn’t enough to pry Dickey away from the Mets grasp. The Mets held out for one more prospect in the deal. That prospect ended up being Noah Syndergaard.
Noah Syndergaard is becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the entire MLB. d’Arnaud, while he has struggled for the most part, has shown some ability to be a quality catcher in the big leagues. R.A. Dickey on the other hand, let’s just say he hasn’t won any Cy Young awards since 2012. Not that Dickey has been terrible since the trade, but he hasn’t exactly been the Cy Young award winner that the Blue Jays were hoping for. What makes it sting a little more is the fact that the Blue Jays traded a player who looks to be a perennial contender for the award in Syndergaard, to get Dickey. Now 41 years old, Dickey has gone 40-40 with a 4.65 ERA since joining the Blue Jays in 2013. Not exactly what you want in return for players with the potential of d’Arnaud and Syndergaard.
Syndergaard was a toss in so to speak. The deal was centered around d’Arnaud and the Jays were given the choice of two pitching prospects to send to New York to get their man. They chose to send Syndergaard. Looking back on it now, it’s easy to say that was a terrible decision. And I mean really, really terrible. Syndergaard has turned into a phenom and looks like he still may not be close to his ceiling. He still has some fine tuning to his game that needs to be done and even with that being said, he’s become one of the most feared pitchers in the game. Dickey has become a back end of the rotation starting pitcher. With everyone so caught up in the hype of Syndergaard, it seems as though we have forgotten how he got here. Syndergaard was considered to be extremely raw and there were question marks about his ability to develop secondary pitches. The Blue Jays didn’t know what they were getting rid of. R.A. Dickey had a great year in the very pitcher friendly confines of Citi Field. Citi Field has gone through some renovations since the last time R.A. Dickey graced the mound with his presence. The fences were moved in through just about the entire outfield to help create a little more offense. It is still considered a pitchers park but not nearly the way it once was.
It’s always fun to play the “what if” game, so let’s play. What if the fences of Citi Field were originally placed in the way they are now? What if Dickey didn’t have the same success because of the smaller confines? What if he didn’t win the Cy Young that year? Would the Blue Jays still have wanted him? Would they have still traded Noah Syndergaard for him? Would the Mets have won the NL pennant last year? Would they be one of the best teams in baseball right now? One dazzling season from an otherwise average starting pitcher named R.A. Dickey, has helped mold the success of the Mets over the past couple years. Syndergaard has been a legitimate ace to go next to the already established ace, Matt Harvey. The Mets rotation has been the talk of baseball for the better part of a year now and it may not have been if it weren’t for R.A. Dickey. As a Mets fan, I appreciate what Dickey did as a member of the organization. From a business standpoint, I respect Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, for going against conventional wisdom and trading a Cy Young winner. Not only did he trade a Cy Young winner, he traded THE Cy Young winner. R.A. Dickey never threw another pitch for the Mets after receiving the award but his impact has been large. This trade from the Blue Jays standpoint will be remembered infamously. It could go down as one of the most lopsided trades in history if the trajectory of Syndergaard’s career continues to trend upward at the rate it has. R.A. Dickey put the Mets in the news with his success and they have remained there thanks to the players they received in return for him. He has had a huge impact on the Mets organization in so many ways. One could argue that he has had more of an impact on this teams success than any player on the current roster. Now that’s a crazy thought, but is it true? You decide.
Image from: http://nypost.com/2015/06/18/r-a-dickeys-true-value-for-mets-shows-in-darnaud-syndergaard/