North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

Posts Tagged ‘New York Mets

Dickey Trade: Are the Mets Raiding the Jays Cupboard?

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I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about the Jays minor league ties. I know who Travis d’Arnaud is (even drafted him in a keeper league last spring) and I’m a fan of Moises Sierra, but once I get any deeper than them, I’m hopelessly out of my element. This is why I’m not sure how to parse the proposed trade for RA Dickey.

The trade as it stands rumoured: Toronto gets Dickey, the NY Mets get d’Arnaud and pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. Dickey is coming off a 20-win, 2.73 ERA, Cy Young-winning season. He posted career bests in ERA, WHIP (1.053) and K/BB (4.26). He’ll be a free agent next year and while his value has never been higher, he’ll cost the Jays just $5 million in salary next year. By any stretch, he’s a bargain.

But to get him, Toronto has to trade two of its most highly touted prospects. D’Arnaud has long been called their catcher of the future and their best prospect. Coming in just behind him on the Baseball America rankings is Syndergaard, not only their highest-rated pitching prospect, but a projected number-one starter in a few seasons time. Last season, pitching in AA  A-level Lansing, Syndergaard went 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.080 WHIP. He was one of the team’s best pitchers.

The question then looks something like this: is it worth getting a top-flight pitcher, just coming into his own, for two highly rated prospects. On a macro level, it seems a fair enough trade to me: the 2013 Jays rotation is formable (Ricky Romero, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Dickey and probably JA Happ in some order) and while it maybe hurts down the line, this year’s team looks all the better. But it’s not exactly that simple.

After this season, Dickey is a free agent. As a Cy Young winning pitcher just coming off his best seasons yet, he’s bound to get a huge jump in salary. The Jays could try to sign him to an extension, but it’s hard to blame him for cashing in on a career highlights. Another wrinkle is his age: Dickey is 38 years old. True, he relies on knuckleballs and probably has a few years left in him (Tim Wakefield pitched until he was 44) but it’s fair to wonder if he’ll still put up as good numbers in a few seasons. Wakefield was still pitching well into his late 30s (his 2005 season, when he was 38, has his second-best WAR) but his last few seasons were pretty rough.

There’s more wrinkles, too. There’s d’Arnaud’s knees: he missed most of last season after blowing out his knee last June. Going forward, will his knees be an issue? Will he be able to spend most of the season crouching behind the plate or will he end up DHing/playing first (as was an alleged plan if the Jays couldn’t fit him behind Arencebia and Buck) for most of his career?

It seems the trade is best broken down like this: A Cy Young-winning pitcher who’s old, but probably has a few good seasons left in him, for two unproven (but highly touted) prospects, one of whom is getting over a serious knee injury. Again, seems fair to me. I’d rather see Toronto make a run at this year’s postseason with a deep roster than wait and constantly be a few players and a few wins short.

For what it’s worth, maybe the best measure of this trade is what’s happening online: Jays fans are freaking out online and in the comment sections of blogs, saying the team is giving up too much. And over at Mets blogs and the like, fans are saying the Mets aren’t getting enough! If both sides are saying the other is ripping them off, well, that seems as good a sign as any that this trade is pretty even.

Written by M.

December 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Craig Anderson’s shutout, the best baseball game ever, TSN2 and more – collected notes from the weekend

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Certainly a great weekend for sports. The opening rounds of both the NBA and NHL playoffs, two classic baseball games and a fun media meltdown – not to mention the NFL draft, too. Good times all around.

Rather then pump out some Simmon-derived column thats 23,000 words and much longer then anything I expect anybody to read, here’s some loose thoughts on the weekend that was.

– Text from my friend Katy on Saturday night: “This is the best game ever.”

My goodness, was that Mets/Cards marathon on Saturday something. 20 innings, pitching by an outfielder, no scoring for over six hours and all on national TV. Awesome stuff.

I think it was Chuck Klosterman who wrote that baseball’s appeal is how it disregards time and goes at it’s own pace. That match – marathon seems like an apt description – certainly did. An obvious point – at 20 innings, it was more then two full games of baseball, being played in April, before the games really matter a whole lot. Seeing a game last seven hours in the playoffs is one thing – my dad still talks about watching the entirety of a four-overtime Islanders/Captials game in the late 80s – but in a regular season game this early in the season? You gotta love baseball.

You have to love just how they handle extra innings, the pure simplicity of how they just keep going until something happens. It’s not like it is in basketball, where the flow and ebb does it’s best to force the game to conclude, or in football or hockey, where a single misstep can cause something to end. It’s awesome. Saturday’s game was a blast to watch.

– While I’m on the topic of extra time (and miscues), Sunday’s game between the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks was also something. Let me dust off some cliches to describe Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson‘s shutout: he stood on his head; he was unconscious; you couldn’t shoot it past him with a cannon. Those aren’t just empty words, though.

