In his column for the New York Post, Joel Sherman suggests the Mets trade David Wright, R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese in order to address the “lack of depth up and down the organization.”
“The Mets can’t lie to themselves any longer that they are close to success. They now have the same season on endless loop: Stay competitive in the first half, collapse horrifically in the second half because of attrition exposing their utter lack of quality depth.”
With that said, Sherman believes the Mets will work “vigorously” to sign David Wright to an extension this winter and possibly R.A. Dickey as well.
Last week, Sandy Alderson told season ticket holders at Citi Field he intends to sign both Wright and Dickey to long-term contracts.
“As you all know, we have options on both those players and it’s not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013,” Alderson said to season ticket holders last Sunday. “We’re going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver. We’re committed to trying to bring those two back.”
According to Cot’s Contracts, the Mets payroll is around $94.5 million this season. In regards to 2013, the Mets already have $80.5 million committed to Johan Santana, David Wright, Jason Bay, R.A. Dickey, Frank Francisco and Jon Niese.
Jon Rauch ($3.5 million), Ramon Ramirez ($2.65 million), Ronny Cedeno ($1.15 million), Scott Hairston ($1.1 million) and Tim Byrdak ($1 million) are eligible for to become free agents after this season.
Mike Pelfrey ($5.7 million) and Andres Torres ($2.7 million) are arbitration eligible, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York believes both will be non-tendered this winter.
In a post to Twitter, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York says the “reason knowledgeable people speculate about Dickey possibly being traded is he’s not a typical knuckleballer, so a four or five year extension is potentially risky.”
Michael Baron, ContributorFirst off, what knuckleballer is a ‘typical’ knuckleballer, as Rubin puts it? There is nothing typical about a knuckleballer – they are in a class all by themselves in the art of pitching. Dickey just so happens to have found himself since joining the Mets and has been a phenomenon this year in particular. And, if Dickey is so risky to sign to a long-term contract (which, to be fair he is at this age), then why would any other team part with young prospects to get him? I get the fact that the Mets potentially have an excess of starting pitching, but if what Rubin is saying is accurate, Dickey might be more valuable to the Mets if they retain him to a reasonable contract than he is if they trade him now as a result.
Now, I understand what Sherman is saying. It’s no secret that building a team through free agency and blindly spending on players who are probably overvalued from the moment they sign their contract is an unwise way to invest in an organization. I also agree both Niese and Wright could fetch an impressive package of talent in return, should the Mets decide to trade them. I also think that while the Mets have the right idea in that they are attempting to rebuild by flooding their organization with talent through draft and international free agent signings, the reality is the Mets are betting on Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and guys who do a few things well, but not everything, to be successful. A lot of their promising talent, including Wilmer Flores, won’t be ready to contribute in the short-term, and there are no guarantees taking the prospect route anyway. And so, would trading guys like Wright and Dickey net the Mets the premium young talent they really need at the top of their organization? On paper, it’s easy to answer that question with a ‘yes.’
With that said, at some point the Mets need to build and sustain an identifiable brand with their fan base. Trading or losing players such as Wright and Dickey doesn’t accomplish that. There are definitely good baseball reasons to execute such trades, but that doesn’t mean doing so is healthy from a brand and reputation perspective, and ensuring the brand is getting healthy and a trust is being rebuilt is integral for the organization’s short and long term success. The Mets may not be at a point where they are willing to invest in free agents (and, considering the class of free agents this winter, they should resist the temptation), but this is New York, and a New York team must be able to retain their superstar players – especially those who are home grown and are iconic to the franchise. Doing so would go a long way towards restoring that trust and reestablishing their place as a big market, New York team.
After all, it’s the iconic players who define the brand and personality of a sports team – not the manager, general manager or anyone else in an organization for that matter.