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Friday, November 09, 2012

WSJ: Why R.A. Dickey Should Be Traded

Detachable bosom…all the rage.

The only real question is whether the Mets would be better off trading Dickey or Jon Niese. And at the moment, the Mets seem more inclined to trade Dickey.

One team executive said they believe Niese would net a higher return in a trade, because of his age (26), performance (3.40 ERA this year) and the fact that his contract will keep him under team control at least through 2016.

But the Mets also believe Niese will be more valuable to them than Dickey over the long term. And they have doubts as to whether a team would offer enough to justify trading Niese—a concern they don’t appear to have in Dickey’s case.

“What can we get in relation to the value we think that pitcher represents?” Alderson said. “It’s all about leveraging the value.”

At age 38 and coming off a spectacular season, Dickey’s value will likely never be higher. He’s only under contract through 2013, but he’s due just $5 million next year, a bargain that will no doubt entice other teams.

Trading him would mark a sad end to his remarkable rise with the organization. But it’s not as bad as keeping him and Wright, only to find themselves unable to build a contender around them.

Repoz Posted: November 09, 2012 at 06:48 AM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Darren Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4298731)
One team executive said they believe Niese would net a higher return in a trade, because of his age (26), performance (3.40 ERA this year) and the fact that his contract will keep him under team control at least through 2016.


Technically, performance doesn't belong on this list. Dickey's beaten him in that department. It's really all about age and cost/team control.

As to Dickey's value, I heard yesterday that he was looking for 3-4 years at $13M+ per--3/$39M seems pretty reasonable for a guy who's been putting up 3-5 WAR per year. You could get all that value in the first two years.
   2. Lassus Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4298733)
To stomp every last bit of remaining joy out of Mets fans?
   3. DA Baracus Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4298735)
To stomp every last bit of remaining joy out of Mets fans?


Well that's a pretty good reason.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4298737)
I absolutely don't want to trade Dickey, but what would you even be able to get for him? The top tier hitting prospects are out, and most of the hitting talent behind them are guys 3 years away from the majors (or guys on bad teams). Nick Castellanos is the only guy I see who might be both available and a contributor in 2014.
   5. steagles Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4298740)
i'm calling it now:

jon niese will be out of baseball within 2 years, and ra dickey will continue to pitch like an ace into his mid-late 40s.
   6. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4298746)

As to Dickey's value, I heard yesterday that he was looking for 3-4 years at $13M+ per--3/$39M seems pretty reasonable for a guy who's been putting up 3-5 WAR per year. You could get all that value in the first two years.

If the Mets can't pay 3-4 years for Dickey at $13M per year then they should just fold the franchise. I mean, if someone blows them away with an offer then sure, they should listen, but the notion that they should be actively shopping him or that they *have* to trade him is just preposterous. In this market, you should never be more than 4 years away from being competitive. If they don't think they can be, just blow the whole thing up already.
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4298748)
In this market, you should never be more than 4 years away from being competitive. If they don't think they can be, just blow the whole thing up already.


And as #5 suggests, there's really no reason why a knuckleballer like Dickey can't be a part of the next good Mets team in his early 40s in that time frame.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4298751)
I absolutely don't want to trade Dickey, but what would you even be able to get for him?


Wouldn't they be able to get as much (or more) than teams have gotten recently for mid-season trades of aces in their final year of team control (Greinke, CC, Lee)?
   9. JJ1986 Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4298761)
Wouldn't they be able to get as much (or more) than teams have gotten recently for mid-season trades of aces in their final year of team control (Greinke, CC, Lee)?


I'd rather not have the next Matt LaPorta or Justin Smoak. The returns for each of those look like one good hitting prospect and a few C+ level guys. No way you're getting a real top Taveras or Myers level talent.

Using Sickels grades because I can find them:
Greinke: Segura (B), Hellweg (B-), Pena (C+)
Lee: Smoak (A-), Beavan (C+), Other two not ranked.
CC: LaPorta (B+), Brantley (C+), Bryson (C+), Jackson (C)
   10. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4298766)

I'd be surprised if the Tigers traded Nick Castellanos this winter, and shocked if they did so for an SP, the team's #1 strength. Also, it's a pretty open question whether Castellanos will be ready in 2014. He's very young, Ks too much, and struggled at AA and the AFL. Might just be tired after hitting .400 at High-A though.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4298768)
I'd rather not have the next Matt LaPorta or Justin Smoak. The returns for each of those look like one good hitting prospect and a few C+ level guys. No way you're getting a real top Taveras or Myers level talent.


