While Blue Jays fans have long lamented the trade that brought R.A. Dickey to Toronto prior to the 2013 season, it’s now time to let go of your frustration.
There aren’t many franchises who play on nostalgia as much as the Toronto Blue Jays, and it’s always fun to re-live the glory days of the early 90’s, and even the playoff return and successes of a few years ago with the Jose Bautista-led era.
However, just as we love to look back on the fond memories, we sure seem to love to dwell on the mistakes of the past, especially when it comes to trades gone awry. On that note, there may be no more criticized trade in franchise history than the one that brought R.A. Dickey to Toronto in 2018, and sending Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and more to the New York Mets. The full swap was Dickey, along with catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeaus in exchange for Syndergaard, d’Arnaud, Wuilmer Bucera, and veteran backstop John Buck.
It’s been a classic “what if” for the Blue Jays for a long time now, but after the way things have gone over the last year, I think it’s all time we let it go. I asked the question back in 2018, and clearly we weren’t ready yet. However, now that the Blue Jays have “gotten even” with the Mets, there’s no sense in holding on to it any longer.
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What do I mean by that? Well, it appears the Blue Jays made a very wise decision last summer when they sent Marcus Stroman to New York in exchange for Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay. Woods Richardson is now ranked at #61 on the top 100 prospects lists at Baseball America, and is expected to development into a top tier arm. As an added bonus, Anthony Kay has been fantastic in a Blue Jays’ uniform, and looks like he could be a strong contributor from either the rotation or out of the bullpen.
With the benefit of hindsight, the Blue Jays certainly got a fair bit on their end of the bargain, but how did the Mets do? Well, they were acquiring Stroman hoping that he could a) help them reach the post-season in 2019, and b) knowing they had a full season with him in 2020 before he hit free agency. They still could re-sign him at the end of the year, and they may very well do that, but they could have done that if he had remained a Blue Jay as well.
Because the 2020 season has been derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Stroman was unable to deliver what the Mets had hoped to get from him this year. The season didn’t start until a few weeks ago, and unfortunately the right-hander was dealing with a leg injury that kept him from making a start thus far. And then came the news on Monday that he has decided to opt out of the rest of this season, citing concerns for his health and the safety of his family. I don’t think anyone can fault him for making that decision, and hopefully the Mets are being supportive, but that certainly doesn’t help the results of this trade.
In all the Mets will have received just 11 starts from Stroman, and they missed the post-season last year as well. For his part the 30-year-old went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA as a Met last year, but he also posted a 1.475 WHIP over his 59.2 innings. Again, they could end up re-signing him before next season begins, but as of now anything could happen, and I doubt that he’ll be too worried about loyalty to the Mets after just 11 games.
To be fair, we don’t know what the future holds for Kay or Woods Richardson in Toronto, but it’s tough to imagine that they won’t end up providing a lot more value to the Blue Jays than Stroman did to the Mets. You can’t fault the latter for not being able to predict a worldwide pandemic before making the trade, but as for us bitter Blue Jays fans that are still angry about the Dickey trade from years ago, it’s looking like we’re about to get even.