Last weekend, I invited blog readers to help me clear off my desk by trading me (almost) anything for some trading cards that really don’t fit my collection.
Sam asked for these two cards, non-baseball relics from a recent Allen & Ginter set:
He sent this card, a Josh Thole autograph/relic from 2012 Triple Threads. It’s a cool card and it still has a spot in my collection even though Thole will be calling Toronto or Buffalo home this baseball season. Thanks Sam!
It’s official: the trade between the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays is a done deal.
R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas are headed to Toronto.
Travis D’Arnaud, John Buck, Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra are coming to the Mets.
I hate that the Mets are in a position where trading the reigning Cy Young Award winner makes sense – I’d much rather be thinking about winning the World Series than how many more years until they’ll have a shot to make the playoffs again.
But let’s be clear about something: the New York Mets were not going to the playoffs in 2013 with or without R.A. Dickey. They finished 74-88 this year with him, and were not in a financial position to add enough pieces through the free agent market to substantially improve.
Even if they did have the ability to spend like the Dodgers and decided to overpay Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to play the outfield and got Rafael Soriano and a few other free agent relievers for the bullpen, there’s no guarantee those moves would have made the Mets better than the Nationals and the Braves.
The Mets have been selling a “plan” of waiting until 2014 when the bloated contracts that Omar Minaya gave to Johan Santana and Jason Bay finally expire. But next year’s free agent class is likely to be as disappointing and overpriced as the current one, and there are no legitimate prospects at the upper levels of the farm system besides Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, who doesn’t really have a position now that David Wright is locked up.
So before today’s trade, all we really had to look forward to in 2014 were players who’d be another year older.
By all accounts, Nickeas is a nice guy – I know there’s at least one blogger who’s disappointed by the move. But when he got the chance to play in the major leagues this year, he didn’t hit well enough to convince many that he belonged there. And while defense is clearly the stronger part of Nickeas’ game, it wasn’t good enough to justify a spot on the 40-man roster when there are actual prospects who will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
Nickeas will probably get a fair amount of playing time for the Las Vegas 51s in 2013, and I expect he’ll put up decent numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Should anything happen to the Mets’ major league catchers, I’m sure Nickeas will be the first guy to be called – especially if needing to catch the knuckleball is still a consideration at the time.
But it’s probably time for the 29-year-old Nickeas to start thinking about how he can break into coaching, or what he might like to do when he leaves baseball behind.
The more significant questions surrounding the Mets’ catching situation still remain: is Josh Thole worth the $1.2 million MLB Trade Rumors predicts he’ll earn through arbitration? Will Kelly Shoppach be re-signed? And if not those two, then who?
Since he’s in town this week, here’s a Topps Certified Autograph Issue baseball card of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Rod Barajas from the 2007 Update & Highlights set. Barajas spent most of the 2010 season with the New York Mets before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August to free up playing time for Josh Thole.
While Barajas does appear on a baseball card in the 2010 Topps Update set as a Met, I haven’t been able to get a copy of it signed. This card, Barajas’ only certified autograph issue, is still representing him in my Mets autograph collection.
The veteran relief pitcher joins a list that includes fellow bullpen member Jon Rauch (@jrauch60), starting pitchers Johan Santana (@johansantana) and R.A. Dickey (@RADickey43), infielder Justin Turner (@redturn2), backup catcher candidate Lucas May (@LukedogKC), and potential relief pitchers Garrett Olson (@Oly49), Jeremy Hefner (@JeremyHefner17), Josh Edgin (@joshedgin37), and Chris Schwinden (@CSchwinny). (Neither Olson nor Edgin have been particularly active on Twitter since the beginning of spring training.)
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson also had his own Twitter account (@MetsGM), which received a lot of notoriety before spring training got underway, but he hasn’t used it since February 28th.
Catcher Josh Thole was the first Mets player to embrace Twitter last year, but decided to delete his account last May because he was frustrated with criticism he received from fans. Let’s hope the Mets players who are on Twitter now have better experiences.