DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The players inside Toronto's clubhouse are moving on after the Blue Jays were unable to sign free-agent pitcher Ervin Santana.
There was a large group of players who came out in recent days openly campaigning for the Blue Jays to acquire Santana. For some time, it appeared as though the two sides would get a deal done, but instead Santana opted to sign a one-year deal with the Braves on Wednesday.
That creates the possibility of disappointment taking over within the clubhouse, but starter R.A. Dickey doesn't think that will be the case because the club was already prepared to move forward with the status quo.
"It was always kind of a bonus for me," Dickey said of the possible addition. "I felt like, and so did our team, the people we have in the clubhouse, that we have what we need to do what we need to do. It was just going to be a bonus if he came. So, I'm not emoting one way or the other.
"It was just something that was going to give us some more depth and get some guys maybe some more time to get over some of the stuff that had been ailing them. But as far as feeling deflated, I wouldn't describe it as that for me personally."
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Wednesday morning that the reason he was given for Santana's decision to sign with Atlanta was because he had a "strong" desire to pitch in the National League. Dickey can sympathize with that following his three seasons with the Mets in the NL East, which is generally considered to be more of a pitcher-friendly division.
Dickey took an opposite approach to that of Santana when he joined the Blue Jays prior to the 2013 season. Dickey was traded to Toronto, but the only way the Blue Jays were going to pull the trigger on the deal was if he signed a contract extension. That was something Dickey decided to do because the allure of pitching in the American League East provided an interesting challenge.
It's worth nothing, though, that Dickey received long-term security with that move, while Santana will need to maintain his overall value after signing a contract for just one year. Dickey admitted their two situations were different.
"I can only speak for my own experience, and my own experience is that I wanted to challenge myself when I came to the AL East after being in the NL East for a while," Dickey said. "The AL East was my preference at that time. It's not that way with him and that's his prerogative.
"Can I see his preference? I certainly understand it. You get to face a pitcher every night, you don't have the DH and then the games are quicker and all that stuff, park's a little bit bigger. So, it makes sense logically for him on a one-year deal in particular."