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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Post-R.A. World

The Mets have made what seems like a very good trade. But I hate that they’re making it.

After David Wright was re-signed, I wrote that I was happy but not particularly celebratory — retaining Wright struck me as a no-brainer, the kind of thing a franchise in decent working order would of course do. Back then the R.A. Dickey trade talk was a worst-case scenario, and I lumped Dickey in with Wright: 20-game winner, just won Cy Young Award, beloved by fans, not looking to break the bank, should be good for more years than his age should indicate. Of course you re-sign a guy like that. If you don’t, something’s really wrong. Right?

Well, sorta. As the unimaginable worst-case scenario turned into a maybe and then a probably and now a near-definite, my thinking changed a bit. Dickey is a knuckleballer and knuckleballers tend to pitch deep into their autumns, it’s true. But one of the most interesting things of the many interesting things about Dickey is what makes him different as a knuckleballer. Dickey subscribes to the Zen of Knuckleballing, yes, but he also does things with the pitch that few if any knuckleballers have. He changes speeds and locates it with far more precision than we’re used to, turning its fundamental chaos into a smaller-scale tactic.

The point is that having celebrated all the ways Dickey isn’t a conventional knuckleballer, it’s lazy to assume he is one when we discuss how he’ll age. He’s 38, throws harder than typical knuckleballers, and famously lacks an ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. He might age like Hoyt Wilhelm or Phil Niekro, in which case 38 is nothing — but he also might age like a more conventional pitcher, in which case 38 is nearing the end. Anyone who tells you for sure is either from the future or full of it. In this as in so many things, R.A. Dickey is unique.

The Mets, meanwhile, have on-field problems to go with their copious off-field woes. Yes, they’ve re-signed Wright, but besides the Jekyll-and-Hyde bat of Ike Davis, he’s basically naked in the lineup — and when Wright’s trying to do too much, things get depressing in a hurry. No prospect is a sure thing, but baseball folks generally agree that Travis d’Arnaud projects pretty soon as a solid defensive catcher and a 20-HR bat, potentially turning a difficult-to-fill position that had been a black hole into a big positive. We’re still left with an outfield that actually makes you yearn for Agbayani-Payton-Hamilton, but it’s something. And that’s without considering the rather wonderfully named Noah Syndergaard, who also impresses generally sober-minded talent evaluators. The Mets may have sold as high as possible on a 38-year-old pitcher, which is a pretty good trick.

And yet perhaps they’re throwing away years of magic. Because whatever the outcome, the Mets are trading R.A. Dickey.

It’s horrible to write, horrible to read, horrible to think about. And it lands us right back in the depressing morass that has engulfed this team — the inescapable reality that the Mets are broke, an insolvent club being kept afloat by the commissioner of baseball’s shameful willingness to abrogate his responsibilities in order to protect his cronies. Supposedly there’s a plan to escape this mess, one that impressed Wright enough to buy in. But if you’re a mere fan of this team you don’t get to hear about it — you get denial and dishonesty. No one connected with the Mets seems interested in countering the dour analyses of the Mets’ current situation, which makes me conclude they’re fairly accurate. No one will tell us when this will end or if it will end. And nobody seems to care that it is doing corrosive, lasting damage to this franchise and its fanbase.

The Dickey trade is a fascinating one — you could argue about it at the bar until the glasses are polished and every other stool is upside down atop tables and still not have come to a definitive conclusion. But it can’t be argued about as just a baseball move, because nothing with the Mets these days is just a baseball move. Everything comes overshadowed by the stuff we’d rather not think about or explain to our kids.

And it’s R.A. Dickey we’re losing.

I’ve written that if Dickey didn’t exist, bloggers like us would have had to make him up. But he does exist — and he turned out to be much more interesting than the W.P. Kinsella character we would have created. Candid, reflective, philosophical, goofy — he’s everything I dreamed athletes could be while accepting that they generally aren’t. He names bats after Tolkien weapons and is a Star Wars dork and talks about baseball the way we like to talk about it. And, on top of all that, he’s a world-class athlete, a ferocious competitor who fought his way through countless travails to succeed on a huge stage. Few Mets have ever filled me with as much anticipation and wonder and simple joy as Dickey did, and it is beyond awful to have all of that taken away.

So what are we to do? Where does this leave us?

If you’re coolly calculating and rational about the trade, I’m reluctantly with you. If you’re heartbroken and furious, I’m with you too.

