On December 23, 2009, the Mets organization signed a rather unsuccessful pitcher — who once had a promising career as a 1996 Texas Rangers first-round prospect — to a minor league contract, to help provide depth in their minor league system. After struggling in his first eight major league seasons — going 22-28 with three different American League teams — then-current general manager Omar Minaya, inked R.A. Dickey to a contract many fans did not seem to pay attention to. With a small deal — $600,000 in major league salary, plus performance bonuses — for a franchise, which had a 2010 payroll of over $126 million, you can understand why this deal failed to grab the attention of New York’s fan base. On May 19, 2010, New York purchased Dickey’s contract from Buffalo. That same day, Dickey started for the Mets against the Washington Nationals. Although credited with a no-decision, Dickey gave New York a quality start — going six innings while allowing just two runs on five hits — and received the opportunity to take the mound again for a second start, this time against the rival Philadelphia Phillies. Dickey went on to baffle a strong Phillies lineup to earn his first win as a New York Met. Since 2010, Dickey has surpassed the expectations of many throughout the world of baseball, serving as one of the most consistent Mets’ starters in his tenure with the organization.
Now in his third season with New York, Dickey currently serves as a number two starter — only behind ace Johan Santana— however, statically speaking Dickey has been performing like a ace, going 8-1 with a 2.69 ERA. According to the NY Post, Mets’ starter R.A. Dickey has already voiced his desire to remain with the franchise that gave him the opportunity to revitalize his career. “I like it here and I want to be here,” Dickey
told reporter Mike Puma. “I feel like the team is moving in the right direction, and I want to be a part of the solution. Now it’s up to them. If I’m in those plans, the contract is one way to let it be known.” Dickey is currently in the final year of a two-year deal, worth $7.8 million that served as an extension that avoided arbitration on January 31, 2011. Here’s the catch, while Dickey is in fact, in the final year of his deal — in which is he scheduled to make $4.25 million — New York holds a 2013 club option, worth five million.
Because of this, the front office has every right to feel as if extending his contract is not a top priority, at least for this year that is. Keep in mind, while Dickey has been everything the Mets organization could have ever asked for and more, he is currently 37-years-old. To his defense, it can be argued that Dickey has been the most dependable and reliable starter of the entire staff since joining the major league team. In his two-plus seasons with the Mets, Dickey has made 69 starts while logging a total of 456.3 innings, earning a 27-23 record in his career as a Met. After Dickey followed up Santana’s historic performance with a complete game shutout on Saturday afternoon, Dickey is now tied for first in quality starts (9) throughout the majors. Aside from his performance on the field, Dickey exemplifies what a “TRUE” role model should be. He is the definition of a team player that leads by example, with his high character and humble personality.
Personally, I love R.A., both as an athlete and a role model. He has most certainly become a fan favorite of many Mets fans, however, given the fact that the Mets hold a team option to retain his services for the 2013 season, I don’t feel it is necessary to further extend this contract right now. Especially, when ownership needs to do anything and everything to make all-star David Wright a life-long Met during the offseason. However, I don’t think Dickey’s production is going to decline in the year’s to come — despite his advanced age — given the fact that his primary pitch is the unique knuckleball, which will hopefully help him maintain his durability in the years to come. Having Dickey on board for the next few years is a must, it’s just not a priority that should be immediately addressed. He has definitely earned the right to have his 2013 option exercised, and down the line the Mets organization should address his contract. After all, Dickey’s leadership and veteran presence can be vital to the development of current top Mets prospects, such as Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jeurys Familia, when it’s time for them to report to “the show.” With the early success of the team, and historic pitching performance by Johan Santana on Friday night, Mets fans are believing it’s only going to get brighter from here on out.
Tags: Contract Extension David Wright Jeurys Familia Johan Santana Kevin Baez Matt Harvey New York Mets Omar Minaya Philadelphia Phillies R.A. Dickey Rising Apple Team Option Washington Nationals Zack Wheeler