The New York Mets' most difficult decision this offseason (aside from David Wright's contract extension) is figuring out what to do with R.A. Dickey. Dickey, whose five million dollar option was picked up on October 30, will be a free agent after 2013. Dickey's spectacular 2012 season, in which he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, made him only the third Met in franchise history to win the Cy Young Award. On top of all of that, Dickey has been a consistent performer since Omar Minaya signed him to a minor league contract in 2010, never having an ERA below 3.28 and pitching at least 175 innings in each of the last three years. With all of that being said, it would seem that signing Dickey to a contract extension would be a no brainer.
Dickey, 38, is currently negotiating a contract extension with the team. Dickey and the team are reportedly discussing a two year extension, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports. Dickey is reportedly fine with the length of the extension, but is reportedly seeking more than ten million dollars a year in any extension. The Mets have balked at that figure so far, which opens the possibility of trading the Cy Young winner. Before Mets fans start jumping off the ledge, the Dickey dilemma is an intriguing one to consider.
At 38 years old, Dickey is no spring chicken. Even though he throws the knuckleball, Dickey is not guaranteed to stay healthy over the course of the next three years. Dickey is also unlikely to repeat his Cy Young winning campaign, meaning that his trade value is at an all time high. If the Mets were to place Dickey on the trade block, they would have a large range of suitors. Dickey would make sense for a team that believes they are only one pitcher away from making a deep playoff run next season, which the Mets (most likely) won't be doing.
The Mets are believed to be seeking a "monster package" for their knuckleballer, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. That monster package is rumored to include a few high end minor league prospects or young big leaguers, particularly behind the plate or in the outfield. That kind of return would bring the team some much needed offensive options for a club that simply doesn't have any. The Mets are likely targeting 2014 for a return to contention, and if Dickey can bring back multiple assets that will help the team then the organization must strongly consider it.
Dealing Dickey doesn't, however, come without risk. Dickey is relatively young for a knuckleball pitcher, as many fans know that Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield lasted well into his 40's with the pitch. The Mets, while they have some depth in the rotation right now, face some questions to the effectiveness of injured starters Johan Santana and Dillon Gee as well as the development of the youngsters (Matt Harvey et. al). Dickey is also one of the most popular players on the team, an important consideration for a team that is struggling to draw fans to the ball park. If the Mets are not able to pull off a slam dunk trade, like the Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler swap, fans may revolt and stay away from Citi Field in droves. The Mets would reportedly like to figure out what they are doing with Dickey and David Wright by the winter meetings next weekend, so the organization likely has a few weeks to solve the Dickey dilemma.
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