All I know is I desperately want to cheer for a normal franchise again. I want to root for a team that doesn’t require me to learn about debt obligations and amortization to guess whether we’ll be competitive in 2013 or 2015 or never. I want to root for a team that allows me to presume electric batting champs and cerebral Cy Young award winners will be kept, or at least let go for pure baseball reasons.

And, well, one more thing. I want to root for a team that doesn’t send players out the door with switchblades sticking out of their backs. The Mets’ sliming Dickey for answering reporters’ contract questions at a media event was deplorable — as was the normally rational Ken Davidoff deciding to audition for the role of the Twitter age’s Dick Young. (Next time I want to mock Wright for being deliberately bland after a game, I’ll remember what happened to Dickey for being candid and interesting.) And this isn’t the first time anonymous sources have done such things — the Walter Reed media hit on Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo is one of the more shameful episodes in franchise history. I don’t know who’s behind this stuff, and frankly I don’t care. Whether it’s someone on the business side, ownership, or some ambitious Carvel sprinkle applier, I just want it to stop. It’s ugly and amateurish and embarrassing, and we’ve got plenty of that as it is.

So, again, what do we do? I suspect we’ll do what we always do — we’ll watch the games and grouse and fret, but over time that will recede, because baseball is the highest art form yet created by humankind, so that not even humans can utterly screw it up. I’m genuinely excited to see a full season of Matt Harvey, and to see if Ike and Ruben and Murph can build on intriguing years, and to wonder if poor Lucas Duda can figure something out, and to applaud David’s well-earned C, and pretty soon I’ll be able to recognize Travis d’Arnaud from some little thing in his batting stance, and Zack Wheeler will be burning it up at Las Vegas, and maybe Noah Syndergaard will have been just promoted to Binghamton, and we’ll be enmeshed in new storylines.

But if that doesn’t work, well … the Toronto Blue Jays somehow now employ R.A. Dickey and Jose Reyes. It’s a great city. The intersections with the Mets are few and far between. You can still hate the Yankees. Adultery is wrong in baseball as in everything else, but we can all make a convincing case for alienation of affections.

Jays fever — temporarily catch it!

48 comments to The Post-R.A. World

  • “If you’re coolly calculating and rational about the trade, I’m reluctantly with you. If you’re heartbroken and furious, I’m with you too.”

    I’m both.

  • Paul

    Great post, Jason. From a pure baseball standpoint, you can make a good case for this trade. But the Mets don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt these days, so my predominant feeling right now is heartbroken. How the team handled his departure was truly shameful. I’m not switching allegiances, but for the first time since college I’ll probably be signing on for some mlb.tv. RA, may the force be with you.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    Losing R.A. has done it for me.

    It’s a very personal thing, I know stemming from my childhood being an original new breeder from the start when being a Met was something special. As Jimmy Breslin wrote after the 1962 season, the Mets were the team of the real people, the working stiffs, the blue collars, the perrenial losers hoping for a better day. That special feeling carried over for most of us as we got older and so did the team in the way it conducted itself – even during the Grant fiasco – since Grant only represented himself and not the total mindset of the complete organization.

    Yes, as we got older we knew it was a business. We were no longer the nieve ones. But there was still something special about the way this unique franchise conducted itself that helped keep that spirit alive and well – even if it was just an illusion. Not any more. The illusion has been broken.

    For the manner in which this organization has conducted itself has finally resulted in taking away – at least for myself – the last bastion of childhood innocence I had left to hang onto. It first started with the Wilpons spitting on the fans that made the Mets something special, beginning with Shea Stadium being replaced by a very impersonal structure of exclusion. The indifference shown to the average fan (Greg having put it so brillantly a few years back, referring to us being treated as “second class citizen”) was an insult.

    My brother used to be as passionate a baseball fan as I was but got fed up with the game when it became more a matter of big contracts, even bigger profits and players less caring about the team than their own selves. Yes, no longer were there Joe DiMaggios giving young Yogi Berras dirty looks because they didn’t run out a pop-up. Instead it became the young Ike Davises looking at it as being his “job”. Yet, despite all this, I told him it was still the only game left in town and it was either that or nothing.

    Now I know how he feels and instead of rooting for the Mets with a passion, I’ll be following them – and for me that is quite a difference. At 61, I wanted something to make me feel as if I was still eleven years old. That’s more important to me than winning or losing. If the Mets lose now, I won’t be getting so upset – and that is the real loss that I’m feeling.

