NEW YORK (AP) - R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays agreed to a new contract Monday, clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the NL Cy Young winner to a Toronto team that’s spending a lot of money trying to join baseball’s elite.
A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press the trade could be completed once the 38-year-old knuckleballer passes a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither team made an announcement.
The Mets would receive top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multiplayer swap.
New York also would get catcher John Buck, minor league pitcher Noah Syndergaard and cash. There was speculation Toronto would receive catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.
Dickey was already signed for $5.25 million next year. The Mets began to look at trade possibilities for the 20-game winner when the sides couldn’t agree to extend his deal for two more seasons. Multiple reports say the reworked contract adds two years and $25 million to his existing deal.
The Blue Jays have missed the playoffs since winning their second straight World Series crown in 1993, and have boldly moved to reshape a team that went 73-89 last season in the rugged AL East.
Last month, they acquired a high-priced trio of All-Stars _ pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle and former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes _ in a 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins.
Toronto then signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, an All-Star outfielder with San Francisco whose season ended when he was suspended 50 games for a positive testosterone test.
Dickey was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA last season, capping his rapid rise from the majors’ scrap heap to an ace pitcher. He did it by perfecting a way to throw his floater faster than previous knuckleballers, and tossing it with exceptional control.
Dickey is set to become part of a stellar rotation that includes Johnson, Buehrle and returning starters Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.
Thole would give the Blue Jays a catcher who is familiar with handling Dickey’s knuckleball. He’d join a lineup that features former home run champ Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, who hit 42 homers last season.
D’Arnaud turns 24 in February. He hit .333 at Triple-A Las Vegas with 16 homers and 52 RBIs before tearing a knee ligament trying to break up a double play in June, resulting in season-ending surgery. D’Arnaud has been an All-Star at several levels during his climb through the minors.
The Los Angeles Angels and Texas also had been interested in Dickey before the Blue Jays swooped in.
Popular with Mets fans, Dickey perturbed team management when he spoke about his contract situation last week during a club event at Citi Field for children displaced from their schools by Superstorm Sandy.
Dickey said he enjoyed playing for the Mets and added it would be “disappointing” if he went through his option year without a new deal and became a free agent.