Dickey says it’s official: He’s a Blue Jay

TORONTO – National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey is the latest piece in the Toronto Blue Jays’ unprecedented off-season buildup, acquired Monday in a costly seven-player deal with the New York Mets completed when he signed a US$29-million, two-year extension beginning in 2014 with a $12 million club option for 2016.

The Blue Jays officially announced the trade and terms of Dickey’s contract extension in a release Monday evening.

The 38-year-old knuckleballer provides a major boost to a revamped rotation previously bolstered by the additions of Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle through the franchise-altering 12-player blockbuster with the Miami Marlins last month.

Combined with Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero, the Blue Jays can make a pretty strong case for the deepest five man rotation in baseball, with left-hander J.A. Happ forced to the bullpen waiting as an enviable No. 6.

Factor in the additions of shortstop Jose Reyes, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, infielder Maicer Izturis and backup catcher John Buck, and a roster that came undone amid a slate of injuries last season now looks well beyond deep.

While the price in prospects was hefty – catcher Travis d’Arnaud, right-hander Noah Syndergaard, 18-year-old outfielder Wuilmer Becerra, along with veteran John Buck for Dickey, personal catcher Josh Thole and Canadian catcher Mike Nickeas – there’s value in the affordability of the right-hander’s contract.

Dickey will earn $5 million in 2013 — $1.5 million less than Buck – meaning the three-year tab on him will be $30 million, well below what top-flight pitchers have been getting on the free agent market. Consider that Zack Greinke signed for $147 million over six years from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anibal Sanchez, someone the Blue Jays had interest in, took $80 million over five from the Detroit Tigers, and the price paid to the Mets makes some sense.

Further upping the trade price was the four-prospect package fronted by uber talent Wil Myers the Kansas City Royals shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis. With that as a market-setter, the Blue Jays paid the very expensive going rate for an elite arm.

Depending on how Dickey’s extension is structured, the Blue Jays now have $119.1 million in payroll commitments to 19 players, including Darren Oliver, who is still pondering retirement, and arbitration projections for Colby Rasmus, Happ and Emilio Bonifacio.

They also have $102.5 million guaranteed to 11 players in 2014, and $89.25 million committed to seven players in 2015. The Blue Jays spent roughly $85 million on the 25-man roster in 2012.

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