    That is because the Mets now openly conduct themselves as a business, coldly and objectively, leaving no room for any illusions. And there is a limit as to when the line has to be drawn when integrity in character still has to count for something. Integrity now means so little to them as to treat a gem like R.A. Dickey (who wanted to stay a Met forever to the point that he stretched out an olive branch requesting less money that he could have) as a piece of meat.

    That’s why even if they win everything next year, for me it will never be the same again until this franchise at least has both a new ownership that shows the fans respect (even if only for their own financial self-interests) and a new general manager who at least publicly shows a sense of human feeling instead of just analytical logic. Until that time, there will no longer a happy recap, just the sports news every 20 minutes on the FAN.

    That’s what this organization has done to me – and I never, ever thought it would come to this.

  • Z

    I have never bought/worn a player jersey in my life (in any sport)–just happens never to have been my kind of thing. Might seek out a remaindered Dickey Mets jersey now, though, as a reminder/statement of the persistent sense of loss that being a Mets fan entails in the Wilpon era.

  • Z

    And yet at the very same time I do recognize and begrudgingly appreciate the cold brilliance of Alderson’s move here.

  • [...] That to me is a guy you try your very best to hold onto, regardless of what jackasses like Ken Davidoff say otherwise.  R.A. Dickey was OUR **real** Sidd Finch, the mythical character who could be down-to-earth who represented all blue-collar Mets fan, who talked like an English professor but played a sport we all wax intellectual over.  In fact, Jason Fry over at Faith and Fear in Flushing said much of the same, so I won’t bear to repeat it here, just read it over there. [...]

  • sturock

    This has the potential to be a great trade for the Mets. We get the top hitter and top pitcher from the Jays’ farm system. We cash in R.A.’s Cy Young season for players who can help us rebuild.

    Look, I love R.A. too, but he won 20 games and where did we finish? Fourth place. We have no lineup. No catcher– you wanted to start another season with Josh Thole as the #1 backstop? Really??– no outfield, and we could use an upgrade at second base.

    That’s the harsh reality of the current New York Mets. If it costs us an R.A. Dickey to begin to move in the right direction, so be it.

    Next year’s rotation of Niese, Harvey, an improving Dillon Gee, the start of Zack Wheeler’s career, and what’s left of Johan could actually be okay.

    This team is in rebuilding mode. R.A. Dickey is a luxury for us.

    Don’t you want to see the Mets win? I do. I’m tired of the lore of the two Bob Millers and Marv Throneberry and the two Bobby Joneses and oh-R.A.-is-such-a-smart-guy and all that stuff that comes out whenever the Mets go through a lousy series of seasons. I’m tired of being the irrelevant team in town.

    This is a business, yes. But it’s also about putting a fun, exciting team on the field, a team that has a future. Who do we have besides Ike Davis, David Wright, and Jon Niese? Harvey and Wheeler, d’Arnaud and Syndergaard…guys like these give us some hope that the coming seasons will be better than those just past.

  • If you think about it, Jason is right – RA is a guy we’d HAVE to make up in our Mets mythology. Except we didn’t – he was real. He was our real life Sidd Finch, as I wrote (and linked out to in this article) today. I don’t have to like the move right now, but I do accept it. But as per usual, FAFIF hits it out of the park with this one.

  • Dak442

    I love RA. But this trade had to be made, if you could garner this level of prospect.

    We let Tom Seaver go, TWICE, and we lived to tell about it. This too shall pass.

    And it’ll be nice to root for an AL East team whose fans aren’t (almost) as loathsome as thoseof the Yankees.

  • Dave

    Jason’s article and all of the responses show why FAFIF is, to use one of RA’s favorite words, so authentic. Every Mets fans feelings are being expressed so well here. Yes, if d’Arnaud turns out to be the star he’s projected to be (and it’d be a little sweeter knowing that he was drafted by the Philly Phools) and Snydergaard is the 2014 or 2015 ROY, we’ll be damn glad we have them.

    But as Joe D so eloquently alludes to, we need some commitment from the organization to show us that this is more than moving money around. I don’t want to subscribe to Jerry Seinfeld’s theory that we’re just rooting for a uniform. Being a Mets fan should mean more than that; this is a unique franchise, or at least it was. And as Jason points out, I am sick of whoever is in charge of organizational dissatisfaction media leaks making like they’re Karl Rove and the players are Democratic candidates with mistresses. That’s just Steinbrennerian.

    And with no RA, will next year’s Mets yearbook let us know that any of the remaining players’ favorite music is 20th century opera?

    Goodbye RA. We loved your authenticity, and we’ll keep an eye on what’s happening north of the border, eh. You and Jose go beat the team in the Bronx.