Oh, I agree. I was just trying to ballpark any potential return.

If I were running the Mets, I would probably neither trade nor extend him this offseason.
   12. Conor Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4298781)
If I were running the Mets, I would probably neither trade nor extend him this offseason.


As a Met fan, this would be the worst possible outcome to me. The Mets have leverage in signing Dickey right now because they have the $5 million option on him. I also think that based on their financial situation, they won't have much of a chance of signing him if he hits the open market next year. If they can't come to an agreement on an extension, I think they have to trade him.
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4298786)

I agree with #12. Get something done for $3/39 or 4/$50 and move on to the real roster problems.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4298789)
As a Met fan, this would be the worst possible outcome to me. The Mets have leverage in signing Dickey right now because they have the $5 million option on him.


Do you think he would be so eager to get the one big guaranteed pay-day of his career, that he would sign (relatively) cheaply now? If so, it makes sense. Otherwise, I think he actually has the leverage, in that he is coming off his masterful 2012 season. He might want to bet on himself and play out 2013 when he sees the big guaranteed contracts that worse pitchers are going to sign in the next few weeks/months.
   15. Conor Posted: November 09, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4298800)
Do you think he would be so eager to get the one big guaranteed pay-day of his career, that he would sign (relatively) cheaply now? If so, it makes sense. Otherwise, I think he actually has the leverage, in that he is coming off his masterful 2012 season. He might want to bet on himself and play out 2013 when he sees the big guaranteed contracts that worse pitchers are going to sign in the next few weeks/months.


I don't know. But I think the Mets have a better chance of signing him right now than they would after next season. It's worth pointing out that Dickey isn't a typical older ace pitcher in the sense that he hasn't been making money for a long while. Baseball Reference has him as making about $8 million in his career. It's possible the Mets could offer him an extension at 2 years and $30 million, which plus the option would basically be 3/36, and he'd be willing to forego the chance at really hitting it big next winter. Or maybe not' if he wants to play it out then I think the Mets need to cash in on him and get what they can. If the payroll is going to be tight for the next few years I don't think they can afford to get in a bidding war for Dickey and run the risk of getting nothing for him other than the 2013 season.

Another thing I was thinking; if the mets could somehow get him to sign the contract I mentioned above; would they still look at trading him? It would be pretty dirty, but then the team they sent him to would get 3 years at an average of $12 million, which is a pretty great deal.
   16. Darren Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4298814)
One thing to think about is that, even though Dickey is a knuckeballer, he's not a typical one. He throws pretty hard, which makes his aging curve sort of impossible to predict.
   17. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4298815)
I don't see why anyone would use the typical 38-year old pitcher as a frame of reference for a knuckleballer. The knuckler is fickle, and that should probably have some bearing on projections of his value, but Dickey himself should be less prone to age-related decline.
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4298816)

Do you think he would be so eager to get the one big guaranteed pay-day of his career, that he would sign (relatively) cheaply now?

A year from now, he's going to be 39. I don't think there's much if any precedent for a pitcher that age getting a better deal than what I suggested. Maybe he could do better by signing a series of one-year contracts assuming he keeps up his current level of play, but then he's also taking 100% of the risk.

Plus, I'm basing my posts on what Darren said in #1, that Dickey was looking for 3-4 years at $13 per year. That isn't that cheap for a 38-year-old pitcher, regardless of whether he's a knuckleballer, but it's reasonable and something that a big-market team like the Mets can totally afford.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4298817)
It's worth pointing out that Dickey isn't a typical older ace pitcher in the sense that he hasn't been making money for a long while. Baseball Reference has him as making about $8 million in his career.


You are right in that it may be a reason he would accept a deal now, just to hedge against some horrific injury or his knuckleball not working next season.

If the payroll is going to be tight for the next few years I don't think they can afford to get in a bidding war for Dickey and run the risk of getting nothing for him other than the 2013 season.


