Patient Dickey hoping to remain with Mets
Negotiations proving slow-going as Cy Young winner waits to hear back from team
NEW YORK -- Though R.A. Dickey initially expected a contract extension with the Mets to be all but done by now, December is mere days away. Snow fell Tuesday on New York City. And Dickey still has no gut feeling whether he will sign an extension at all.
"I wish I could say it's 60-40 or 70-30, but the truth is I'm not real sure," Dickey said at an event to promote literacy at DREAM Charter School in Harlem. "Between the trade talks and where we are in our own negotiations, I don't feel great. I don't feel terrible. I'm just right in the middle -- I really don't know."
What the knuckleballer does know, two months into the offseason, is that he still wants to be a Met. Dickey said he and the team have traded offers, and he is currently waiting to hear back from them. He is also adamant about not wanting to negotiate once next season starts, and -- although Dickey hinted at wanting one -- he stopped short of saying he would seek a no-trade clause in any extension.
"At the end of the day, this is where I want to be," Dickey said. "But again, I have to preface that by saying you never want to be taken advantage of."
Because general manager Sandy Alderson said on the final day of the regular season that he envisioned talks moving quickly with both Dickey and third baseman David Wright, the knuckleballer expected to know his fate well in advance of the Winter Meetings.
But while the Meetings are scheduled to begin Monday in Dickey's hometown of Nashville, no resolution appears close. The Mets reportedly made their first official offer to Wright on Monday, and Dickey has exchanged firm numbers with the Mets one time. But that is all.
"Sandy and those guys, they have their very intentional agenda of things," Dickey said. "We're just trying to be as patient as we can, and hopefully it ends up in a place where I'm a Met."
It is worth noting that Dickey's situation is unique, given his age (38), background and the fact that he typically throws his signature knuckleball with more velocity than anyone in history. There is therefore no precedent for the Mets to gauge how he may age, because Dickey's skill set is so unlike that of any previous knuckleballer in history.
All the Mets have to go on are the last three summers, which saw Dickey go 39-28 with 2.95 ERA in 616 2/3 innings, markedly improving each year. He won the Cy Young Award earlier this month on the strength of his 20-6 record, 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings.
But Dickey has also pitched through injuries in each of the past two seasons, undergoing surgery last month to repair a torn abdominal muscle that had bothered him since April. So given his advanced age, injury risk and the fact that he is coming off a career year, Dickey understands why the Mets might consider trading him for a premium package of prospects or Major League talent.
"Look, I get it," he said. "If Sandy Alderson wanted to trade me tomorrow and get prospects for me, I get it. That's what he's employed to do -- he's employed to research and find every opportunity to make the New York Mets better. I completely understand the business side of it."
He is living that business side on a day-to-day basis, negotiating with the Mets and hoping for a resolution -- all with no gut feeling as to whether it will come. Dickey would like the Mets to sign him to a long-term extension. But he would also understand if they decided to trade him.
"I would be sad about that, certainly," Dickey said. "But at the same time, there would be no acrimony or animosity about the move, because I get it. I understand that. But he knows my heart, and I've made it very public that I enjoy being here and want to be a part of the solution going forward."