  • Coachie Ballgames

    Well said. Perfect post.
    As you said, there’s the calculating side and the emotional side, and the only way to digest this trade is by joining up with the cold calculators. However, if that’s the route we’re taking, punting on ’13 and ’14 while developing the farm, then why wasn’t Wright traded? I feel like if you’re gonna trade R.A. then you may as well have traded Wright too because otherwise why waste two more years of Wright’s prime on what Sandy is admitting is a rebuilding club. if the goal is contention by ’15, then any prospects garnered in a Wright trade would serve us better than a fading Wright playing alongside kids.

  • I agree with everybody here so far. There’s no one way to think about this trade. It’s a whole ton of stuff at once — head vs. heart, pure baseball vs. the Mets’ off-field difficulties, irrationality of fandom vs. wanting your team to be rational strategically. I could go on, but you all get it. There’s no argument to be won.

  • SJGMoney

    Told my 12 year old daughter the news yesterday and she told me I ruined her day. Couldn’t even begin to rationalize the trade re prospects etc, not to a young fan. Just told her now we have a new AL team to root for. And then I went about rationalizing the trade to my 47 year old self. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, it’s like Tom Glavine driving off a cliff….in my new Maserati.

  • Ljcmets

    Jason,
    You and Greg always hit it out of the park. You have captured perfectly the sense of loss so many of us feel even in the midst of what is obviously, at the very least, a defensible trade if not a coup for the team.

    I think the sense of melancholy all of us feel is a reflection on R.A. Dickey’s essential “Metness” if you will. He entered the baseball scene with a great sense of expectation, suffered a cruel blow (the realization that his elbow was “imperfect”), floundered around for years (showing some signs of hope but always falling short of true accomplishment) and then, after being thrown on the scrap heap, he was rescued by Omar Minaya, of all people. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, he took the nation by storm this year, although those who were following his progress knew that there were intermediate steps along the way to this great season just past. That, in broad outline, is the tale of the Mets during their first eight years of existence. (I haven’t read Greg’s new book yet, (although I hope to dig into it during the holidays)but I’ve read enough about the 60’s-era Mets, not to mention having lived through it myself as a young fan, to know that story arc, and of course, it’s made better by knowing that every word is true- it’s fact, not fiction). It’s a theme repeated over and over again in Mets history….Ya Gotta Believe, the Ball off the Wall, Gets by Buckner, the Grand-Slam Single, and even during this miserable year, the No-Hitter at last (and thrown by a great pitcher who many had also consigned to the scrap heap).

    Could R. A. have accomplished so much for so many if he didn’t play for the Mets? We’ll never know, of course, but Mets fans, having this origin myth as part of their DNA, probably responded to R.A. and his Amazin’ Knuckleball instinctively, recognizing the Tale of the Underdog and his ultimate redemption as a perfect fit. Our children and grandchildren were able to experience a little of what we felt watching the Mets in their infancy and callow youth.

    Unfortunately they will now experience what we felt in June 1977….seeing a player who seems to embody the Franchise sent packing, and being ushered out the door having been smeared by ownership/management/media toadies. (I know Seaver has a much different back story than R.A., but just remember how Tom came to be a Met. Is there any more ridiculous and grand manifestation of destiny in the team’s history?) Joe D’s post was so painful, and resonates with so many, because even though the front office made a great business deal, the Mets are made from magic, not common sense or logic. If those were the underpinnings of fandom, there would be no Mets fans. We believe, and despite all evidence to the contrary, we continue to believe. We’d like to think that the people who make decisions for our Mets recognize that no Mets team can truly succeed without a quintessential dose of magic, and that is why so many of us responded to R.A. and his sensational year (not to mention that he is a wonderful human being). Unfortunately, it’s clear that they do not.

    I hope that d’Arnaud, Snydergaard, and the unnamed throw-in go on to write their own Mets magic. But I don’t think any of us will be forgetting R.A. Dickey any time soon. Even as he goes on with the Blue Jays, he will always remain a Met, because that is in essence who he is…the underdog, the common man, the one who fights impossible odds and triumphs. but always in his own quirky, unpredictable way…the Met way.

  • Ken

    Gooden came and went quickly. Dickey came and went quickly. Even Seaver came and went quickly in the grand scheme of things. One year of Dickey was more memorable than five years of Pelfrey or Traschel or Matlack, let alone all the people I forgot. So I don’t mind not having him for more years. He was here. That’s good enough.

