The Day in Rumors: Where things stand with R.A. Dickey

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

Today, three days in, having talked with insiders and reading too many reports, it’s obvious the Mets are clearly open to trading R.A. Dickey.

R.A. Dickey white polaroidPayroll is going to go up next season, Jeff Wilpon said today; and, as good as Dickey has been, I don’t think Sandy Alderson wants to occupy future budgets with a potentially overpaid, 40-year-old knuckleballer.

The Mets like Dickey, they respect him, they’ll take him for a year, especially at $5 million, but they only want him here long term if it’s on their terms. It seems that isn’t happening, at least not yet, so the goal might be to move him before he throws a pitch in 2013 and is still at peak value.

Alderson told several media outlets today that taking Dickey into 2013 with just a one-year deal is not the club’s first choice, but he isn’t ruling it out. They could always sign him to an extension, or not, and again look to trade him next summer.

In the last day, though he initially wanted four years total, I’ve heard Dickey now wants a contract that covers only three years, and the Mets agree. However, the two sides continue to disagree about the overall value of the deal. There are reports indicating Dickey wants as much as $40 million, while the Mets may be offering just $25 million.

Alderson told media today that he thinks the situation is close to a resolution, because both sides have a pretty good understanding of where things stand after having so many conversations. In either case, he wants an answer within the next 10 days.

In the meantime, thanks to their work at the MLB Winter Meetings this week, the Mets are sitting on a number of deals for Dickey, according to Newsday’s David Lennon.

sandy-alderson1“The Mets will have legit trade offers to pick over,” a source with knowledge of the situation told me yesterday.

The consensus in baseball seems to be that teams in need of pitching, like the Royals, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Rangers, among others, are all sitting still, waiting to see what happens with free-agent Zack Greinke, who reports indicate could make a decision in the next few days.

The Mets have talked to all of these teams in the last week or so. However, I’m hearing today that the Mets continue to be underwhelmed by offers; and in some cases, they are being asked to part with their own top prospects in addition to Dickey.

“Can we make a trade?” Alderson asked rhetorically today, according to CBSSports.com. “Yeah, we can make a trade,” he answered.

It’s my understanding that the Blue Jays, Angels and Royals are most interested in Dickey. It’s also worth noting the Blue Jays have been interested in Jon Niese for more than a year. I also agree with Andy Martino of the Daily News who said the Rangers are worth watching in the event Greinke signs with the Dodgers. And, still, the Rays continue to be Alderson’s top competition, as they also have two pitchers to shop and are seeking a similar young hitter, which is why Niese might be Alderson’s only way to get an impact bat back in trade.

In the mean time, Terry Collins keeps saying, ‘The Mets aren’t shopping Dickey,’ rumors swirl, the league waits, Alderson talks about options, and the beat goes on…

To read previous updates on Dickey, click here.

In the last 24 hours, reports have linked the Dodgers (MLB.com), D-Backs (Martino), Royals and Blue Jays (Jim Duquette), Rockies (FoxSports) Red Sox (ESPN Boston), Orioles and Nationals (Heyman), and the Rangers and Brewers (Ken Davidoff) as all having some level of interest in Dickey.

Dec. 5, 1:05 pm: Jeff Wilpon told reporters today R.A. Dickey and the Mets are still far apart on the overall value of a possible contract extension, and it’s possible they could go into next season with no new agreement.

Dec. 4, 5:10 pm: The Mets are asking for at least two top prospects, including your team’s best hitting prospect, and maybe a back-up catcher, in a possible deal for Dickey (Cerrone, MetsBlog.com).

Dec. 4, 4:15 pm: Dickey is looking for a three-year extension that could be worth as much as $45 million, per Jim Bowden, or less than $29 million, per the Daily News.

Dec. 4, 4:00 pm: Alderson said he’s met with Dickey’s agent in Nashville, but negotiations are ongoing and it remains to be seen if a gap in contract talks can be bridged, which you can read more about here.

Dec. 3, 2:40 pm: Mets GM Sandy Alderson said today he’s had preliminary trade talks with other teams about Dickey, who would only be moved “for a difference maker.”