There is no denying that R.A. Dickey is having a superb season. Now in his third season with the New York Mets, Dickey has compiled a record of 34-26 with a 3.02 ERA. It would be an understatement to say Dickey has been everything and more for New York. Dickey’s presence is felt beyond every fifth day he takes the mound, as he gives the Mets clubhouse a voice of professionalism and leadership. Yes, all of these factors make Dickey more expensive when discussing a contract extension, however, Dickey’s current contract includes a 2013 club option worth $5 million.
Shortly after Johan Santana threw his historic no-hitter performance, in my post entitled “Dickey wants contract extension, is it time for the Mets to offer?,” I voiced my opinion on this same exact topic. Given the fact that it was still relatively early in the season, I believed that picking up his 2013 option was a no-brainer, but I didn’t think it was a top priority to lock up Dickey to a long-term contract. Now that the season is winding down — as the Mets continue to fall out of contention — the offseason priorities are now being outlined. Given the situation New York is in at the moment, it is clear Sandy Alderson and his staff have plenty — and higher — priorities to take care before extending Dickey.
While David Wright also has an option for next season, is it urgent for New York to lock up Wright to a long-term deal in hopes of making him a life-long Met. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Wright’s decision on whether or not to stay with the Mets will be about having the chance to win, and not about getting the most lucrative contract possible. With that openly stated, the biggest priority for Alderson should be to prove to Wright — and the Mets fan base — that he has every intention of making significant improvements to the Mets’ roster in hopes of putting a contender together for 2013.
This isn’t an easy task, but that is the reason Alderson was bought in. Granted, a lot of getting this objective done has to do with owner Fred Wilpon, and his willingness to give Alderson flexibility with the upcoming payroll for next year. I understand attendance has been down — compared to last season — but Wilpon is the biggest sports market. If he wants fans to come out to Citi Field, he needs to get his message clear to fans that he is willing to do anything to put a competitive team together for 2013. I am not saying to go into free-agency willing to spend anything and everything for free-agents, as signing free-agents don’t always work out the way we would have like them to — Jason Bay — but the Mets’ front office needs to start making smart business decisions — via trades and low end, high reward signings —along with selective spending. The one thing I give Alderson credit for, thus far, is how he decided not to sign Jose Reyes to a 100+ million contract. Yes, it was unfortunate to see him sign elsewhere, but Reyes — given his injury history — isn’t worth a long-term deal, similar to the one signed with the Miami Marlins.
New York needs to fix both the bullpen and outfield — all three positions — as both areas are beyond weaknesses for this team. All of these priorities are more urgent than signing Dickey to an extension. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Dickey in a Mets uniform in the years to come, but given the fact that he has an option for next season in his current contract, it isn’t a priority at the moment. As great of a season he has had, we could very well see him have a down season next year. I’m not saying this is going to happen, but it could happen. One thing is certain, Sandy Alderson and company have tons of work to do in the offseason.