This is essentially a series of things I think in the wake of the Royals-Rays Wil Myers + for James Shields/Wade Davis and the Mets’ on-going negotiations with R.A. Dickey.
– The amount the Royals paid in prospects for James Shields and Wade Davis increased R.A. Dickey’s value on the trade market.
– In fact, they increased it so much that it has almost become hard to make a deal. R.A. Dickey has been Shields’ equal or better in the last two or three years. With the inclusion of Myers, the Mets would only be happy with a return that included a truly elite prospect who projects as a impact player – a potential all-star – who contributes value on both sides of the ball, in the big leagues. There just are not that many of those guys in the high minors. Leaving out NL East teams for a moment, the list includes guys like Travis D’Arnaud (TOR), Jurickson Profar (TEX) and Oscar Taveras (STL). I’m open to suggestions for others to include.
– The Texas Rangers’ Mike Olt is not enough to be the centerpiece of a return deal for R.A. Dickey. Grant Bisbee did a very nice, thorough explanation of many of the important ideas behind that here. The Mets think so too. Texas has, thus far, balked at including either Profar or Elvis Andrus.
– The gap between R.A. Dickey and the next best pitcher on the free agent market, Anibal Sanchez, is significant. In his last three seasons, Anibal Sanchez has been worth 6.1 bWAR. R.A. Dickey was worth 5.6 bWAR in 2012 alone and 12.1 in the last three. Or is it? If Fangraphs WAR is your style, Sanchez has been worth 12 fWAR in the last three and R.A. Dickey 9.9. Moving back to more basic stats, in the last three years, Dickey has allowed 3.28 runs/9 innings pitched over 616.2 innings. Sanchez: 4.12 r/9 over 587 IP. Nah, there’s a gap: Dickey’s been better on a per-inning basis and pitched more innings. He’s also 10 years older.
– The gap between what the Mets are offering Dickey - $20 million on top of 2013’s $5 million, for a total of $25 million, and his request of $26-28 million for 2014-2015 for a combined value of $31-33 million, is in baseball terms, not big. It can be easily bridged, if the Mets wanted to.
– I don’t think the right answer for the Mets is definitively “TRADE” (or if you prefer “TRAID”) or “SIGN.” I would lean toward trade, and I think the deliberate pace of the negotiations suggests that the Mets are too. However, the real issue is whether the Mets can hook up with a team, and it’s maybe 5 or six in baseball, with a high-enough ceiling offensive prospect to make trading Dickey an appropriate value play. That is not an easy task. Were Dickey to come back on a three-year deal that average between $8.3 and $11 million annually, at anything close to his 2010-2012 level, he would continue to be an incredibly valuable asset. It’s obviously a shorter term asset than say, 6 full years of a prospect, but those extra years of control have to be balanced against the odds that the players acquired for Dickey do not achieve his level of success. In the same vein, the odds have to be against 38-year old of Dickey 2013-2015 equalling Dickey 2010-2012, right?