As the Jays continue trying to work out a contract extension with R.A. Dickey, ahead of Tuesday’s 2 PM ET deadline, here’s as much reaction to AA’s second blockbuster of the off-season as anyone could possibly need…
ESPN Stat & Info sees lots to like about Dickey for the Jays– including the fact that the club now has three of the top four fielding pitchers in baseball, per DRS over the last three years, with Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Ricky Romero. They also point out that, in a horrifically small sample size of six starts, since his New York renaissance began, he’s 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA against the Jays’ AL East rivals. Dickey, they add, has been the eleventh best pitcher in baseball over the past three season, per rWAR (fWAR ranks him 30th), with Josh Johnson 10th and Mark Buehrle 16th.
The New York Post finds the rare evaluator who isn’t a big d’Arnaud fan. He explains, “I liked him, but he was third in the Eastern League on my list as far as catchers. He’s defensively solid and he’s got some power, but to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with the guy.” We get hung up on prospects’ ceilings, but if there are enough guys in the Jays organization who think d’Arnaud won’t quite hit his, the difference between him and Arencibia certainly gets a bit smaller– and maybe the club thinks there’s something to the notion that catchers’ bats develop slower, meaning we may still see more out of JPA, and may be farther from the best of d’Arnaud.
Ken Rosenthal zeroes in on the timing aspect of the deal as well, in his reaction post at Fox Sports, but makes clear he sees more to like than just that. “If Dickey was a conventional thrower — and yes, a bit younger — few would question this trade. Dickey’s strikeout rate increased in each of the past three seasons. His hit rate decreased, and his walk rate remained stable and low,” he explains. “He’s athletic, he logs innings, he throws strikes. A rival executive puts it best, saying that Dickey has “found something.’ “ Rosenthal adds that the Jays balked last year at dealing Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino and Jake Marisnick– all who have been now dealt (along with other pieces) for a much more transformative return.
Jason Parks joins Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller on BP’s Effectively Wild podcast to discuss the deal, expressing his shock– as a prospect guy– at the talent the Jays are giving up, and noting that the Jays must believe there’s something to the notion that Dickey may be dynamite pitching in a Dome. He wonders whether the Jays could have made a play for David Price, given the package that they’re willing to give up here. It’s not an unfair question, I guess, and it’s one I’ve been hit with on Twitter a number of times over the last couple of days– with Price’s name sometimes replaced with Halladay, Cliff Lee, “someone better,” or “someone younger”– and… uh… yeah, probably not. If something was available that was better and could be done for this package, we don’t think the GM who makes 20 calls to one is going to sniff it out?