For what seemed like the vast majority of the third period, Anderson was the focal point of the night. The puck, the Sharks and the TV cameras all seemed to be to in his end, right in front of his crease. He was pounded by shots, probably far more then the 51 saves he was credited with, thanks to a great defence in front of him; there was more then a few times where he was out of position and somebody got down to block the shot, or knocked a loose puck away.

A shutout is almost of the same streak of luck as a no-hitter. A pitcher can dominate and strike out 15, 16 batters, come away with a win but still give up a hit here and there. The rest of the team pitches in too, making a key play here or there. Anderson got some of that help, some of that luck.

In a way, the Sharks constant forechecking helped him out too. While the play was focused in his end, it didn’t seem like a constant attack on him; the Sharks took a shot here, maybe a rebound and the Avs would clear down the ice and it would begin again. He wasn’t constantly being tested, making great saves all the time, just having to make a few here and there.

It also helped the Avs offence, too. Nabakov, in net for the Sharks, seemingly left all by his lonesome, went cold. Half of the time the puck was cleared, it seemed, it went right at Nabakov, who had a hell of a time controlling the puck. When he did get shot at by Colorado, he would give up big rebounds and seemed a step slow. The winning goal, scored on a bizzare clearing attempt, was an ideal example of the Sharks play.

Somebody likened the game to Ali/Foreman. I disagreed at the time, but I can kind of see it now. The Sharks, with thei constant presence on offence, might not have wore themselves out, but frustrated themselves. They couldn’t score, couldn’t solve Anderson and started making frustrated moves. One of the first things I remember being taught in house league hockey was never to put the puck in front of your own net. Why Dan Boyle threw the puck in the direction of his own net, I’ll never know. But a fair guess is that he wasn’t thinking. Frustration tends to do that.

– Speaking of frustration, I’m finding that finding the NBA playoffs is a frustrating experience. Thanks to the second TSN and Raptors TV having a fair share of opening round games and Rogers Sportsnet ceasing coverage a couple seasons ago, a bunch of games are on channels that I don’t get. Nitpicky, I know.

But it represents where sports television seems to be going. An all-encompassing network like TSN seems to be going away slowly, as they start to move to the bigger draws. I once wrote, tongue in cheek, that TSN2 would kill basketball in Canada. It’s probably going to be it’s salvation, actually.

If TSN continues to use it’s two networks to specialize, it can cease being a general network and move to being something that caters to certain audiences. Think of how MSNBC and FOX each report on the same basis events, but do it in ways that two different groups want to see. Think of how CNN tries to be impartcial and has it’s ratings slowly falling. I’d argue it’s the same with sports television, too.

The Score has made a name for itself as a basketball network (and if you think otherwise, you’re kidding yourself). They show two, three games a week, plus Court Surfing on Tuesdays (and sometimes Wednesdays). They have slowly moved from other sports – I remember them airing hockey and baseball at one point – to this; it’s certainly worked for them.

TSN and TSN2 might be going the same way. TSN is the home of hockey, offering national broadcasts almost every weeknight, a move that devotes itself to fans of the most popular sport in Canada. This, combined with it’s strong news and opinion offerings of SportsCentre, Off the Record and American imports PTI and Around the Horn, has assured it the highest spot in Canadian sports TV.

But TSN2 has quickly made a name for itself by catering to a small, niche audience with it’s broadcasts of NBA basketball, NCAA sports and out of market NHL teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re cultivating a small but loyal audience of hardcore sports fans, the ones who wanted to see these events on Canadian TV. The numbers may not be outstanding, but I’d argue they’re not going away, either.

Ultimately, I’d like to see TSN2 be used as more then a clearinghouse for stuff TSN can’t fit on it’s own network – a good way to show that would be to create some original content for the network – but for what it is now, it’s looking like a bigger step then I certainly thought it would be.

– The West always seems to have the best playoffs. Not sure why. I’m really liking three of the four NHL series in the West (Detroit/Phoenix, San Jose/Colorado and Vancouver/LA), and what I’ve seen of the NBA’s (Utah/Denver and LA/Oklahoma City), but both leagues Eastern Conference series just aren’t doing the same for me.

Montreal is quickly looking like they’re going to get dwarfed by Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals. I fully expect Ottawa to be out of the playoffs by the end of the week. And I can’t get into New Jersey/Philly. The NBA is doing the same thing: the only series I’m finding myself really getting into is Boston/Miami.

Part of this has to do with parity, I’m sure. The Cavs are so much better then the Bulls, I don’t expect much drama from that series. I think the Magic are tens of times better then the Bobcats. If Bogut hadn’t been hurt, the Atlanta/Milwaukee series would be way more compelling.

Again, I’m being nitpicky. Excellence is it’s own reward; I really should enjoy watching LeBron James (who had a few great moments on the weekend) because he’s so good, not because of some drama involving two teams I ultimately don’t cheer for. I should enjoy watching Dwight Howard because he’s so good on both ends of the floor. I should enjoy watching Brandon Jennings try and shoulder the load.

The storylines are there, I’m just too lazy to read them. This one is wholly on me.

Written by M.

April 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm