NEW YORK — R.A. Dickey picked up his phone on Saturday, and New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson told the NL Cy Young Award winner he had 72 hours to negotiate a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“OK, here we go. I probably am never going to be a Met again,” Dickey remembered thinking. “I think I had a wash of just numbness come over me, really.”
A day after he was traded to Toronto and finalized a $30 million, three-year contract with the Blue Jays, the 38-year-old knuckleballer talked about his exit from New York after three seasons that revived his career and made him a fan favorite. And he discussed the stimulation he will get from joining a contender.
“I think it’s important for me to grieve leaving New York,” he said Tuesday. “I had a proverbial home there. I had a home among fans. I had a home in an organization. I had a lot of success there, and I think it’s important for me to be sad about that for a moment before I move on to the next feeling.”
And that next feeling is glee about joining the amped-up Blue Jays, who have added five All-Stars during the offseason, with Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera preceding Dickey north.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of an organization that’s committed to winning and putting a product on the field that the fans can be excited about,” Dickey said. “A lot of people say these things at the beginning of spring training and the beginning of all new things, but I think in this particular case that the reason it feels so good is because it’s so true, and you don’t feel like you’re trying to convince yourself of the things that you’re saying.”
After going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and leading the NL with 230 strikeouts, Dickey was scheduled to earn $5.25 million next year with the Mets. At first they offered a deal adding $14 million over two years.
“I didn’t necessarily take that first offer as a convincing slap in the face,” he said.
New York later increased its offer to an additional $20 million over two years, still short what Dickey wanted. And the pace of talks was slower than one of his knuckleballs.
“I wasn’t real sure why because we didn’t hear any urgency on their part to try to bring this thing to a close one way or the other,” Dickey said. “And that’s when I kind of started trying to put two and two together.”
Trade talks escalated after the Mets’ Dec. 11 holiday party, when Dickey told reporters he likely would leave as a free agent after next season if he didn’t have a new deal. In retrospect, he felt unprepared to speak with media that day.
“I must admit to you and repent the timing because I feel badly about using a time such as that to become emotional, and I want to apologize for that because that wasn’t the venue necessarily to do that,” he said.
Lannan gets one-year deal: In Philadelphia, pitcher John Lannan and the Philadelphia Phillies have finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract.
The 28-year-old lefty was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six starts for the NL East-champion Washington Nationals this year. He also made 24 starts for Triple-A Syracuse, going 9-11 with a 4.30 ERA.
Lannan’s deal includes performance incentives. He gets $200,000 each for 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190 innings, $250,000 each for 200 and 210 innings and $250,000 for 31-34 starts.
Lannan is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 games — all starts — in six seasons for Washington. He was 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA against Philadelphia, 39-39 with a 3.80 ERA against the rest of the majors.
Hernandez signs contract: In St. Petersburg, Fla., the Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-hander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
The one-year deal announced Tuesday is worth $3.25 million.
The 32-year-old Hernandez has pitched seven years in the majors, all with Cleveland. He was 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA last season.
Hernandez was arrested last winter in the Dominican Republic on false identity charges. They were dropped after he completed a work program.
Major League Baseball later suspended him for three weeks. Hernandez sprained his right ankle in August and missed the rest of the year.
Hernandez is 53-69 with a 4.64 ERA in the majors. He was 19-8 with a 3.06 in 1997 when last Cleveland made the playoffs.
REPORT: BOSTON agreeS to deal with Drew: In Boston, the Red Sox moved forward with their strategy of giving free agents short-term contracts by reaching a $9.5 million, one-year agreement with shortstop Stephen Drew.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Drew will take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not complete.
Boston also finalized a $4.25 million, one-year contract with 37-year-old reliever Koji Uehara, a deal agreed to two weeks ago atr the winter meetings.
Drew hit .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games for the Oakland Athletics last season after being traded by Arizona on Aug. 20. In 40 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit .193 with two homers and 12 RBIs. Drew, 29, is the brother of former Boston outfielder J.D. Drew and had been with Arizona for his entire big career until the trade.
In seven seasons, Drew is hitting .265 with 77 homers and 349 RBIs. In addition to his salary, he could earn a $500,000 bonus.
if he has 500 plate appearances.