Author: Matthew Pouliot

R.A. Dickey, Travis d'Arnaud

Blue Jays, Mets finalize seven-player R.A. Dickey trade


R.A. Dickey passed his physical, clearing the final hurdle for his trade to Toronto. Here’s the official transaction:

Blue Jays acquire RHP R.A. Dickey, C Josh Thole and C Mike Nickeas from the Mets for C Travis d’Arnaud, C John Buck, RHP Noah Syndergaard and OF Wuilmer Becerra.

The final two names — those of Nickeas and Becerras — were just revealed today, and that part of the swap certainly favors the Mets. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Nickeas is strictly a third catcher; he’ll be called up to serve as a backup in the event of an injury to J.A. Arrencibia or Thole. Becerra has no track record to speak of — he played in just 11 games in his pro debut last season before getting drilled in the face and suffering a broken jaw — but he’s just 18 and he was a big signing out of Venezuela in 2011.

We also learned that there’s no cash in the deal, meaning that the Mets thought it was worth taking on Buck’s entire salary to get both d’Arnaud and Syndergaard in the deal. Buck was actually slated to be the most expensive player in the deal for 2013; he’s due $6 million, while Dickey was set to make $5 million. However, Dickey will be receiving a bit more now after agreeing to an extension as part of the deal.

That extension rips up Dickey’s previous deal, replacing it with a three-year, $29 million contract that includes a $12 million team option for 2016. It’s a bargain for a reigning Cy Young winner. For comparison’s sake, Zack Greinke will average $24.5 million per season as part of his six-year deal with the Dodgers.

Dickey will head a Toronto rotation also set to include Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Thole will likely serve as the knuckleballer’s personal catcher, with Arencibia handling the rest of the staff.

The Mets, obviously, get less help for 2013. While d’Arnaud may get a chance to compete for a starting job in spring training, expectations are that he’ll spend a couple of months in Triple-A to start the year, pushing back his free agency clock. The Mets will likely go with Buck as a starter and sign a cheap backup, hoping that Buck plays well enough to give himself a little trade value come June or July.

Still, if the Mets felt that had to trade Dickey (though they most certainly didn’t), this isn’t a bad return at all. D’Arnaud has All-Star potential and should be a solid regular at worst. Syndergaard, a 2010 supplemental first-round pick, is one of the game’s top 25 pitching prospects. He’ll open 2013 in high-A ball and perhaps contribute in 2014. Becerra is a lottery ticket.

The Jays are now the obvious favorites in the AL East, barring a surprise blitz from the Yankees. There are still some question marks in the bullpen, but the lineup could challenge for the AL lead in runs and the rotation is as talented as any in the league.

A’s sign Hiroyuki Nakajima for two years, $6.5 million

Hiroyuki Nakajima

The A’s moved quickly on to their backup plan after losing out on Stephen Drew, signing import Hiroyuki Nakajima to take over at shortstop, according to’s Ken Rosenthal and others. The San Francisco Chronice’s Susan Slusser reports that it’s a two-year, $6.5 million deal with a $5.5 million option for 2015.

Nakajima, 30, hit .311/.382/.451 with 13 homers and 74 RBI for the Seibu Lions last season, finishing second in the Pacific League in both average and OBP. He was fourth in slugging percentage.

The Lions originally posted Nakajima last winter, with the Yankees winning his rights, but he opted to return to Japan for another year rather than accept a modest offer and a utility role in New York. He was a free agent this time around.

Nakajima’s signing should complete a flexible A’s lineup, which might look something like this:

LF Coco Crisp – S
CF Chris Young – R
DH Yoenis Cespedes – R
RF Josh Reddick – L
3B Josh Donaldson – R
1B Brandon Moss – L
C Derek Norris – R/George Kottaras – L
SS Hiroyuki Nakajima – R
2B Jemile Weeks – S/Scott Sizemore – R

Alternatively, Nakajima or Weeks could hit second and bump Young down to fifth if either impresses in spring training. Also, there will be plenty of movement around the outfield, with Cespedes getting lots of starts there, and Seth Smith is still around as a DH against right-handers.

Sorry, misplaced anger, feel free to move along

John McGrath

Ummm… nevermind. While McGrath’s column made it sound like Mattingly and Murphy were his only choices, he states in the comments that he actually submitted a 10-man ballot.


Taking the Hall of Upstanding Citizens standard to a new plateau is the Tacoma News Tribune’s John McGrath. Faced with the burden of being a guardian to Cooperstown, he submitted a two-man Hall of Fame ballot of Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy.

Of course, he spends most of his column writing about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa and never provides any sort of reasoning for why Mattingly and Murphy, two of the ballots weakest holdovers, are more deserving than contemporaries Fred McGriff, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, not to mention a local favorite like Edgar Martinez.

Well, maybe there’s some reasoning:

I’m prepared to select as many as 10 players on my ballot whose achievements did not mock the notion of integrity, sportsmanship and character. The headache is part of the bargain. It won’t kill me.

You read it here first: Edgar Martinez, mocker of integrity. And that elbow pad Craig Biggio wore wasn’t very sporting at all. As for character? Well, Larry Walker had none of that.
Just do us all a favor and tear up your ballot next time, John. It’s obviously nothing more to you than an excuse for a cheap column.

Twins set to sign Mike Pelfrey for $4 million

Mike Pelfrey
19 Comments’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Twins and Mike Pelfrey have come to terms on a one-year deal worth $4 million.

The deal includes $1.5 million in incentives for the rehabbing right-hander.

The soon-to-be 29-year-old Pelfrey had a 2.29 ERA in three starts for the Mets last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 2010, but he slipped to 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 2011. The Mets non-tendered him earlier this month rather than pay him $5 million-$6 million in arbitration.

Once healthy, Pelfrey will join fellow National League imports Vance Worley and Kevin Correia in a rotation that has just one sure returnee in Scott Diamond. The Twins could also add one more veteran to compete with holdovers Nick Blackburn, Liam Hendriks and Cole De Vries for an opening.

The gamble on Pelfrey is interesting, considering that the Twins let the similarly positioned Scott Baker go to the Cubs in free agency earlier this winter. Baker, likewise rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, signed for $5.5 million, plus incentives. And unlike Pelfrey, Baker has already proven he can cut it in the AL. The Twins got burnt last year by Jason Marquis, who had no AL experience and was roasted to the turn of an 8.47 ERA in seven starts before earning his release.

Phillies and Mike Adams agree to two-year, $12 million contract

Mike Adams

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies and Mike Adams have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract, pending a physical. The deal includes a vesting option for 2015.

1:54 AM: Mike Adams won’t get a chance to close after finding himself in free agency for the first time, but he will get closer-type money to set up for Jonathan Papelbon in Philadelphia.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, the Phillies and Adams are close to a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2015. Citing family sources, KRIS-TV reported earlier that it’d be a three-year, $18 million pact, and while that doesn’t seem quite correct, the dollars are probably about right.

Adams, long one of the game’s best setup men, had a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers last season. He allowed just one homer all year until his last appearance, when he gave up three, and then he was shut down the next day because of thoracic outlet syndrome. The condition required surgery, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training.

Having Adams available to work the eighth will take some pressure off young Phillies relievers such as Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman. With Adams likely making $6 million per year and Papelbon earning $12.5 million, the Phillies will have one of the game’s most expensive bullpens. Fortunately, they’ll make up for it by having one of the cheapest outfields after trading Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino last summer and acquiring Ben Revere to take over in center.