But there is a decent chance that the price to win a bidding war next offseason is lower than the price of any extension signed now. I.E., if he goes out and throws 190 innings with a 3.50 ERA, he won't be getting a huge deal at his age. If he is pitching amazing again, and by July the Mets are out of it, they can still trade him.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4298820)
A year from now, he's going to be 39. I don't think there's much if any precedent for a pitcher that age getting a better deal than what I suggested.


As I said in #19, this implies that the Mets can get him cheaper next year, so why the hurry to do it now?
   21. Conor Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4298835)
But there is a decent chance that the price to win a bidding war next offseason is lower than the price of any extension signed now. I.E., if he goes out and throws 190 innings with a 3.50 ERA, he won't be getting a huge deal at his age.


That's probably right; I just have no idea what the market for Dickey will be because of his age and his being a knuckleballer. What if he puts up a season not as good as last year, but around the level of the prior 2 years; 190 IP with a 3.00 ERA. I feel like at that point, someone will give him a 3 year deal for at least $10-12 million a season. (Maybe I'm being crazy here, but all it takes is one).


If he is pitching amazing again, and by July the Mets are out of it, they can still trade him.


Probably, but I feel like a team would give up more for him to get him for a full year. Plus, the Mets went through this in 2010 with Reyes; he was hurt in july and even if they wanted to deal him they weren't gonna get much. I don't see Dickey's trade value being any higher than it will be this winter.

I could be severely mis-reading the market for Dickey next year.
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 09, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4298840)
Well that's a pretty good reason.


Well done.
   23. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4298873)
Technically, performance doesn't belong on this list. Dickey's beaten him in that department. It's really all about age and cost/team control.


If his hadn't pitched well, would his age and cost/team control be decisive? Performance ALWAYS matters.
   24. DL from MN Posted: November 09, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4298882)
He strikes me as exactly the type of player to go year to year with and decide whether to offer a qualifying offer. That's probably going to be $15M next year. If he turns it down they get a draft pick. If he takes it that won't kill the Mets.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4298885)
As I said in #19, this implies that the Mets can get him cheaper next year, so why the hurry to do it now?

Well, I was responding to the people who think that you need to either trade him or extend him. In that case, extend him. But you're right, they can wait and see.

But there's always the risk that another team does something unprecedented/stupid in a year. I think what he's asking for is reasonable and I think there's some value in retaining wildly popular players who also happen to be good guys. Not to mention eliminating areas of uncertainty on your roster.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4298889)

He strikes me as exactly the type of player to go year to year with and decide whether to offer a qualifying offer. That's probably going to be $15M next year. If he turns it down they get a draft pick. If he takes it that won't kill the Mets.

I'd guess I'd rather have Dickey at $13 million per year than a draft pick, so if there's a way to lock that in now I don't see why you wouldn't.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: November 09, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4298899)
I'd guess I'd rather have Dickey at $13 million per year than a draft pick, so if there's a way to lock that in now I don't see why you wouldn't.


In general I agree, but it might be hard for his agent to let him agree to earn $5m/$13m/$13m over the next 3 years once they see lesser pitchers getting contracts worth $15m+ per year.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4298985)

Well I was thinking it's 3/$39 today so in reality you're paying $34 for Dickey or $17 million each for those two years. I'd still rather have Dickey at that level than a draft pick but I haven't studied the issue that closely.
   29. billyshears Posted: November 09, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4299035)
I'm already on record with this, but the Mets should trade Dickey. Having him around next year would be nice and all, but this is still a team that isn't going to contend unless a bunch of things happen that aren't likely to happen. Teams in that position trade 38 year old rising free agents who have a ton of value, even if they are knuckleballers.

The Mets were sentimental with Reyes last year, and it cost them. They're going to be sentimental with Wright this year and give him a contract a team in the Mets' position would not ordinarily give a player except for the fact that the player is already on the team. Just once in my life, I'd like the Mets to take a PR hit to make a transaction that actually improves the team's long term outlook.
   30. thetailor Posted: November 09, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4299047)
Just once in my life, I'd like the Mets to take a PR hit to make a transaction that actually improves the team's long term outlook.

Agreed. How can we get you a job in the FO? Seriously, I'll lobby.

As others have pointed out, if the Mets don't extend him now, Dickey is going to be 39 next year. We'll have another year of data on him at that point. If he's good again, I doubt he'll get the 3/39 that people are throwing around here. But let's say he would best case scenario. That means he'd be getting 5-13-13-13 and thats only if he continues to pitch great.

