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Dickey trade is a necessary gamble for the Mets’ future

It’s official: the trade between the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays is a done deal.

R.A. Dickey (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
R.A. Dickey (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas are headed to Toronto.

Travis D’ArnaudJohn BuckNoah 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.

Continue reading “Dickey trade is a necessary gamble for the Mets’ future”

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Mets remove Nickeas from 40-man roster


Mike Nickeas takes batting practice before a game at Citi Field in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets have removed backup catcher Mike Nickeas from the 40-man roster. He cleared waivers and accepted a minor league assignment.

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?

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Scratch one Mets catching option

Third-string backup catcher Rob Johnson opted for free agency after being removed from the Mets’ 40-man roster, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reported today.

Kelly Shoppach
Kelly Shoppach, seen here in a 2011 photo taken by Keith Allison, may not have impressed the Mets front office enough during his time in New York this season.

Johnson appeared in 17 major league games, where he batted .250 (13-for-52) with two doubles and four RBI. He missed the end of the season with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Johnson’s biggest virtue was that he was not Mike Nickeas. And while I’m sure Mr. Nickeas is a very pleasant and hard-working individual, he’s shown very few signs of being a capable major league hitter.

The more interesting item in Rubin’s story is this:

The Mets will consider re-signing [Kelly] Shoppach because his likely 2013 salary would match the organization’s spending capability, but team officials were not enamored with Shoppach and are first expected to investigate other options.

So, who would you like to see Sandy Alderson bring in to handle the catching duties in 2013?

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Re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship

Mike Nickeas is the latest New York Met to be banished to Buffalo (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets completed their first 0-6 homestand in ten years on Wednesday afternoon.They now trail the Washington Nationals by 11.5 games, they’re 7 games out in the wild card race, and they’re 4 games under .500.

The Mets have a 4-15 record in July, and are just two games ahead of the Miami Marlins, who went into rebuilding mode this week.

While the Marlins are trading players that don’t fit into their current plans for others who may be able to help in the future and the Phillies locked up a key potential free agent, the Mets also made a move Wednesday.

GM Sandy Alderson optioned backup catcher Mike Nickeas to Buffalo and replaced him with Bisons’ catcher Rob Johnson. I’m sure that will stop the losing streak.

(In all seriousness, if the backup catcher swap was done to make sure Matt Harvey gets to pitch to someone he’s familiar with in his Major League Debut tomorrow, I’m on board. If not, it seems pretty pointless.)

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Non-tender day news bites

Signed 2011 Topps Mike Nickeas card from my collection

A few news items from Mets-land, before we get to some fun old photos and baseball cards later today.

  • New York Times writers Michael S. Schmidt and Richard Sandomir report that the Mets received a $40 million “bridge loan” in the past six weeks. Ownership continues to express optimism about the ongoing process of selling $20 million minority shares in the team, but I wonder how many multi-millionaires would be interested in sinking money into the team without gaining any input into its operations.
  • Yesterday was the deadline to tender contracts to unsigned players on the 40-man roster. The Mets opted to non-tender backup catcher Ronny Paulino and reserve outfielder Mike Baxter. Mike Nickeas is now the front-runner to share catching duties with Josh Thole. I can think of one blogger who should be absolutely thrilled 🙂
  • The Mets claimed minor league pitcher Jeremy Hefner off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and signed pitcher Garrett Olson and catcher Lucas May to minor league contracts. Olson has major league experience with the Orioles, Mariners and Pirates, but I expect these additions are mostly about adding organizational depth.