Mets on verge of trading R.A. Dickey to Blue Jays

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SUNDAY, 2:09 PM: The seven-player trade has been agreed to in principle. Bang it HERE for more.

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SATURDAY, 9:45 PM: Sherman says the trade, as it now stands, will send Dickey, Thole and a non-elite prospect to the Blue Jays for d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, Buck and a non-elite prospect. Sherman guesses that the swap might not be finalized until Monday.

6:58 PM: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York heard from an “in-the-know” source that a resolution might not happen on Saturday night. It seems likely that talks will trail into Sunday.

3:04 PM: Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that as of this morning, seven players were involved in the deal, including four coming to the Mets and three going to the Blue Jays.

Puma hears that the Jays want a catcher back and speculates that Josh Thole could be involved. He has a rapport with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, so that would make sense. If that happens, it’s possible the Mets could take John Buck in the deal.

Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger hears that Blue Jays prospect right-handers Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez have also been discussed. Those are two impressive prospects, so this deal could get a little crazy.

2:54 PM: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Mets and Blue Jays are “inching toward the finish line” on the deal. Some players’ medicals have been reviewed and OK’d, but there’s still work to be done. R.A. Dickey and Travis d’Arnaud are the centerpieces of the deal, but still no word on the other players involved.

12:55 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Mets rejected a package of Gose and Arencibia. The two sides have since agreed on d’Arnaud as the center piece in a deal for Dickey, but they are currently trying to finalize the last piece. Assuming they can agree on the other players in the deal, it’s now thought that Dickey is willing to talk about an extension.

11:42 AM: Hold the phone. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Anthony Gose is NOT part of the trade talks for R.A. Dickey. However, Travis d’Arnaud is.

11:19 AM: Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that if the Blue Jays are to include d’Arnaud and Gose, they need to have Dickey signed to a two-year extension and receive a top prospect from the Mets.

9:30 AM: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News confirms that the Blue Jays are willing to offer d’Arnaud and Gose in a trade for Dickey. We’re still awaiting word on the other players involved.

8:15 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that the Mets and Blue Jays have reached agreement on the players involved. No word yet on the full scope of the trade.

Meanwhile, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Blue Jays have been looking at the medicals on Dickey since at least yesterday afternoon. It’s yet another indication that a deal is close to being finalized.

1:27 AM: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Mets and Blue Jays are “on the verge” of a trade that would send Dickey to Toronto and d’Arnaud to New York. The teams are currently looking at medicals, so it sounds pretty close.

As Rosenthal mentioned earlier, Passan hears that more players are involved in the deal.

11:55 PM, Friday: Rosenthal and his colleague, Jon Paul Morosi, are reporting on FOXSports.com that Gose is likely to be included in the deal while the Mets are also expected to receive either d’Arnaud or Arencibia. As Rosenthal noted earlier, if d’Arnaud is included, the deal is likely to be expanded.

11:36 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms that d’Arnaud is “very much in play” in trade talks for Dickey. However, he notes that the deal would be bigger, with multiple pieces going both ways.

You may recall that the trade talks between the Marlins and Blue Jays began with Josh Johnson and morphed into something much larger. While it’s unlikely 12 players will be involved this time, it probably won’t be a simple swap.

10:30 PM: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News was told by “a person with direct knowledge of the discussions” that during the Winter Meetings, d’Arnaud was a “must have” for the Mets to do a trade with the Blue Jays. Toronto resisted at the time, but a person involved in the potential trade has expressed a “gut feeling” that d’Arnaud may be involved. Again, nothing confirmed.

Contrary to earlier reports, Martino hears that Dickey is willing to sign a contract extension if he’s traded to the Blue Jays. This could have a major impact on the return package.

8:00 PM: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that the Mets may be getting prospect catcher Travis d’Arnaud back from the Blue Jays, though he cautions that the information is unconfirmed. However, he was discussed “heavily” in trade talks along with fellow catcher J.P. Arencibia.

6:07 PM: Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was told by “two people involved” to not expect resolution with Dickey tonight. Things could always change, but it appears he’ll remain with the Mets for at least one more day.

5:45 PM: FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Mets and Blue Jays have made progress on a possible trade involving Dickey. However, it’s not a done deal yet.

Also, updating a previous story by Joel Sherman, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that reports suggesting Dickey wouldn’t sign a contract extension with the Jays are false.

4:29 PM: Jon Heyman is hearing that the players coming back from Toronto — assuming a deal can get done — are J.P. Arencibia and Anthony Gose, though that may just be speculation, as those two have been talked about in trades involving the Blue Jays for some time. And let’s keep in mind that this is all fluid and depend on Dickey being willing to sign an extension. We think. As we learned with the Shin-Soo Choo trade earlier this week, early reports may only be capturing part of the story.

Rosenthal says the Rangers are OUT on Dickey.

