TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Blue Jays signaled their intent to make a run at a World Series by landing Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey in a seven-player swap with the New York Mets on Monday.
Dickey, a 38-year-old knuckleball pitcher who went 20-6 with a 2.73 earned-run average last season, agreed to a three-year $29 million deal with a $12 million club option for 2016, the Blue Jays said in a statement.
The acquisition marks the third major offseason move by a Toronto team that is suddenly a contender in the American League East after years of toiling near the bottom of a tough division that includes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
In order to land the right-hander, Toronto parted ways with catcher John Buck, blue-chip prospects Travis D'Arnaud (catcher) and Noah Syndergaard (pitcher) and minor-league outfielder Wuilmer Beccera. The Mets also sent catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Blue Jays.
Dickey, who led the National League in strikeouts (230) last season and set a Mets franchise-record 32 2/3-inning scoreless streak, is only the fourth reigning Cy Young winner to be traded before the next season, joining David Cone, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.
The All-Star joins a Blue Jays team that revamped its lineup after acquiring pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle along with shortstop Jose Reyes as part of a 12-player blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last month.
The trade was followed shortly after with the signing of free agent All-Star slugger Melky Cabrera.
The Blue Jays have not made Major League Baseball's playoffs since winning the second of back-to-back World Series titles in 1993, but expectations will be now high with a rotation that will likely be Johnson, Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Buehrle and Ricky Romero.
Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Frank Pingue