Dickey just completed a two-year, $7.8 million contract he signed with the Mets before the 2011 season. Last night, the Mets picked up the $5 million option on Dickey for 2013, but he can become a free agent after the 2013 season.
Earlier this month, Andy Martino of the Daily News said the Mets are interested in retaining Dickey for the long-term, there is an internal debate as to how the Mets will handle Dickey’s future with the Mets.
“[Sandy] Alderson is said by associates to be sincere in his view of the 37-year-old Cy Young candidate as worthy of another multiyear deal,” Martino wrote earlier this month. “In some corners of the organization, there is concern about the knuckleballer’s age, and the injuries that he was able to pitch through during the past two seasons.”
In a recent report for CBS Sports, a rival GM told Jon Heyman he believes Dickey’s value to be around $15 million per season and says the Mets are not thinking along those lines for Dickey.
It's hard to put a figure on this, simply because I wouldn't be surprised by either outcome. I understand the Mets concerns about Dickey's age, durability, and how effective he would be in the later years of a contract extension. But, as I said last night, the decision shouldn't come down to that. The issues they are concerned about are all part of the risks of any long-term contract for any player in the game. The decision should be about how Dickey fits into their longer-term plan. Does Dickey make the team better over the next few years? Does the presence of his contract hinder the team's ability to invest in players outside the organization? Is the organization healthier with or without Dickey? Does his presence give the team an enhanced ability to succeed in the short-term while maintaining that success in the long-term? Those are the issues at hand for the organization right now.
If Dickey wants $15 million per year, as Heyman suggests his value to be, I probably wouldn't be comfortable giving that to him at the moment. They just aren't ready to commit those kind of resources to him. His value is sky-high right now, and if his contract demands are at that level, I can see the Mets take advantage of that value and shop him for other parts they need, such as an everyday outfielder, or quality prospects for the top of their Minor League system who are close to contributing. Yes, he has had a storybook run while with the Mets, and he had a phenomenal season in 2012, putting him in-line for a Cy Young Award. He also has a unique connection with the fan base, and he has given fans something to feel good about in the midst of four consecutive losing seasons on the field. That is important, and Sandy Alderson has acknowledged that as well. And so, trading a player like Dickey who holds such a deep connection with the base might be perceived as a continued “disconnect” between the team and the fans. In a way, it's a catch-22 for the organization. But his popularity isn't (nor should it be) the most important part of this equation. It's about baseball, it's about getting better, and it's about winning.
If the Mets do decide to give Dickey a long-term extension, they have to ensure that extension isn't going to hinder their flexibility to invest in the roster during the life of the contract. Whether or not we, as fans, feel that should be a problem for a New York team is another discussion. But a further inability to invest in the roster can have an equal, if not greater impact on both the state of the team and the perception of the fans as trading him would have.
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Based on an educated guess, I now put the chances of Dickey being signed or traded at 50 percent. Had you asked me weeks ago, I was more confidence a deal could get done. However, every day that passes, I convince myself more and more that he could be traded, because the language I hear in regards to RA is less specific and firm than used to talk about David Wright's situation. There is no good argument for signing Dickey to a four- or five-year deal. At the same time, teams will give up good, young talent in trade to get him for one season making reasonable money. It’s going to be a more complicated and more pressing decision than Wright, who, again, can be delayed if needed.
Here are poll results from last week on MetsBlog that asked how Mets fans would handle Dickey this winter: