Mets increase contract offer to Dickey, trade to Texas unlikely

Dickey Jersey CircleThe Mets have increased their contract extension offer to R.A. Dickey to two-years, $20 million, Andy Martino reports for the Daily News.

According to Martino, the extension would begin after the 2013 season, when Dickey is already under contract for $5 million.

However, Dickey is seeking $26 million for two years. The Mets offered two years and $16 million to Dickey during the Winter Meetings.

Lastly, though Martino says the team still will not rule out a trade, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says a deal to send Dickey to the Rangers is now unlikely.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Here is what’s going on with each side, based on what I’m hearing from people around the team and MLB:

Dickey: He initially wanted close to $40 million guaranteed over the next four years, but the Mets obviously disagree. I’ve heard he’s desperate to get a deal done before Opening Day. He knows he will be seen as a fluke if he struggles in 2013 or gets injured, at which point he will have missed his opportunity at a big pay day.

These days I hear the Mets and Dickey more or less see eye to eye on guaranteeing two years (2014 and 2015). They disagree on the money, but Dickey has little leverage (and the Mets know it), so it seems there is no rush (see below) to move quick. As I said yesterday, I believe the Mets are willing to give a third-year option, and no more than $10 million a year, which could bring the deal’s overall value to $35 million for a possible four years << click to tweet this.

The Mets: They know Dickey is unique and very good. They’d like to keep him for the future, so they don’t want him getting to free agency one year from now. However, (because of age, over exposure, etc.) they have doubts he can be as good next season as he was in 2012; and they’re very skeptical he can be as good in 2014 and 2015 as he was in 2012. They don’t want to be paying him $13 million a year or more if he falls apart, a) because it’s money that could be better spent elsewhere, and b) it makes trading him nearly impossible (be it now, next summer or the years after that).

The way I understand it, the Mets know Dickey (and Jon Niese) are also their best shot at acquiring two, young, top hitting prospects, because of the demand for starting pitching. So, the Mets have not yet presented Dickey with a contract to sign, because they’re waiting for him to lower his contract demands, while hoping the trade market ponies up two top hitting prospects to get him. I think they’ll pull the trigger on whichever happens first.

Teams interested in trading for Dickey: They have the same short-term confidence, but long-term concerns about Dickey that the Mets do, so they’re reluctant to trade for him if he’s under contract for three full years. At the same time, they’re only willing to give so much for a pitcher likely to test the free agent market one year from now. Also, at least for now, there are other options available in trade or on the free agent market.