DICKEY: Evaluating the trade option. (AP)
I don’t believe the Mets will trade R.A. Dickey at the Winter Meetings, but I won’t be surprised if that is the end result this winter.
Rarely do general managers talk about trading players by name, let alone a key player such as Dickey, but after hearing Sandy Alderson’s comments last night that’s where I am leaning despite his obvious qualifier.
“Well, we expect to talk to a lot of teams about a lot of different things,’’ Alderson told reporters last night in Nashville. “That’s why we’re here – to explore various combinations. I would suspect, yes, we will have conversations about R.A. That doesn’t mean we would prefer to go in that direction or reconcile to go in that direction.’’
Ideally, Alderson would like a quick resolution, but realizes that might be difficult depending on the scenarios presented him this week.
“It could go on for a while. I just can’t predict. … R.A’s situation needs to be resolved, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be resolved here in Nashville before Thursday,” Alderson said. “I think we’ll have a lot more information by the end of Thursday both in terms of his negotiation as well as other options. But I don’t think we have to have resolution by Thursday.’’
The most encouraging thing said by Alderson is he doesn’t think they are at an impasse, despite the slowness of the negotiations. There’s still dialogue between the sides and that’s what’s important.
From both perspectives, the magic number is 38, as in Dickey’s age.
Looking at it from Dickey’s side, at 38 and coming off the best year of his career, he realizes this could be his last opportunity at a payday. That’s why he’d like three years with at least $10 million per.
From the Mets’ perspective, at 38, they don’t know how much he has left. And, they don’t know what to expect of him. The knuckleball is a factor because of its unpredictability. We’re not talking Phil Niekro, who did it for years. Although Dickey takes care of himself, there’s a wear-and-tear on the body pitching at that age, regardless of the pitch. It is a myth that a knuckleball can pitch deep into his 40s.
Dickey produced in 2010 and 2011, but 2012 was a breakout year. The 2010 and 2011 Dickey was not worth $10 million a season.
The Mets saddled themselves with huge but non-productive contracts before and don’t want to repeat that mistake. One year does not a career make, so the Mets are warranted for being cautious.
The Mets have several questions they must answer before committing to Dickey long-term:
* Just how good are the Mets without Dickey and could he push them into contention? If the Mets believe they can finish fourth with or without him, then that works against the pitcher. However, if they believe there’s enough here to exceed .500 and push for a wild-card, they should sign him.
* Just what could Dickey bring in a trade? The same reasons the Mets are reluctant to commit long-term are the same issues preventing teams from going overboard in a deal.
In the eyes of prospective trade partners, Dickey is a 38-year-old one-year wonder.
* With or without Dickey, the Mets have pitching questions. What will they get in Johan Santana’s last year? How will Dillon Gee rebound from injury? Can Jon Niese reach the next level? How will Matt Harvey progress? The Mets might have their ideas, but don’t know for sure. That works in Dickey’s favor.
I believe the Mets are better with Dickey than without him, but I also know they won’t fully commit to the free-agent market until Jason Bay and Santana are off the books. Therefore, I definitely see why the Mets would want to explore their trade options.