The Mets find themselves with two critical decisions to make this offseason. The easier of the two appears to be resigning home grown altar boy, David Wright, to an expensive yet semi-reasonable contract which keeps him at the hot corner for the remainder of his career. This negotiation, while complicated, is aided by the fact that both sides seem to be on the same page. The same can’t necessarily be said for the future of RA Dickey.
With the news that the Mets and Dickey appear to be some distance apart on both years and dollars, something will have to give for this to work itself out before spring training. That ‘something’ will likely have to be the Mets’ front office if Dickey is to continue hurling his knuckleball in Queens past the 2013 season. In reality, as long as he doesn’t experience a significant fall from grace, Dickey is almost assured to receive a deal of three years or more from another team come this time next year. So how should the Mets proceed?
Whether or not RA has earned a three year extension in excess of $30 million dollars can be debated, but that’s not my point. The Cy Young hopeful is the definition of why teams take flyers on journeyman pitchers each year. On the off chance that a player can finally piece it together, an organization can find itself with a diamond in the rough, as the Mets do with Dickey right now.
Entering the final year of his current contract, the Mets have only three possible avenues from here. Stroke the eclectic knuckler the extension he so desires, trade him away at the height of his value or bring him back for the final year of his career and hope he eases his stance on mid-season negotiations. Only the latter of the three would be a loss for the Mets.
You see if the team signs Dickey to another extension, they retain not only a Cy Young Award caliber pitcher, but also a personality that transcends the game. That personality, as much as his talent drives fans into the ballpark and provides the organization with a unique opportunity on a roster devoid of most other star power. If the team were to trade RA, they’d be doing so at the perfect moment. Coming off the best season of his now storied career, the Mets could likely demand, and receive, a king’s ransom that would go a long way in repairing the rest of the roster next season and beyond.
Yes, the only way the Mets lose here is if there is no finality to Dickey’s situation when the team reassembles in Port St. Lucie in five months time. As they should have learned with Jose Reyes’ departure, the uncertainty of what lies ahead can snowball out of control, grip the fan base, and drive yet another rift between the team and its fans. Move forward, with or without Dickey, but do so with conviction. Either lock up the front of your rotation for a few more years, or bring in the talent to make the “team” better by trade and use the $10 million plus elsewhere. Either way, do it now, and avoid the proverbial no win situation the team seems to always worm it’s way into.
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