4:05 PM: Joel Sherman reports that the Mets and Blue Jays are far along in trade talks for Dickey — and a deal could be close — but that things are being held up by Dickey’s refusal to agree to sign a contract extension with Toronto. Now, he needn’t sign off on the trade — he has no no-trade protection — but obviously the Jays would be far more willing to give up real value to the Mets if they can lock up Dickey for what will, presumably, be three years instead of just 2013.

Updates, obviously, as warranted.

3:30 PM: In case you didn’t think that the Mets were serious about trading R.A. Dickey:

The Rangers have been talked about as a possible trade partner with the Mets for a couple of days. The Jays and Orioles, not so much.

Crowd honors Jose Bautista in his last Blue Jays home game

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Jose Bautista ran onto the field on Sunday afternoon, alone, in what was likely his last hurrah as a Blue Jays player. The 36-year-old outfielder signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the club prior to the 2017 season and is not expected to get his $17 million option picked up for 2018. During Sunday’s series finale, he got a fond farewell befitting a decade-long career as one of Toronto’s most prolific hitters, drawing standing ovations every time he stepped up to the plate.

The Blue Jays came out swinging against the Yankees, building an eight-run lead on Teoscar Hernandez’s first-inning home run and a smattering of hits and productive outs from Darwin Barney, Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales. Bautista supplemented the drive with his own RBI single in the fourth inning, plating Hernandez on an 0-2 fastball from reliever Bryan Mitchell.

Later in the inning, he nearly scored a second run on a Kendrys Morales two-RBI single, but was caught at the plate on the relay by Starlin Castro.

It’s an encouraging end to what has overwhelmingly been a disappointing season for the Toronto slugger. Entering Sunday’s finale, he slashed .201/.309/.365 with a franchise single-season record 161 strikeouts in 658 plate appearances, numbers that somewhat obscure the six straight All-Star nominations, four MVP bids and 54-homer campaign he once enjoyed with the team. Even a bounce-back performance in 2018 likely wouldn’t command a $17 million salary, but there’s no denying his impact on the Blue Jays’ last 10 years, from his signature bat flip to his tie-breaking home run in the 2015 ALDS.

The Blue Jays currently lead the Yankees 9-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Expect a few more standing O’s before the end of the game.

Why more baseball players don’t kneel

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Bruce Maxwell was the first baseball player to kneel for the National Anthem. There may be others who do so, but I don’t suspect many will. Indeed, I’m pretty confident that the protests we’re seeing in the NFL today, and will see more of once basketball season begins, will not become a major thing in baseball.

Some will say it’s because baseball or baseball players are more patriotic or something, but I don’t think that’s it. Yes, baseball is a lot whiter and has a lot of conservative players who would never think to protest during the National Anthem or, for that matter, protest anything at all, but I suspect there are many who saw what Colin Kaepernick and other football players have done — or who have listened to what Steph Curry and LeBron James have said — and agreed with it. Yet I do not think many, if any of them will themselves protest.

Why? I think it mostly comes down to baseball’s culture of conformity.

Almost everyone in baseball comes through a hierarchy. Even the big names. Even if you are the consensus number one pick, you do your time in the minors. Once there, conformity and humility is drilled into you. This happens both affirmatively, in the form of coaches telling you to act in a certain way and passively, by virtue of all players being in similar, humbling circumstances. Bus rides, cheap hotels, etc. In that world, even if you are ten times better and ten times richer than your teammates, you fall in with the crowd because doing otherwise would be socially disruptive.

The very socialization of a baseball player is dependent upon them learning to talk, walk and carry themselves like all those who came before. No one is given special treatment. In the rare cases they are, it’s head-turning. Bryce Harper was a more or less normal minor leaguer, but since he got their earlier by bypassing his final years of high school, he was thrown at and challenged in ways no other minor league stars are. It does not take much for a guy to be singled out for punishment or mockery and even the superstars like Harper are not on solid professional ground as long as they’re still in the minors. Indeed, between a player’s education, as it were, in the minors and their pre-free agency residency in the majors, it can be a decade or more before a unique personality or a true showman is able to shine through, and by then few are willing. They’ve been conditioned by that point.

Even budding superstars can be roundly criticized for the tiniest of perceived transgressions or the most modest displays of individuality. Think about all of the “controversies” we have about the proper way to celebrate a home run or run the bases. If that’s a cause for singling out and, potentially, benching or being traded or being given a shorter leash, imagine the guts a baseball player has to have in order to do something like take a knee during the National Anthem. A guy with multiple MVP Awards would likely be in an uncomfortable spotlight over such a thing, so imagine how brave someone like Bruce Maxwell, who has barely 100 games under his belt, has to be to have done it.

CC Sabathia, a 17-year veteran, spoke out yesterday, but I suspect he won’t kneel for the National Anthem when he lines up with his teammates before the Wild Card game next week. Other ballplayers will likely wade into the fray in the coming days. But I suspect baseball’s very nature — it’s very culture — will keep ballplayers from following in the footsteps of the many NFL players who took a knee today.