Dickey seems like a pretty practical guy -- his last deal was risk-averse -- so I'd definitely see him extending at something like 2/24 and going from there. It gives him a $6MM raise for 2013 and 2014 and guarantees him the second year without the requirement that he pitch well this year. It also sets up him and his family for life.

If he wants more than that, I agree with #29 in that we should trade him or just enjoy the $5MM option.
   31. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 09, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4299073)
How much is 12 million a year these days? Adam LaRoche just rejected a qualifying offer for 13.3 million a year. It's going to be interesting to see how this free agent period plays out. In particular, I want to see what Kuroda signs for. There's a lot of money swimming around these days. We may be entering a period where good, not great, players are getting 15 million a year.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: November 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4299173)
Aging knuckleballers (ages 39-41):

P Niekro: 951 IP, 121 ERA+
Hough: 719 IP, 112 ERA+ (from ages 41 on, he was league average)
Wakefield: 510 IP, 105 ERA+
J Niekro: 599 IP, 95 ERA+
Candiotti: 407 IP, 89 ERA+
Wood: DNP

P Niekro and Wilhelm (reliever) are the only ones of remotely recent vintage who excelled after age 40. Knuckleballers last and eat up innings but mainly as league-average guys.

There's probably an advantage but I'm not convinced knucklers have a massive aging advantage over other pitchers. Yeah, they can probably keep eating innings but how effectively? Some cherry-picked non-knucklers ages 39-41 (but skipping some awesome pitchers and excluding HoFers):

D Martinez: 475 IP, 132 ERA+
K Rogers: 611 IP, 117 ERA+
J Moyer: 647 IP, 112 ERA+
D Wells: 615 IP, 110 ERA+
Reuschel: 540 IP, 106 ERA+
Koosman: 567 IP, 101 ERA+
John: 638 IP, 96 ERA+
Darwin: 421 IP, 91 ERA+

Plus most of the HoF starters of the last 40 years.

Even from age 42 on:

P Niekro: 1360 IP, 99 ERA+
J Moyer: 1134 IP, 96 ERA+

But, certainly fair enough, of the guys with 500+ IP from age 42 on you've got 4 non-knuckling HoFers, 3 knucklers and Moyer and John (both of whom might have been throwing slower than knucklers :-).
   33. depletion Posted: November 09, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4299214)
This is the first time I've seen the 3/39M figure. The average salary is quite reasonable for a pitcher of Dickey's ability. Really, 13M is "above average starter" money. I suppose the 3 years is a little tough for a 38 year old, although he doesn't have nearly the mileage of many other pitchers his age (due to sucking early in his career), and he doesn't throw harder than 81 mph or so. If the Mets just don't have the money, then I can understand dealing him, otherwise, they should meet those numbers.
   34. Darren Posted: November 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4299216)
Walt, I ran similar numbers a few years ago, and when compared to the rest of their careers, that 39-41 period looked like the peak or near the peak. As I said upthread, I'm not at all sure this applies to hard-throwin' Dickey.
   35. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 09, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4299314)
Plus, I'm basing my posts on what Darren said in #1, that Dickey was looking for 3-4 years at $13 per year. That isn't that cheap for a 38-year-old pitcher, regardless of whether he's a knuckleballer, but it's reasonable and something that a big-market team like the Mets can totally afford.
The Mets aren't a big-market team, though. That's important to keep in mind.

I have no expectation that a team run by the Wilpons but without the financial advantages they enjoyed before running their businesses into the ground is going to turn any kind of corner except after a series of happy accidents, so I don't see any point in trading Dickey for prospects. Just sign him. He's one of very few bright spots on the team.

i'm calling it now:

jon niese will be out of baseball within 2 years, and ra dickey will continue to pitch like an ace into his mid-late 40s.
You missed the part, though, where Niese is the one the Mets keep.

   36. Lassus Posted: November 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4299428)
The Mets were sentimental with Reyes last year, and it cost them.

Er, what? By offering him a low figure, so he left? I'm lost on the sentiment and the cost.
   37. billyshears Posted: November 10, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4299446)
Er, what? By offering him a low figure, so he left? I'm lost on the sentiment and the cost.


By not trading him for no rational reason.

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