R.A. Dickey discusses leaving the Mets and being traded to the Blue Jays

R.A. Dickey wins his 20th gameEarlier today, R.A. Dickey spoke with the New York media for the first time since being traded to the Blue Jays, and about his time in New York and his new start with the Blue Jays, Dickey said:

“I am sad. And I think it’s important for me to grieve leaving New York. I had a proverbial home there. I had a home among fans, I had a home in an organization. I had a lot of success there. I think it’s important for me to be upset about that for a moment before I move on to the next feeling. That next feeling has already arrived for me. I grieved when I needed to grieve, and now I’m so excited I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of an organization that is committed to winning and putting a product on the field that the fans can be excited about coming to support, quality guys in the clubhouse. … A lot of people say these things in the beginning of Spring Training . … I think in this particular case, the reason to feel so good is because it’s so true.”

Dickey also basically said:

  • He hopes the trade is good for both sides.
  • He regrets airing his grievances at the team’s holiday party last week, although he felt his emotions were justified.
  • He wasn’t completely surprised the team decided to trade him.
  • He knew he wasn’t coming back to the Mets when Sandy Alderson called him on Saturday to tell him the Jays had been granted a window to negotiate a new deal with him.
  • There were verbal contract offers discussed with the Mets, but nothing ever on paper.
  • He doesn’t think the team smeared him upon his departure from the Mets, and he doesn’t think the story written about him in the New York Post this past weekend is accurate.

For the complete transcript of today’s conference call with reporters,

Do you think this was an equal package in trade, and do you think the Mets genuinely wanted to keep you?

“That’s a good question. I don’t know if I really have the answers to that. I think, just as a logical person, it made sense they were going slowly to try and see what was out there. And I can certainly understand that. It may not have lined up with my timing that I expressed, which is perfectly ok. I don’t think it’s a situation over ‘who got the better trade? Did the Blue Jays get the better trade, or did the Mets get the better trade? Well, truthfully, my hope is that it’s a great trade for both organizations. Hopefully we win a World Series or two, and the kids they got from Toronto end up being good, useful players for the New York Mets.”

Were you surprised it came to this, given your confidence you would be re-signed by the Mets?

“I can’t tell you I was completely surprised. I knew, when the offers started coming in and I was negotiating with the Mets, I figured we were going to be in for a longer negotiation. At that point, the longer it goes, the more doubt can creep into your mind about, you know, ‘are they serious? Is this something they really want to do? Are we getting it going?’ All the human attributes start coming out. So, I’m not real sure if it was all just strategy, or if they really had an intention to sign me from the beginning. But I think, like all things, I think it grew into this. They started saying they might not be able to pay what I was asking for, and they thought they might get some good players in return. It just kind of grew into what it became. I don’t think there was ever an initial strategy one way or another.”

The Mets were disappointed that you used the holiday party to use that as a forum for contract negotiations. Subsequently, you have been portrayed as not a very good clubhouse person, and a “self promoter.”

“I knew that was coming from somebody. I’ll tell you what. I want to answer as honestly as I can, because that’s how I’ve tried to always be with you guys. At the Christmas Party, I must admit, I was unprepared for that informal press conference, if you will. I wasn’t aware I was going to be put in that position. So, I didn’t have a conversation with anybody about what was going to happen. … It became something much larger. I must admit to you, and repent about the timing, because I feel badly about using a time such as that to become emotional. I want to apologize for that. That wasn’t the venue, necessarily, to do that. I think my emotions and feelings were warranted. But at the same time, that was the wrong place to do that. I regret that unfortunate situation in that I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen. And so in that sense, that’s my response.

As far as the article that had been written [by Ken Davidoff in the New York Post this past weekend] – people had sent me the article about not being a good clubhouse guy, and my response to that is, go ask my teammates. … That would be my response. Go ask my teammates. I don’t necessarily think what was written was true. I think it was somebody kind of postulating and opinionating about what they see from the outside. So, it is what it is. Look, the New York Mets organization has given me an opportunity to rebuild a career I hoped to rebuild and redeem things in my baseball life I didn’t know I was going to be able to do. There’s a lot of gratitude I have for that. I don’t want it to be a place I don’t feel comfortable going back. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think the New York fan base knows who I really am, and I trust their opinion.

