I recently got around to reading R.A. Dickey’s book, Wherever I Wind Up, and came away with the sense that after a career of baseball uncertainty, he’d be happy to sign a three-year deal with the Mets, enjoy the financial security which eluded him for years, and call it a day. For starters, I think R.A. appreciates the opportunities he’s enjoyed with the Mets. To a point, of course. Money talks and all that. Furthermore, R.A. is nobody’s fool. I’d bet a hundred clams that he fully realizes Citifield is a great ballpark for his skill set (he referenced Baseball Prospectus in his book). So I do believe he’s a guy we can retain and it’s not going to break the bank. I’d originally hoped that he’s sign a deal similar to Tim Hudson’s 2009 extension, which was in the 3 yr/$28 million range. Maybe R.A. needs a touch more than that. But he’s 38 years old. We’re offering him lifetime security right now, a bird in hand — not a year away. I think we’ve got some bargaining position here.
Dickey is such a hard one for me. Every fan-based bone in my body just wants him on the team, what a great guy to root for. But my logical side pulls me in the other direction. I think with an affordable $5 million dollar option for 2013 R.A. has real trade value. On top of that, all indications are that our current prospect pipeline is tilted heavily toward pitching. A trade of quality pitching for young hitting needs to happen and if Dickey can bring back a major league ready outfield propect for us I am ready to explore that type of trade. That player could be our Adam Jones, and yes, I understand he could also be our Matt Laporta. But we pay Alderson a lot of money to get this right, this is a chance for him to earn some of it.
Right now, in early November, a few key pieces are so interconnected that it’s difficult to discuss anything in isolation. So let’s assume that, like it or not, the Mets sign David Wright to a massive contract. If they miraculously sign Dickey too, there’s no more money — not for the pen, not for catcher, not for the outfield. We’re stuck in 2012 Land.
Obviously, Alderson must make at least one big move, as MLB standards dictate the Mets place three guys in the outfield for each game. So it becomes a question of trading Dickey or Niese, our two best chips. I certainly don’t want to give up the 26-year-old, improving lefty with the contract we control for the next six seasons (including options years). So that brings me back to trading Dickey — and I hate this. I really wish Dickey could stick around to anchor this exciting, young rotation for the next 2-3 years. Keep Dickey, keep Niese, keep Harvey, bring up Wheeler; flip Wright, invest that money in the roster, bring in complementary pieces. The fastest, surest way to get competitive is through wall-to-wall pitching; saying sayonara to our Cy Young pitcher (fingers crossed) feels like the wrong direction to me.
I want to be clear on this, I hate the idea of trading Dickey and hate the Wilpons because if we had real owners this would be a no-brainer. But things are what they are. As you mention any moves we make are interconnected and I don’t see how there are any series of moves that will upgrade the talent level significantly in 2013. That includes trading Wright which you keep hinting could help in the short term. I’d love to see that series of moves.
Now I don’t think for one second that trading Dickey will help us for 2013 either but in general I am reconciled to another rough season. The correct trade, where we get talent back that projects to help us really win in 2014 and beyond is acceptable to me. Hey, I love the guy and if they keep him I will not be upset at all, but I won’t scream if they move him. Pitching’s great but we need to field nine guys at all times.