The GM Meetings are wrapping up today in California, and there have been plenty of rumors going around surrounding the Mets. The main ones we’ve been hearing involves NL Cy Young favorite R.A. Dickey being dealt instead of trying to negotiate a contract extension. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York supplied a nice summary of the topics Alderson spoke about, which included the following:
Talks with David Wright have been progressing into negotiating dollars and cents. The GM did mention he also made a trip down to Virginia to speak with David in person, most likely talking more about the future of the organization and their strategic plan moving forward. The Mets and Wright’s representation have agreed to not make public comments about the contract talks, so that’s as far as he went with that topic.
As for R.A. Dickey, Ken Rosenthal, among others, have publicized that the Mets are not very interested in agreeing to an extension with the knuckler because they haven’t talked to him much, but are more inclined to deal him this winter, looking for a catcher and outfielder in return. I was watching MLB Network last night, and when talking about the possibility of Dickey being traded, no one mentioned that Alderson is still intent on trying to extend him. He’s focused on extending Wright first before he moves on to Dickey. That’s typical media taking the most juicy part of a story and blowing it up. We knew Sandy would listen to opposing teams this week if they inquired about Wright or Dickey, but it is known amongst his fellow executives he’s still determined to re-sign both. When asked about trading their ace of the staff from 2012, Alderson said “I think it’s way too early to tell and at this point, our focus — almost exclusive focus — has been to try to re-sign him at this point.”
And the same goes for Wright, despite both players being rather different in multiple aspects, whether it be age, position, or impact on the team moving forward. With half the 2013 payroll tied up between Johan Santana and Jason Bay (even though he’s now a free agent), the Mets are aiming to operate at the $100 million mark, which doesn’t leave much wiggle room this year. Outside of trying to extend Dickey and Wright, Alderson has already said New York won’t spend much of anything. Buying out Jason Bay does give them some more flexibility since part of the money will be getting deferred, but not enough flexibility to go after someone like Josh Hamilton.
It was revealed yesterday that the Mets approached Bay about buying out his contract, and instead of bringing him to Spring Training to try and milk every last bit of value from the worst free agent signing in Mets history, Alderson felt it was better for both the player and organization to cut ties now instead of bringing that kind of media circus to camp, which makes a lot of sense. Now, we won’t have to watch Bay struggle on a daily basis, then have to answer questions about it, and we won’t have to see Terry Collins pencil him in as a starter in left field when there are young players like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda that could benefit from that playing time. It was also stated that Duda will be a big part of New York’s plans heading into 2013, and Captain Kirk may be the starting center fielder for the Amazins next season. In regards to Scott Hairston, Alderson said that releasing Bay could make it more feasible to bring him back next year, but that’s probably only if he isn’t satisfied with offers from other teams.
Basically, that’s a whole lot of news, but not a whole lot of news we didn’t already know about. We are aware about the negotiations for Wright and Dickey, and the possibility of Dickey being traded if the two sides don’t agree to an extension. Talk around the GM Meetings put R.A.’s asking price at 4-years/$50 million, but sources close to the Mets feel they can sign him for something in the 2-year/$20-30 million range. So, we’ll see.
As for the Jason Bay stuff, we knew this was coming, it was just a matter of time. No matter how much money the Mets owed him, I would have been incredibly surprised if he made the team out of camp. I just didn’t expect his release to come this soon, but this works out for both sides in the end. Now that he’s gone, of course it makes it easier to see Hairston returning. If there are no potential deals that entice Alderson enough to trade away a young pitcher for a catcher and outfield bat, then maybe he can convince him to return to Flushing on a one-year deal, giving him the opportunity to start.
This is the beauty of hot stove, people! Even though no games are being played, there is plenty to talk about. As I was watching all of this news being reported on MLB Network last night, my roommate was amazed at how much was going on. That’s why the only thing better than baseball season is hot stove season. Now that the GM Meetings are wrapping up, we’ll see which rumors will end up being true, and which ones are just smoke and mirrors as we move toward the Winter Meetings at the start of December.