Tag: Mike Nickeas

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.

Report: Mets considering trade for Kelly Shoppach

Kelly Shoppach AP

The Mets have reportedly discussed a trade for Rockies’ catcher Ramon Hernandez, but Peter Gammons of MLB Network hears that they are considering alternatives.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last weekend that the Mets are also interested in Mariners’ catcher Miguel Olivo.

If acquired, Shoppach would function as a platoon partner for left-handed hitting Josh Thole. The 32-year-old backstop is hitting .269/.358/.527 with four home runs, 12 RBI and an .885 OPS over 108 plate appearances this season and is still owed roughly half of his $1.35 million salary for 2012. He owns a .902 career OPS against left-handed pitching and would be an immediate improvement over Mike Nickeas, who is hitting just .172 with one home run and a .487 OPS in 93 at-bats this year.

Lavarnway, who made his major league debut last August, is batting .306/.395/.455 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and an .850 OPS in 71 games this season with Triple-A Pawtucket. The 24-year-old has thrown out 32 percent (22-for-68) of attempted basestealers.

The Rockies are mostly motivated to move Hernandez’s salary, so he figures to cost very little in the way of prospects. Shoppach has been a pretty productive platoon partner for Jarrod Saltalamacchia this season, so even with Larvarnway knocking on the door for a promotion, the Red Sox probably won’t move him unless they get something interesting in return.

UPDATE: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that while Shoppach is “definitely” on the Mets’ wish list, they have yet to contact the Red Sox.

Prince Fielder wins his second Home Run Derby crown

Prince Fielder Getty

We made it, you guys.

Another Home Run Derby is in the rear view mirror, as Prince Fielder defeated Jose Bautista in the finals tonight to take home this year’s crown. It was Fielder’s second Home Run Derby win, the other coming back in 2009 in St. Louis. Ken Griffey, Jr., who won in 1994, 1998 and 1999, is the only other player who has won the competition more than once. Yes, they apparently keep records of this stuff.

Fielder slugged a total of 28 homers on the night, including five in the first round, 11 in the second round and 12 in the finals. Plenty of fountain splashes were had. Fielder’s 12 homers in the final round actually tied Robinson Cano’s final-round record from last year. He also had the longest blast of the night, checking in at 476 feet.

Bautista, who advanced by defeating Mark Trumbo in a swing-off, managed seven homers in the finals. He had 20 overall, including a first-round best of 11.

The National League was suffering from a serious lack of Giancarlo Stanton and it showed in the final tally, as they were crushed 61-21. NL captain Matt Kemp hit one only home run while Carlos Beltran was the only member of the squad to advance to the second round.

While the AL cruised to victory, they didn’t get any help from their captain Cano. He ended up with a goose egg, much to the delight of the Kauffman Stadium faithful. You see, the home crowd was upset that Cano didn’t pick Billy Butler for his squad. And they really let him have it. Almost uncomfortably so.

This is actually the second straight year that the home fans booed one of the Home Run Derby participants, as the Fielder was jeered by the Chase Field crowd last year for not picking Justin Upton. Next year the All-Star Game takes place at Citi Field, so expect lots of disappointment when Mike Nickeas isn’t chosen to participate.

Mets get catcher Josh Thole back after concussion

Josh Thole Getty
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Josh Thole is back from the disabled list, returning to the Mets after missing the past 22 games with a concussion from a home plate collision on May 7.

To make room for Thole on the roster the Mets demoted Rob Johnson to Triple-A, choosing to stick with Mike Nickeas as their backup despite his lowly .169 batting average in 50 career games.

Prior to the concussion Thole hit .284 with a .356 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 26 games to essentially duplicate his solid career numbers. He lacks power, but few catchers can match his on-base skills and Thole has also thrown out 26 percent of steal attempts.

Johan Santana dominates Padres for first shutout since 2010

Johan Santana Getty

It’s safe to say that Johan Santana is back.

In an effort which was both dominant and efficient, Santana tossed a four hit-shutout this afternoon at Citi Field as part of a 9-0 victory over the light-hitting Padres. All four hits he gave up were singles and he threw 74 out of 96 pitches for strikes. He struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk.

Santana has been the victim of low run support this season, but that wasn’t an issue for him today. The Mets scored four runs off Clayton Richard in the first inning on homers from Scott Hairston and Vinny Rottino and tacked on five more in the ninth inning against former Met Dale Thayer, including a grand slam by Mike Nickeas.

This was the ninth shutout of Santana’s career and his first since August 10, 2010 against the Rockies. Sure, the Padres are one of the worst offensive teams in the sport, but today’s outing was an important benchmark for someone who missed all of last season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The 33-year-old southpaw hadn’t lasted longer than seven innings in any of his previous nine starts this year.

While Santana’s velocity isn’t what it was prior to surgery, he has an outstanding 2.75 ERA and 60/16 K/BB ratio over 59 innings this season. That’ll work.