    What I worry about is the pressure on d’Arnaud. When he comes up and hits .260 his first year, and has a slight sophomore slump, before becoming a very good player, will Mets fans get on him. Being traded for Dickey is a special burden, even more than the usual weight of playing in New York. I hope we have d’Arnaud a long time and learn to appreciate him as we appreciated Wright, Reyes and few others.

    • 1. Disagree on Matlack. Don’t lump him in with those guys.
      2. By the time d’Arnaud comes up attendance will be so low that no one will be there to boo.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    Just noticed that a New York Post poll had more than 70 percent of Met fans had wanted to trade R.A. I’m reading that on a lot of other websites too.

    Am sure the loyalty of the players to their own pay check has changed the way fans look too baseball – and even the Mets – themselves. It’s mostly all looked at in terms of entertainment, no longer just a game, just like it’s no longer flipping baseball cards but putting them in protective binders. The Mets to me weren’t entertainment – they were a passion called fun.

    I sincerely feel sorry for those not old enough to know what they had missed. Doesn’t mean we had it better, only that it was just different and I wish they had to chance to experience both ends of the cycle. Perhaps they’d feel differently about this whole thing. Perhaps not.

    But in any case, the sentiment of so many Met fans today is reflective of a time that has passed us new breeders aside.

  • Joe D.

    Sorry,

    Also wanted to add that change from fun to entertainment is probably why so many have to be prompted to chant “lets go mets” from a public address system. For us, it was like reciting the Pledge of Allegience. Oh well

  • James Allen

    I fully understand the realities involved with this trade. I still hate it.

    More to the point, I hate how they did it. This organization is run by assholes, pure and simple. They intentionally lowball the guy, so he can turn them down and say things that can be painted as sounding ungrateful and greedy. Then they trade him which was what they wanted to do all along anyway. Thanks for the memories, RA, now piss off.

    I know the business involved, as I have been reminded over and over. But this sucks. I’m sure this kid they got is Johnny Bench or something (or so they’re going beat us over the head with) but I don’t care. You keep guy like Dickey. A guy the fans responded to. A guy who was consistent and pitches lots of innings. A guy who could be one of the faces of the franchise for a few more years, a perfect contrast to David Wright.

    But the Mets aren’t buying it. They are basically saying were we idiots to get emotionally involved with this guy. To them, the 20 wins and Cy Young award for a crappy team with a pathetic offense wasn’t real. It’s a chit to be shuffled off to Canada for the “rebuilding” mode of a team that doesn’t want to spend money (I know they gave Wright a boatload, but I guess they figured they couldn’t treat the fanbase THAT badly.)

    I was at the stadium when he won his 20th. It was such a happy day for me. I hadn’t had that much fun at a game in years. Now that memory is tainted, as I know that as the fans were cheering on this guy, the gears were already in motion. We were watching a guy pitching for history that the organization never really believed in. We were played, and that’s the unforgivable part.

  • Well stated. I want to root for a team again, and see any incompetence or losses occur on the field and not in a courtroom because of horrible investments made by ownership.

  • Kate Avallone-Serra

    Oh yes, a fine trade, since we have such a sterling history with “can’t miss” prospects. Generation K, anyone?

  • SYNdergaard. Corrected above. Prospects! GAAHHH!

  • Ken K. in NJ

    <>

    He was the car salesman in “Fargo” who embezzled all that money, right?

  • Andee

    Co-sign everything you said here, Jason.

    I adore Dickey. But HALF of our lineup last year (aside from a flukish few weeks when the league hadn’t figured out Spins and Kirk and friends yet) was out-machines. And even the half that wasn’t out-machines had iss-yews. And there was no help in sight at the minor league level; the only potential immediate impact bat was Flores, a guy who has to hope for another Ike/Dubs collision to obtain even a temporary position.

    Dickey might have eased the pain once every five days, but shit howdy, those other four days were h-e-double-Louisville-Sluggers. One fine pitching performance after another after another going down the drain, because even scoring one run half the time, let alone two or more, was too much to hope for. They couldn’t go on like that. Dr. No will help change that, once his three-week Vegas purgatory is up.

    And yeah, they still need an outfielder or two, but having a catcher who can hit means they can live with an Agbayani-Payton-Hamilton-level outfield. And that should not be hard to get, even for the limited money they have. Also, this probably means we see Zack Wheeler sooner, though he’ll probably have to do his time in Vegas jail too.

