Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue Jays land knuckleballer

Acquire Cy Young winner from Mets

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TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays have officially acquired Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, adding the 38-year-old knuckleballer to an improved starting rotation.

The New York Mets traded Dickey to Toronto for a package featuring prized young catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

The Blue Jays then signed the pitcher to a two-year contract extension for US$29 million, with a $12-million option for the 2016 season.

Dickey was already signed for US$5.25 million next year.

The Blue Jays also acquired catcher Josh Thole and minor-league catcher Mike Mickeas, while the Mets received catcher John Buck, minor-league right-hander Noah Syndergaard and minor-league outfielder Wuilmer Beccera.

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.

"We clearly are convinced this can be a front-line starter for us," said Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos on a conference call Monday night.

"I don't think he gets the credit or the respect he deserves because of his age and because of what he does throw. And I understand because it's so rare.

"But there's so much overwhelming data and evidence that points to him continuing to have this success."

Dickey is set to become part of a stellar rotation that includes recently acquired Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle and returning starters Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.

"Welcome to the Jays," Romero tweeted. "This pumps me up!!! One goal in mind... Win!!! That's all!!!"

Dickey thanked Mets fans for their backing on Twitter, while saying he was all set to pitch for the Blue Jays.

"Now that its official, I want to say that I don't have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support," Dickey tweeted. "Thank you for making me feel wanted."

"Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays."

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.

Last month, they acquired a high-priced trio of all-stars -- Johnson, Buehrle and former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes -- in a 12-player trade with the Miami Marlins.

Toronto then signed free agent Melky Cabrera, an all-star outfielder with San Francisco whose season ended when he was suspended 50 games for a positive testosterone test.

-- CP/AP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2012 C8

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