NEW YORK — In 2010, when the Mets signed journeyman R.A. Dickey to a minor-league contract, they had essentially purchased a lottery ticket. In each case, the odds of hitting the jackpot seemed equally astronomical.
But nearly three years later, the Mets cashed in on their winning ticket, agreeing in principle yesterday to send Dickey to the Blue Jays as the center of a package that return two highly regarded prospects. According to Foxsports.com, which reported the trade, Dickey must first consent to a contract extension with Toronto for the deal to become final.
The pitcher and his representatives have until Tuesday at 2 p.m. to agree to the extension, according to the report.
Both sides win, one rival executive said of the trade, which is centered around Dickey and Blue Jays catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, according to a person with knowledge of the talks.
The Mets will also receive highly regarded pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, catcher John Buck and another prospect, according to multiple reports, while the Blue Jays will receive Dickey, catcher Josh Thole and another prospect.
For a time, the Mets and Dickey had held out hopes for an extension to keep the 38-year-old in New York. A source said Dickey asked for a two-year, $26-million extension to take effect following the 2013 season. Considering the exploding market for starting pitchers, industry insiders considered Dickey's request to be modest by comparison—a reflection perhaps of his desire to remain with the Mets.
But the Mets refused to move past an offer of two years for $20 million. Dickey aired his frustrations regarding the progress of talks, irking the Mets in the process. Soon, the club had channeled its focused on exploring a trade, leading them to the brink of swinging a deal with the Blue Jays.
It is unclear whether Dickey will increase his demands to get closer to market value during his talks with the Blue Jays, who view Dickey as the latest piece to a stunning roster overhaul designed to put Toronto in the driver's seat of the AL East.
For the Mets, the trade represents the latest step in a methodical rebuilding project by general manager Sandy Alderson. The deal holds its reported form, Alderson will have successfully flipped Dickey for arguably the two best prospects in the Blue Jays' system.
D'Arnaud , 23 is regarded as major league ready at catcher. Syndergaard, 20, boasts a power fastball that has scouts projecting a high ceiling for his ability. The righthander posted a 2.60 ERA in Low-A Lansing and could be in the rotation with the likes of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese as soon as 2014.
But before the Mets can bask in that bright future, they must accept a bumpy present. With Dickey, the Mets finished 74-88 and finished fourth in the NL East. Without him, their prospects of improving on that mark appear bleak.
According to CBS sports.com, Mike Pelfrey has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins. The righthander was non-tendered by the Mets.