    The old way would have been sign a bunch of free agents and flush a bunch of draft picks. That approach was never going to be sustainable. In fact, that approach is what cost us Dickey and Reyes. Sandy showed a lot of guts here, hanging in against an equally tough GM to get the most out of his one and only real trade chip. Lots of people wanted D’Arnaud. We got him.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Jason,

    You were very fair painting both sides of the equation, but I am curious if you still disagree with me that the moves Sandy Alderson was making from the very beginning had nothing to do with a vision to improve the ball club as it was a smokescreen to cover up he was simply obtaining the least expensive players available to downsize costs in order to keep the Wilpons afloat instead.

    Keep in mind, he did admit last September he had been signing inexpensive players for two years and one cannot expect to win with those only capable of performing at fifty percent. If he couldn’t expect to win with them, why was he signing them?

    For others as well as myself, that is why Sandy holds no credibility with whatever he might say now to us now.

    In his teleconference this evening, Sandy said he wanted to work out a deal with R.A. but a contract could not be reached. What he did not mention was that Dickey signed with Toronto for two years at $12.5 million each and therefore asking less from from the Mets – so I don’t see how it was R.A. demands that could have been the stumbling block as the Mets are trying to make it appear.

    As I said, this lawyer who is an expert in legal double-talk has lost his credibility because he didn’t leave this type of manipulation in the courtroom and continued using it on us fans.

    • Yes, still disagree. I think there’s a high likelihood this move WILL improve the ballclub — you’re potentially talking about controlling 10-odd seasons of cheap, prime talent vs. controlling three mid-priced seasons of a 38-year-old pitcher missing a UCL.

      Which is not to say I LIKE the deal — I can think it’s wise and still hate it for off-field reasons.

      Thing is, as my first graf indicates, you can simultaneously have a vision that improves the ball club AND involves cutting costs rather drastically. The difference is the motive. And there we’ll never know, and it’s my speculation against your speculation.

      I think Sandy was stuck down the Wilpons’ throats (to whatever degree) as adult supervision, but found out he was in a much worse situation than he thought. I would not be at all surprised if the Wilpons keep moving the financial goalposts on him as he tries to rebuild the Mets, forcing him to frown every time a reporter with a good memory asks him why the payroll numbers keep changing. I continue to think his overall plan is sound, but it’s at the mercy of the Wilpon family finances.

      Bottom line: Neither of us knows what’s actually going on. And in the absence of a tell-all book, we are never going to know enough to agree on whether Sandy’s a co-conspirator in all this or a relatively innocent bystander. So at this point it seems like a fruitless discussion.

      I want this era to be over, but there is no one advocating for us — we’re prisoners of Bud Selig’s refusal to do his job. And so here we are. For how long, God only knows.

      • Joe D.

        Hi Jason,

        Fair enough, I understand and can see your point as well as I see my own.

        But I can’t forget what Alderson said when he traded Marc McGwire to St. Louis under circumstances not as dire but still similar to what the Mets are going through now – that trades are no longer based on talent.

        The steroid user was leading the majors in home runs and for the first time was zeroing in Roger Maris’ record (still the real one if you ask me) and was traded for prospects that never amounted to anything. He traded a player the type we thought McGwire was because his first concern was of finances, not the team.

        http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/McGwire-trade-may-haunt-A-s-3070724.php

        And I do believe he understood the situation he was getting into. As mentioned, he is an astute lawyer and would question Selig as to why he was being pushed so hard into taking the job. After all, this was a major career decision and he was very happy staying where he was (“Absent MLB commissioner Bud Selig asking me to go ahead and pursue this, and to some degree urging me to pursue it, I’d still be in Santo Domingo studying Spanish.”). Sandy is no dope – I think he would demand seeing the confidential information the commissioner was privy to.

        As being that astute business person he would be able to also read between the lines much better than we could those prior two years before coming on board.

        And to take that point further, if he wasn’t aware of what he was getting into when he was hired, would he still have been unaware of the situation three months later when he said the Madoff situation had no affect on the way he was doing things? That was also after he signed all those “inexpensive” players.

        So no matter what my opinion of Sandy is, I respect him enough not to believe he didn’t vet as to why he was being pushed to take the job and asking to see the financial books beforehand – especially because I see Sandy only as the business person, not the baseball one who no doubt wants to win but accepted the job knowing his first priority was the Wilpons and not the team.

      • Andee

        I’ll say this much for Sandy: he doesn’t give a shit if people hate him, as long as he knows he’s doing what needs to be done. He knows the crowd-pleasing move would have been to give Dickey his extension, and that’s probably what he would have done had this deal not happened. As rock-ribbed as Jeff has been about this whole business, he probably could have been talked into it if all other options had been exhausted.

