Dickey hopes trade helps Blue Jays, Mets
Knuckleballer discusses his New York exit following move to Toronto
NEW YORK -- R.A. Dickey put his Mets tenure behind him Tuesday, when he joined a conference call with the media to discuss his recent trade and contract extension with the Blue Jays. Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award winner, was by turns wistful about his past and excited for the future.
"Everybody wants to say, 'Who got the better trade?'" said Dickey of switching uniforms. "Truthfully, I hope it's a great trade for both organizations. Hopefully we win a World Series or two and the kids that they get from Toronto end up being good, useful players for the New York Mets."
Dickey, in a transaction completed Monday, was traded to Toronto along with knuckleball-friendly catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in exchange for John Buck, catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard and low-level outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.
The capper on the trade was a new three-year contract worth $29 million for Dickey, who had been in negotiations with the Mets for an extension prior to being dealt. The right-hander said that he had hoped to stay with the Mets, but he always knew a trade elsewhere was a possibility.
"I can't say that I was really surprised," said Dickey. "I knew that when the offers started coming in in negotiation with the Mets, I figured we'd be in for a longer negotiation. And the longer it goes, the more doubt kind of kicks into your mind about, 'Are they serious? Is this something they really want to do?'
"... I'm not really sure if it was all their strategy or if they really did have an intention to sign me from the beginning. It's just like all things: I think it grew into this. They started seeing how they might not be able to pay what I was asking for, and they saw they could get some good players in return."
Dickey is just the sixth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award and open the next season with a new team, and he'll have the luxury of throwing to two familiar catchers. The 38-year-old will have Thole and Nickeas in Spring Training, and he'll try to get on the same page with holdover J.P. Arencibia.
"Josh really brings, for me, a real comfort level," Dickey said. "He knows me, so instantly he knows how I like to work. I like to work very quickly. ... He knows mechanically what to look for and if the ball is moving a certain way. He gives me feedback that I can then take and apply in the moment."
d'Arnaud is the centerpiece of the deal for the Mets, and he batted .333 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 67 games for Triple-A Las Vegas last season. Syndergaard, another highly regarded prospect, worked to an 8-5 record and a 2.60 ERA in 27 games for Class A Lansing.
Dickey was asked about the circumstances of his exit from New York. He said that anyone with questions about whether he was a bad teammate should just ask the players he played with, and he gave a detailed answer about the way a late interview with the New York media was construed.
Dickey had been approached by reporters at the Mets' holiday party last week, and he used the forum to speak about his ongoing contract negotiations. The veteran said Tuesday that he did not mean to overtake the event with his message and that he had not planned to address the issue at all.
"I wasn't aware that I was going to be put in that position, so I didn't have a conversation with anybody about what was going to happen," he said. "My emotions and my feelings were warranted, but at the same time, that was the wrong place to do it. That was an unfortunate situation."
Dickey, who posted a 20-6 record and a 2.73 ERA last year and a 39-28 record and a 2.95 mark in three years with the Mets, is putting that whole situation behind him. Now, he's fixated on moving to a new team and a new league and on doing whatever he has to do to remain competitive.
The Mets, said Dickey, will always be a special team for him. He had a chance to reshape his life and his career for the better, and he said he'd never forget his years with New York.
"I had a proverbial home there," Dickey said. "I had a home amongst fans and I had a home amongst the organization, and I had a lot of success there. I think it's important that I be sad about that for a moment before I move on to the next feeling. And that next feeling has already arrived for me.
"I grieved when I needed to grieve, and now I'm so excited -- I can't tell you how excited I am to be part of an organization that's committed to winning and putting a product on the field the fans can be excited about coming out to support. Quality guys in the clubhouse.
"A lot of guys say those things in Spring Training and the beginning of August, but I think in this particular case, the reason it feels so good is that it's true. You don't feel that you're trying to convince yourself of the things that you're saying."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.