It has been stated that pitching wins championships, and for that reason, there have been a number of big-time starters on the trade market. Throughout the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have been connected to R.A. Dickey (h/t Buster Olney of ESPN).
Dickey is a very difficult pitcher to value. He is coming off a Cy Young season, but he is also 38 years old. However, Dickey is a knuckleballer and they are known to pitch at a high level into their 40s. There is also the fact that Dickey is set to become a free agent after the season.
New York is still expecting a big return for Dickey, and according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Mets could be looking for J.P. Arencibia and Anthony Gose from the Blue Jays in a deal.
This might be a high price for the Blue Jays to pay, but at this point in time both Arencibia and Gose are expendable.
Although the Jays would have liked to give top prospect Travis D'Arnaud more time in the minors, he can start in the majors if Toronto deals Arencibia. That might not even need to occur as the Blue Jays can use John Buck as their starter until D'Arnaud is ready.
Toronto already has Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera penciled into their outfield and Rajai Davis coming off the bench, so there is currently no spot on their roster for Gose.
The Blue Jays have already made some massive improvements this offseason by acquiring Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Miami Marlins. After this deal, the Blue Jays had a serious case to be considered favorites in the AL East.
Following the Tampa Bay Rays' trade of James Shields and Wade Davis for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard, there could be a shift in the balance of power in the AL East (h/t Jerry Crasnick of ESPN). This is a move that could pay off massively for the Rays in the future, but it has hurt their starting rotation and bullpen in the short term.
Toronto has the opportunity to jump over the Rays and become the favorite for the 2013 season if it makes one big move. Should the Blue Jays acquire Dickey, they would have the ace that they are looking for.
The reigning National League Cy Young award winner is the piece that will put the Blue Jays over the edge. Toronto would need to be considered a serious World Series contender if it makes this move.
On top of improving their rotation, the Blue Jays trading for Dickey would mean that the Texas Rangers would need to look elsewhere for a starting pitcher. There are other options on the free agent and trade markets, but none are as good as Dickey.
Considering that the Los Angeles Angels lost three of their starters this winter (Dan Haren, Zack Greinke and Ervin Santana), it is hard to see them being placed above the Blue Jays.
Even with as talented as the Detroit Tigers' lineup is, the Blue Jays' pitching staff with Dickey would potentially be able to neutralize it. While the Blue Jays may not be ranked above the Tigers to begin the year, it would be a very close call.
Just a year after winning only 73 games, the Blue Jays have an opportunity to put themselves in a very strong position to be the AL East representative in the 2013 World Series.