        This “the Mets had it in for Dickey” thing is ludicrously overblown and based entirely on speculation and hearsay. Nobody is willing to put anybody’s name to any statement from the team that comes anywhere near this, and I frigging DARE them to. If someone overheard Jeff or Sandy say something to this effect, it’s hard to believe that someone wouldn’t have attributed it directly to one of them. The press is not exactly in love with Jeffy boy, or by extension, his reluctant mouthpiece Sandy.

        But Sandy wanted to see if he could sell high on Dickey, and if so, how high. Turns out, very high. In a million years, I never thought he’d be able to pry D’Arnaud away from TOR, with Syndergaard (the next Wheeler) as a “throw-in,” AND he actually got them to take Nickeas and surrender an actual breathing entity in return (18-year-old IFA signing Wuilmer Becerra). And all this from Anthopoulos, who’s known to be a pretty tough negotiator himself. With big free agents being prohibited to Sandy, this was his one chance to score an impact bat for this team at a prime position that could help the team almost immediately, and for years to come. When you get that chance, you have to take it. I’m sure even Dickey understands that, even if he doesn’t like it.

        Blue-chippers who are close to being MLB ready almost never get traded; this offseason there have already been two, Myers and now D’Arnaud. It just goes to show you how much people are willing to cough up for ace-quality pitching these days. Wonder if Texas is toying with dangling Profar.

  • Lenny65

    I’m really gonna miss the guy: he was pure magic in 2012 and one no-hitter aside, the only real thrill the Mets provided all year. That pitching buzz during the height of his run brought back memories of Doc and Seaver, where you just hung on his every pitch. Such a shame we won’t get to see OUR first Cy Young winner since ’85 get a victory lap in front of the faithful. Sigh, I’m a Mets fan.

    But…we DO desperately need a catcher capable of both catching and possibly hitting his weight. Along with some other stuff, too, but C has been a black hole in the lineup since Paul Lo Duca at least, and he was no great shakes either. Still, though, hard to shake the feelings of under-whelmedness today.

  • open the gates

    R.A. Dickey’s season was the most magical pitching season since Gooden ’85. And he was so much fun to follow. He seemed too good to be true.

    Apparently, he was.

    We’ll miss him. But the deal had to be done.

    Hey, we also missed Lee Mazzilli in ’82. But his trade, at the height of his career, for two blue-chip minor-leaguers that turned into Ron Darling and HoJo, was essential for the ’86 World Championship season to happen. And we even got Maz back to be part of the parade.

    Who knows – maybe R.A. comes back for us as a middle reliever the next time we win a World Series. Hopefully in my lifetime.

  • nestornajwa

    On paper, this is the kind of move that has turned bad teams into good ones, sometimes great ones. That list includes Larry Anderson for Bagwell, Langston for the Unit, Doyle Alexander for Smoltz, and the great-grandaddy of every star-for-prospects deal, Amos Rusie “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” for a prospect named Christy Mathewson. Rusie was so popular in New York that a long contract dispute between him and the Giants caused angry fans to riot on Wall Street (“Occupy Flushing” anyone?). But Rusie never won another game after the trade, while Matty had all of his 373 wins ahead of him.

    No, I’m not happy. Dickey’s salary demands were incredibly reasonable; it’s sickening the Mets would or could not fulfill them. And while the rotation still looks decent, it would look so much better with a bona fide ace. “Paging Matt Harvey: please pick up the nearest courtesy phone. Destiny is calling.”

    But at least they handled Dickey better than Jose (or Olerud or Straw or Seaver II), where they offered nothing and received nothing in return. I was convinced that the Mets were going to force Dickey to play out his contract and end up with nothing again. That would have augured a terrible 2013 season, with Dickey hearing the clock ticking on his career as he missed out on (probably) his best shot at a big contract. He would have been justifiably angry, bitter and miserable all year long, and it would have been a constant distraction. Sooner or later, he would have said something notably regrettable, slightly tainting his amazing but brief Met career. And it would have been sadly typical for this management team.

  • Chris

    totally disgusted. He is the reigning Cy Young and they traded him for guys who might one day be major league players. I can’t share the optimism so many fans seem to have. This catching stud has missed significant time already thanks to back and knee problems. I will believe he’s he second coming of Piazza when I see it. For now I think it’s premature to enshrine him in Cooperstown.

