The R.A. Dickey trade rumor machine is firing on all cylinders tonight. Andy Martino of the Daily News tweeted earlier that Travis d'Arnaud was viewed as a "must have" for a deal to take place with Toronto. Jon Heyman tweeted that he believed the Mets would acquire d'Arnaud. And Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Mets would be trading Dickey with his $5 million contract looking quite attractive to other teams.
Sandy Alderson has said that he'd like two top prospects in return for Dickey in any trade, but the Blue Jays seem to be offering J.P. Arencibia and Anthony Gose in any trade involving two players going to New York. A Dickey-for-d'Arnaud trade would be a one-for-one deal.
I do not want J.P. Arencibia. Sure he can hit 20 HR out of the catcher position, but that power comes with a ton of strikeouts (252 Ks in 825 AB) and a miniscule .275 on-base percentage. That's barely higher than current catcher Josh Thole's .261 career batting average. (For the record, Thole's lifetime OBP is .331.) But Travis d'Arnaud is another story.
Since being traded by the Phillies to the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay trade, d'Arnaud has blossomed into a dynamic hitter, showing steady growth as he's moved up the minor league ladder. Here are his key stats since the trade:
- 2010: .259/.315/.411, 20 doubles, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 63 Ks in 71 games.
- 2011: .311/.371/.542, 33 doubles, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 100 Ks in 114 games.
- 2012: .333/.380/.595, 21 doubles, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 59 Ks in 67 games.
- Total: .303/.358/.522, 74 doubles, 43 HR, 168 RBI, 222 Ks in 252 games.
We're looking at a .300 hitting catcher, who's good for 20+ jacks and averages less than a strikeout per game. And that .522 slugging percentage over the past three seasons? It fits in nicely between David Wright's career slugging percentage (.506) and Mike Piazza's slugging percentage as a Met (.542). And d'Arnaud won't be 24 until February, so he hasn't fully developed his power yet.
Travis d'Arnaud by himself would be a fine acquisition. But why stop there? How about Anthony Gose, too? Gose doesn't have the power d'Arnaud has, having hit only 30 HR in five minor league seasons, but his basestealing ability is what the Mets want, especially after last off-season's departure of Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan.
Since 2009, Gose has pilfered bases at an amazin' rate. His 240 steals over the past four seasons (225 at the minor league level, 15 with the Blue Jays in 56 games in 2012) reminds Mets fans of the days Reyes would swipe 60+ bases per season. Gose is also a safe bet to reach double digits in triples, as he has accumulated 42 three-base hits in four years. Did I mention his defensive prowess in center field? No? Well, now I am.
In 490 minor league games as a centerfielder (the equivalent of three full major league seasons), Gose has a whopping 51 outfield assists. Although his arm is not as strong as Alex Ochoa's (remember him?), it's deadly accurate, a la Kevin McReynolds.
The Mets need an outfielder or three. They need a significant upgrade in the speed department. They could also use an offensive-minded catcher. Trading one 38-year old knuckleballer could fill all those needs for the Mets.
As much as Mets fans love R.A. Dickey, they love winning more. Getting d'Arnaud and Gose could go a long way toward getting the team back on the right side of .500. And at their ages - d'Arnaud is 23, Gose is 22 - the Mets could remain a winning team for more years than Dickey has left in the major leagues. How could you not make that trade?