Sandy Alderson and the Mets have been very busy this week in Nashville, despite not making any moves. They’ve had numerous conversations with other teams regarding potential trades, and while nothing has come to pass, and Alderson said yesterday he wouldn’t be surprised if New York leaves the Winter Meetings with nothing more than making the David Wright extension official. While there is nothing wrong with that, how the situation with R.A. Dickey is playing out isn’t cool.
The biggest part of the Wright negotiations was that most of it was virtually kept under wraps, before the two sides agreed to an 8-year/$138 million deal early last Friday morning. At the same time, the organization was able to do the same with the negotiations for Dickey; they were slow moving, but most of the details were kept private. With Dickey not agreeing to an extension before the Winter Meetings, it was understood Alderson planned to chat with other teams to see what kind of return he could get back for his Cy Young winner. The consensus is the asking price is high, as the Mets are looking for difference makers. However, as I wouldn’t mind seeing Dickey stay in Flushing and sign an extension, this would be the only way I’d be OK with him being dealt away.
However, with the countless rumors that have been surrounding the knuckleballer since Monday morning, Alderson and Jeff Wilpon have seemingly been debating Dickey’s future with the team publicly. Eight teams have come forth to talk about acquiring R.A. in a trade, and while there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to what other teams will offer and how they’ll react to requests from the Mets, it seems front office executives are changing their opinion every other time a microphone is put in their face.
First, it seemed as if Dickey would be signed and Jonathon Niese would be their biggest trade chip. Then, Alderson arrived in Nashville and was engaged in more trade talks for R.A., rightfully putting the extension talks on the back burner for the time being. As those talks haven’t reached the final stages, we heard the Mets and Dickey have agreed on the number of years for an extension, but not the dollar amount; Jeff Wilpon said it wouldn’t be surprising if they went into next season without an extension agreed upon. Now, the latest news from MLB Trade rumors is New York is holding onto one acceptable trade offer after a week of underwhelming ones, but Alderson doesn’t want to deal him.
I understand that even though the trade they’re currently sitting on is reasonable, it’s probably not significant enough for Alderson to pull the trigger and risk losing a valuable piece to his rotation. I get it. However, using this to seemingly scare Dickey and Bo McKinnis (his agent) into agreeing to a deal worth less money is ridiculous. McKinnis has said, the Mets are offering two-years for $20 million and they are looking for about $30 million over the same span of time. Now, it appears they’d be able to sign him if they offer $26 million on top of his $5 million option for 2013.
If that’s true, then just sign him! If their preference is to retain him, a $6 million difference shouldn’t be the reason why it’s not happening. Matt Cerrone explained his thoughts on the situation very well here. This needs to stop dragging on and on so Alderson’s full focus can be fixing the outfield next. I’m speaking as just a fan; I don’t have any inside sources to the Mets’ thinking, but on the outside and in the court of public opinion, it’s unfair to make Dickey go through the process the way it has transpired publicly. Alderson has been having discussions with teams that don’t include R.A. Dickey, and since he didn’t want to deal him at the first sight of an acceptable offer, it’s clear that he can eventually get what he needs using other players instead.
We’ve continued to look at the potential negatives of extending a 38-year-old pitcher, but on the other side of the coin, Dickey is only about 27-years-old in knuckleball years, since he’s only been throwing it for about 5 seasons. He’s entering his prime with the pitch, and he’s in an awesome part of his career where his knowledge and wisdom of the game is at the same level of his ability, which is what helped him win the Cy Young.
So, is there a chance he could be a bust if he’s signed to an extension? That’s always that possibility. If I had to take a side as to whether Dickey will continue to be a productive part of a rotation or not, I would say yes. The Mets have explored the trade market to no avail, so it’s time to stop playing games in the media, get down to business, and extend the anchor of their pitching staff to make him feel secure and be able to have his focus on pitching, not his uncertain future.