  • BlaclCountryMet

    Great article and some great comments. As a (fairly)recent convert to Metsdom, I’ve not had a lot of favourites, Piazza was when I was not fully attentive and how many others have we really had in the 2000s? RA was someone I could root for, a genuine guy, somebody who wasn’t just another spoilt overpaid ballplayer(and I know every team has em) I hear the arguements for the trade, the players we’ve got sound promising(not guaranteed though) but hey, we’ve LOST RA and that HURTS! The temptation to watch him on day games(games most easily watchable live in UK),as the Mets lurch towards another crappy 2013 season, well, I may succumb occasionally ;-(

  • James Allen

    Seems like I’m in the minority on this one. I’m surprised at how many fans have bought into the idea that they just had to trade Dickey. The path of least resistance seems to have been the trade. The nervy thing would’ve been to keep a Cy winner to anchor the rotation for a few more seasons. Understood.

    And I liked the comment above about this trade showing the Mets are not afraid to do things that aren’t crowd pleasing, as if they’ve been doing all kinds of crowd pleasing things over the last few years. (Ok, they got rid of Bay, but it took them way too long.)

    • Chris

      Incredible to me how many fans believe this was the only course and that it immediately creates a competitive team for years to come. I’ll believe it when they prove it on the field. The organization does not have a good record with these kinds of things. Maybe these guys will contribute, but the list of Met prospect burnouts is so long we’d need a separate blog to catalog them all.

    • Andee

      Are you kidding? From 1990 until 2010, all this team ever did was try to make the fans happy in the off-season. Only a few times did it actually pay off, and even the success stories (Piazza, Beltran, Santana) had contracts that went on for too long and became injury-ridden albatrosses on the back end. Then there were a couple of one-year wonders who we still had to pay big time for long after they stopped being productive: Pedro, Ventura. The one unqualified success in that area was Carlos Delgado, and even he imploded that last year. Other than that? A steady stream of very expensive shit, and lots of booing.

      If there’s one thing Sandy Alderson knows, it’s that what will make the fans happy in December has squat-all to do with what will make them happy in July, and that sometimes you have to run the risk of people hating you in the short term in order to better the team’s long-term health. It’s about damn time. They really should have done this ten years ago, before the team’s situation turned into such a clusterfucktastrophe that there was no margin for error.

  • Chris

    I didn’t mean to say it immediately creates a competitive team–what I meant is that fans seem certain these guys will one day be all-stars, as advertised. I hope they pan out, maybe they will, but it’s dicey.

    • sturock

      And how well did they do WITH R.A. Dickey? They need to start stockpiling prospects so they can have a future. That’s the only way to develop a real baseball team– unless you want to go back to the days of Omar Minaya, when every shiny object to distract him wound up with a multi-year contract and vesting option, papi. Alderson is trading an asset when it is at its highest value. Sure, we love our guys, but in real life, that is what they are– either assets or dead weight. Alderson’s job is to increase the number of assets in the Mets’ pile. The fact that he’s trying to do this without handing out $100-million contracts is all the better.

      • Dennis

        I agree. Loved Dickey; hope he wins another 20 and a Cy Young with Toronto…..and I hope the guys we received turn out to be cornerstones for us for many successful, contending seasons in a row. Isn’t that what we really want? I’ve read and heard so much “woe is me” whining… why can’t we be a consistent playoff team every year like the Braves, Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox (well….except this past year for the Sox), etc. Maybe this will help us finally get to that level. Guaranteed? Nope, but I’m willing to wait and find out.

  • Chris

    Yes, the Mets sucked with the Cy Young winner. I just hope Travis the stud doesn’t blow out his knee or back before delivering that championship. Look for them to win 60 games this year. Prospects are nice to have. I am sure these guys are Piazza and Seaver, can’t miss. Just give them time.

  • JerseyJack

    Good Luck , RA ! Damn- seems like he just got here

  • Joe D.

    I still cannot believe it. Every time I see a picture of R.A. in a Met uniform I do cry.

    Does one really believe Sandy Alderson when he said he wasn’t interested in trading R.A. unless a team reached out and contacted him? He was telegraphing his desire to trade R.A. ever since the season closed.

    The Mets farm system has recently produced for us Harvey, Davis, Murphy, Tejada, Niese, Gee, Parnell, Turner and still a potentially good bat in Duda. They also have more studs down on the farm from the pre-2011 amateur draft. How was it depleted under Omar?

    Good smear attack by Alderson, even if he is doing it indirectly by referring to what the Mets needed to do instead of acknowledging it was something they had already been doing. A lawyer’s trick – just double-talk.