It’s about how to be better, not a referendum on Dickey

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

There has been modest progress since the end of the winter meetings in talks between the Mets and R.A. Dickey’s agent about a contract extension,” according to people familiar with that process, Andy Martino reports in the Daily News.

Dickey Jersey Circle

The way I understand it, from people around the team, the Mets and Dickey more or less see eye to eye on guaranteeing two years (2014 and 2015). I believe the Mets are willing to give a third-year option, which could bring the deal’s overall value to $35 million.

Dickey initially wanted close to $40 million over the next four years, guaranteed; but he’s also said to desperately want a deal done before Opening Day. He knows he again be seen as a fluke if he struggles in 2013 or gets injured, and then he’ll likely miss his opportunity at a big pay day. So, I think he’ll take what he can get now… so long as he thinks it’s close to fair.

At the same time, for the Mets, this isn’t just about Dickey, money, and whether they think he’ll be good enough the next few years.

Instead, the debate is really about how to be a better overall baseball team.

If you think the Mets need more young hitters (because they have so few today), and Dickey (or Jon Niese) can help deliver those hitters in trade, then you make the trade. If you think Dickey or Niese will be more valuable on the mound during the next three to six years compared to the talent coming back in a proposed trade, you don’t make the deal, you keep your pitching in tact, and you turn to the weaker free agent market for a short-term bat.

For instance, the Mets are looking for top hitting prospects Mike Olt, 25, and Leonys Martin, 24, from the Rangers, according to John Harper of the Daily News.

sandy-alderson1However, the Rangers have not countered that proposal, Ken Davidoff says in a report for the New York Post.

To be more specific, from what I can gather as of yesterday, the Mets and Rangers (and Mets and Blue Jays) have only had general discussions about talent; with neither team putting a deal on Sandy Alderson’s desk.

The Rangers are still working to acquire OF Justin Upton from the D-Backs, though they reportedly need a fourth team involved to help deliver Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera to Arizona in the deal. At the same time, free-agent Anibal Sanchez is still available and an option, as is OF Josh Hamilton. The point is, Texas has options and will likely work through them before trading their best young talent for a 38-year-old knuckleball pitcher with a one-year deal. Meanwhile, the Jays prefer Niese, and are asking for additional pitching prospects from the Mets in a deal for their young catcher and outfielders.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if a logical, impact trade doesn’t present itself, Alderson is more than willing to give Dickey a two-year extension, keep Niese and move forward in just the free agent market.

“We’re not bluffing when we say we’ll keep him,” one Mets insider told Martino of Dickey. “We need the right package.”