The New York Mets have yet to experience anything close to the full effects of their trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last offseason, but it’s already clear that they are winners in the trade that involved last year’s National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.
The only player that the Mets acquired in that trade who has made an impact this season is catcher John Buck, who was far from the Mets’ main target in the trade. Buck has been far more than just a fill in this season, as he is third on the Mets in home runs and second in RBI, which is far more than they expected to get out of him.
While Buck has been a pleasant surprise, the real prizes from the trade will be prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. Having just made his big league debut, d’Arnaud is the Mets’ catcher in the future, and for the past couple of years has been considered the top catching prospect in baseball who has the potential to be a perennial All-Star. Although he has been injured much of the season, he should be ready to be the Mets everyday catcher by the start of the 2014 season, when the trade for him will really start to pay off.
As for Syndergaard, he is undoubtedly the Mets’ top pitching prospect now that Zack Wheeler has solidified a spot in the starting rotation. Syndergaard has developed even faster than the Mets expected him to when they acquired him. He has been dominant since receiving a mid-season promotion to double-A, and not only will he be ranked among the top-10 prospects in all of MLB this offseason, but he is on pace to be in the majors at some point during the 2014 season.
As for the Blue Jays, they have not gotten out of the trade what they were expecting, or even hoping to get out of it. Dickey has been able to shake off a rough start, but he has not retained the Cy Young form he had last season and has not been the dominant starter that Toronto thought they were acquiring.
The other players in the trade, catchers Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole, have been nothing but disappointments. Nickeas has spent the entire season in triple-A, where he is hitting well below .200. Thole has just 12 hits for the Blue Jays this season in 31 games played, contributing very little.
Essentially, the Blue Jays received an average starting pitcher and gave up an average catcher and two elite prospects. Even if the trade were to be judged only by major league contributions this season, the Mets could be considered winners, as Buck has been a solid catcher and one of their more productive hitters, while Dickey has been nothing too special.
The real benefit of this trade for the Mets will come in 2014 and beyond when d’Arnaud and Synergaard become important pieces of what could be a contending team. The Blue Jays took a risk with this trade with the hopes for short-term success and failed, while the Mets set themselves up for long-term success with it. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson already deserves a lot of credit for pulling off this trade, and the best is yet to come.