Mixed Emotions Escort R.A. Dickey to Canada

Dickey is heading to Toronto pending the negotiation of a contract extension

Unless there's some 11th-hour snag having to do with exchange rates, R.A. Dickey is going to be a member of the Blue Jays next season. 

The Mets and Jays have agreed to a deal that will make Dickey the third Cy Young Award winner to get traded before the start of the next season. The Mets will get catcher Travis d'Arnaud, considered the best catching prospect in baseball, and 20-year-old strikeout artist Noah Snydergaard in return for Dickey. 

It's a deal that leaves you feeling a lot more conflicted than most baseball trades. Usually it is easy to say that you like or dislike a deal, but there's so much on the table here that it takes some serious shoveling to get through all of it. 

The initial reaction is one of sadness. Dickey was the best pitcher in the National League last year and the only reason to watch the latest rancid Mets team, which would have been plenty if he also weren't one of the most engaging and thoughtful professional athletes on the current landscape. 

Trading a player like that is a tough sell especially when you look at the rest of the team and realize that general manager Sandy Alderson is sending a pretty clear message that the Mets aren't going to be contenders this year, next year and maybe not even in 2014. The Mets turned down a two-year, $26 million extension going into effect in 2013 proposed by Dickey, a more than reasonable deal for a pitcher of his ability unless you think that he'd just continue to be a lone bright spot. 

And if that's what Alderson thought, then he absolutely should have made the deal even if tearing Dickey off the Mets makes them about as appealing as unflavored ice cream in the short term. You can hate the fact that the Mets are in these straits, but you can appreciate the honesty of their approach. 

You can also congratulate Alderson for a perfect application of the "buy low, sell high" philosophy. Dickey came to the Mets as a hopeful bounder with an unappreciated knuckleball three years ago and the Mets were rewarded handsomely for giving him a shot in their rotation. 

As sweet as that story was, he's still a 38-year-old knuckleballer and Alderson was able to turn that into two more appealing pieces of the puzzle that everyone wanted him to construct when he saved the team from Omar Minaya. Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and d'Arnaud are players that can be the foundation of a very good team if all breaks right for the Mets and, should that happen, they'll be very good long after Dickey is off the radar screen. 

It would have been nice to have your cake and eat it too, but there's a reason why that's a cliche about asking for way too much. You have to make tough choices in life, something the Mets didn't do with Jose Reyes to their own detriment. 

Reyes is in Toronto too thanks to the Marlins being con artists masquerading as a baseball team, giving this trade one last way to make Mets fans smile down the road. If the Blue Jays come together and make waves this season, it will come at the expense and possible playoff ouster of the Yankees. 

It's not quite the same as winning for yourself, but there are worse ways for Mets fans to wait for their young talent to blossom. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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