When did you know you definitely weren’t coming back to the Mets?

“When the negotiations stalled, and when the numbers got out there finally and they immediately stalled, I figured something was up. I wasn’t real sure what, because we didn’t hear any urgency on their part to try and bring this thing to a close, one way or another. And that’s when I started putting two and two together, and it picked up momentum, and now I’m a Blue Jay. … I think it was probably – in talking to Sandy and having that conversation with him – I feel it was in the works for a while. Maybe even many days before Wednesday.

When I got the call from Sandy that they had granted a 72 hour period – I think it was Saturday – that was the day he called me and I thought to myself ‘well, that is probably it.’ Let’s just say the extensions did break down with Toronto, I knew they were aggressively seeking to move me at that point.”

Was the Mets maximum offer $20 million for two years? Where did the negotiations start with the Mets?

“Yes … that was an informal offer, as far as I know. That was just a conversational offer, that wasn’t necessarily on paper. Where did it start? You know, golly it’s all kind of running together. Maybe eight and eight, maybe seven and seven was their first offer. It grew to ten and ten I think for those extra two years.”

Do you think it was just negotiating, or do you think they made an offer they knew you wouldn’t take?

“I think it might have been the equivalent of someone offering one dollar. You know, ‘let’s just get it going to see where we stand’. I didn’t take that first offer as a convincing slap in the face or anything. I wasn’t looking for a fight. I thought that was an arbitrary offer they made to get the ball rolling and we will see where we stand at the end of this thing. That’s how it’s done. There wasn’t any acrimony to it.”

Is it a mixture of sadness and excitement?

“I am sad. And I think it’s important for me to grieve leaving New York. I had a proverbial home there. I had a home among fans, I had a home in an organization. I had a lot of success there. I think it’s important for me to be upset about that for a moment before I move on to the next feeling. That next feeling has already arrived for me. I grieved when I needed to grieve, and now I’m so excited I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of an organization that is committed to winning and putting a product on the field that the fans can be excited about coming to support, quality guys in the clubhouse. … A lot of people say these things in the beginning of Spring Training . … I think in this particular case, the reason to feel so good is because it’s so true.”

When you realized they were aggressively shopping you, how long did it take for that to sink in for you?

“When I really felt like they were serious about moving me – like super-serious – was when I got the call about the extension, the window for the extension. I wasn’t surprised because there had been a lot of speculation. I knew they were entertaining offers at the Winter Meetings. So you never know if it’s strategic posturing to try and negotiate a better deal, which I completely get. Thankfully, I’m in a place in my career where I understand the way the business works. I don’t get my feelings hurt too badly. But it wasn’t really until I got that call that I thought, ‘ok, here we go. I’m probably never going be a Met again.’ That was Saturday.

How did that make you feel?

“I think I had a wash of numbness come over me. felt real numb to it. I wanted to be in the moment with the Toronto Blue Jays. Alex was in town and I wanted to be engaged with them and hear his vision for what he thought the team was going to look like not just for next year but beyond. And I tried to really get in the moment with him and I was able to do that. It looked like we were going to reach an extension – there was about a 15 hour period there where I knew this thing was probably going to get done. I took the moment to be sad about that because I had a great time in New York. I poured my heart and soul into that team and the community the best I could, and I was leaving that. And so, I thought it was important to be sad about that. That enabled me to embrace where I was going wholeheartedly. I’m going to do the same thing for the Toronto Blue Jays as I did for the New York Mets, and that is pouring my heart and soul into this team, because that’s the only way I know how to do it.”

Do you think the team smeared you on the way out?

“I don’t know if smeared is the right word. I think I just feel bad about it. I don’t know why all of a sudden. … it seems beyond coincidence that, at this point in the juncture, that that would be the article written in the moment when I had been a New York Met for three years. … I didn’t quite understand the timing, and so because of the timing, if you put two and two together, it looks like there is a force out there trying to display a public perception. That was just bad to me. I didn’t feel scared necessarily. I’m confident in who I am and the things I do and who I am as a human being. … When I see the ‘random team executive, or ‘team source’ – you never know if that’s some writer wanting to air his or her own grievances about something.”


To hear Dickey’s talk with reporters, click the ‘play’ button below:




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