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updated: 12/19/2012 3:08 AM

Blue Jays getting better by the day

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  • This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacting to fans as he celebrates his 20th victory of the season after the Mets 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Dickey and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract, clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the Cy Young winner to Toronto. The 38-year-old knuckleballer must pass a physical before he joins the Blue Jays. The Mets would get prized catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multiplayer swap.

      This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacting to fans as he celebrates his 20th victory of the season after the Mets 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Dickey and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract, clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the Cy Young winner to Toronto. The 38-year-old knuckleballer must pass a physical before he joins the Blue Jays. The Mets would get prized catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multiplayer swap.
    Associated Press

 
 

All in all, the 2012 baseball season was a forgettable one in Chicago.

The upstart White Sox actually were one of the better stories in the majors for the first five-plus months, but losing 11 of their last 15 and missing the playoffs made for a miserable final chapter.

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As for the Cubs, well, there's always next year. Again.

As it stands now, however, Sox and Cubs fans should be setting their sights on 2014. Maybe 2015. Or beyond.

Both local clubs have made some minor repairs this off-season -- the White Sox added Jeff Keppinger to replace new Yankee Kevin Youkilis at third base, and the Cubs filled out their starting rotation with Scott Baker and Scott Feldman while bringing in potential closer Kyuji Fujikawa from Japan.

But when you look around at the other teams such as the Angels, who added Josh Hamilton, the Dodgers, who added Zack Greinke, and even the Tigers, who landed Torii Hunter, it's safe to say both the Sox and the Cubs now are treading in even deeper waters.

And don't forget about the Blue Jays, who just might jump up and win the World Series next season.

Toronto already swooped in and plucked Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio from the moribund Marlins. They also signed Maicer Izturis and took a chance on talented outfielder Melky Cabrera, an MVP candidate with the Giants last season before being suspended 50 games for PED use.

With the Yankees and Red Sox in surprising states of decline, the Jays already were looking like the team to beat in the AL East next season.

Now, Toronto is aiming even higher after landing another big name Monday: starting pitcher R.A. Dickey.

The Blue Jays had to send two of their best minor-league prospects, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, to the Mets for Dickey, but they are getting the NL's Cy Young Award winner.

A 38-year-old knuckleballer, Dickey was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for New York last season.

After years of losing and declining attendance, the Jays have suddenly become a powerhouse franchise again.

Money grab:

Just when it looked like the Cubs and free-agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez came to terms last week, the right-hander agreed to return to his old team, the Tigers.

Detroit reportedly signed Sanchez for $80 million over five years, while the Cubs came in at $77 million over five.

Word out of Detroit on Monday was Sanchez turned down an offer for more than $80 million from a third team, likely the Red Sox or the Rangers.

Ultimately, you really have to wonder how a pitcher with a lifetime 48-51 record became the target of a bidding war.

Adams update:

The White Sox and Cubs both were rumored to be interested in veteran relief pitcher Mike Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies.

The Sox could use a veteran arm at the back of the bullpen, but they still need another left-handed bat or two, especially if free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski signs elsewhere.

Taking a pass on Adams probably is a good thing for the South and North Siders. He is 34 with a lot of mileage on his right arm and a history of shoulder trouble. Adams sounds a lot like Scott Linebrink, who never stayed healthy enough to help the White Sox.

Comings and goings:

The Pirates are shopping all-star closer Joel Hanrahan, and the Dodgers are interested. The Tigers are likely to check in as well. … Nick Swisher appears to be in serious talks with the Indians, who are looking for a new right fielder after trading Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds last week. … Edwin Jackson has bounced around between seven different teams in the last eight seasons, including the White Sox for parts of 2010-11. The Padres look like the next landing stop for the right-handed starter. … Now that they've signed Josh Hamilton, the Angels are listening to trade offers for outfielders Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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