Rangers-Mets Trade Looking Unlikely

There wasn’t much news to report about the Mets yesterday, other than the fact that Ike Davis and R.A. Dickey will be elves for John Franco, who is playing Santa Claus, during the annual Christmas party at Citi Field today. However, after the Rays and Royals pulled off the blockbuster trade that included top prospect Wil Myers and starter James Shields, it looks more unlikely a deal will be done between the Rangers and Mets.

Now that Zack Greinke is off the free agent market, GM Jon Daniels is more focused on getting outfield help, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports it wouldn’t be a shock if Texas was able to complete a trade for Justin Upton and re-sign Josh Hamilton, as they could be willing to overpay for both. When it comes to pitching, they are seemingly less interested in R.A. Dickey because of the package they would have to give up to acquire him. There is an interest in Anibal Sanchez, but Daniels is rumored to be looking for a low-cost kind of pitcher via trade, such as Chris Capuano.

Why does it look like the Rangers could land Upton? The Diamondbacks are rumored to want a shorstop in any deal for Upton, and Daniels has already balked at including either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, so they’re getting creative with a three-team trade between Arizona, Texas, and the Cleveland Indians, which almost happened last week at the Winter Meetings.

The deal, as I understand it, could include Asdrubal Cabrera being sent to the Dbacks, Mike Olt and either Trevor Bauer or Patrick Corbin being shipped to Cleveland, and Upton heading to Arlington. The Rangers think Olt has a promising future, but with Adrian Beltre signed through 2015 at third base and Ian Kinsler possibly moving to first base (while being signed through 2017), there’s no room for him at the MLB level, so they’d rather deal him while his stock is high. However, Daniels obviously feels Olt himself is enough to acquire the impact bat or arm he desires for 2013, as they allegedly were willing to deal him to New York for Dickey straight-up, but that’s it.

It makes sense on both sides; for the Rangers, you can use the same prospect and either get a young outfielder with 30-HR potential, or use him in a package of players to get a 38-year-old knuckleballer. The scale is tipping hard in the direction of Upton. For Sandy Alderson, he just saw what the Royals gave up to acquire Shields, and outside of comparing age, Dickey is a more attractive option, and has a Cy Young award to boot.

Since his asking price is so high, I expect Dickey to remain a Met for 2013, and continue to ask the question as to whether or not Sandy was truly serious in dealing him. He didn’t actively shop the knuckler, as teams have been coming to him to talk about his availability and worth on the trade market. Whereas any other Cy Young winner would easily bring back the package of prospects the Mets were rumored to be looking for, Dickey’s situation (being older and throwing a knuckleball) has opposing teams being wary, even though he showed the legitimacy of the knuckleball over the last three seasons. If a team is willing to overpay (I’m looking at you, Blue Jays) though, Alderson won’t blink to give him a one-way ticket out of Flushing.

In regards to extension talks for Dickey, Andy Martino tweeted earlier this week that talks between the two camps have resumed and “modest progress” has been made, but Jim Bowden of ESPN said the complete opposite; there has been no progress made in talks and the two sides haven’t even talked since the Winter Meetings concluded last week. It’s rumored Dickey wants two-years and $26 million on top of his $5 million contract for 2013, which is very reasonable when we see this winter’s price for top tier pitching. However, reporters are saying all different things, as some say the two sides have reached a common ground in negotiations, while others say they’re still far a part with no progress made.

It’s tough to figure out which rumors are true and which aren’t, but taking a page from what we saw unfold with David Wright, the Mets can move very quickly to find a resolution. Although I think Sandy’s preference is to hold onto R.A., he’s going to wait and see if the Rangers or Blue Jays cave and overpay for him. Once both of these scenarios play out, I expect an extension to be offered to Dickey if he’s still in the Orange and Blue, and for the terms to be agreeable on all sides. There is no way he’ll go into 2013 unsigned. Until then, it’s going to be rumors on top of rumors.

All I can say at this point is that I’m tired of hearing the same thing day after day, which is the same feeling I had right before Wright agreed to an extension. I can only hope we’re that close to a resoution, and I’m sure R.A. could echo those sentiments.

Topics: Mike Olt, New York Mets, R.A. Dickey

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