9:48 am Nov. 19, 2012
On Friday, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson described a need for "a little more clarity than we have now" regarding the contract negotiations with the team's two best players, R.A. Dickey and David Wright.
Alderson's timeframe, along with a weekend of reporting about the state of talks with Dickey, has provided some clarity for Mets fans about exactly when the team will decide to keep either Dickey, Wright, or both.
Here's what we know. Alderson said the Mets need that clarity, which would appear to be knowing if they can sign Dickey and/or Wright, in the period between Thanksgiving and the start of baseball's winter meetings on December 3. Presumably, this is necessary for two reasons: so Alderson knows if he is filling the ample remaining holes on the roster around Dickey and Wright, or packaging Dickey and/or Wright in trades to help fill those holes. With a tight budget, knowing he has the $16 million owed to Wright and $5 million owed to Dickey in 2013 to spend elsewhere would provide additional flexibility, assuming ownership is willing and able to invest that money in the team.
That gives the Mets two weeks--assuming they adhere to their own deadline--to either retain Dickey and Wright, or trade them.
For their part, the Mets have now reportedly made offers to both Dickey and Wright. Previously, Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com reported that the team had exchanged offers with Wright's agent. Over the weekend, Rosenthal reported the team is preparing to make an offer to Dickey.
Rosenthal's story on Dickey is at odds with the reporting from the New York Daily News. Andy Martino reported there that the Mets made an offer to Dickey two weeks ago. Furthermore, Martino reported that Dickey is willing to accept a two-year offer, while the team's offer is for two years.
Martino also wrote that "it has become clear in negotiations that he will sign for a deal comparable to, & likely less than, [Jake] Peavy's 2/29". A contract equal to Peavy's would mean the Mets keep Dickey under control for the next three years at a total of $34 million, or less than $12 million per season for last year's Cy Young winner.
In a marketplace where disgraced outfielder Melky Cabrera just signed for two years and $16 million, that's a bargain.
Either Martino is right, and the two sides simply need to resolve their differences over the dollar figure, or one of his sources isn't accurate.
In the meantime, the Mets appear to be considering trades for Dickey. That is certainly the right thing to do if retaining Dickey isn't a near-certainty, and though it is highly unlikely that the Mets would receive more talent than keeping Dickey for the numbers being bandied about, they are certainly better off dealing him now than either waiting until the summer (when a trade partner would only be getting part of his 2013 season), or watching him depart for nothing.
As for Wright, there's been little new reporting since Rosenthal had the two sides exchanging offers. Like Dickey, it remains to be seen if the two sides have an ability to bridge the gap, or if the two offers simply reflect too much distance between what the Mets are willing to pay, and what Wright is prepared to accept.
Oh, and while they resolve their long-term relationships with their two best and most popular players, the Mets still need to figure out how to pay upcoming expenses. As of Monday, the loans against the team, due in 2014, and against SNY, due in 2015, remain unamended. The team got some good news when YES, the New York Yankees' version of SNY, was recently valued at $3 billion.
One thing, and essentially only one thing, is certain right now. Each day that passes between now and December 3 reduces the chances that the Mets will keep R.A. Dickey and David Wright.
A trade will bring clarity. An extension will bring clarity. And if Alderson's understandable timetable is to be trusted, we'll all have it soon, for better or worse.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
The Yankees appear unwilling to offer more than one year to Hiroki Kuroda, and that, combined with Kuroda's desire to go to southern California, could mean good news for the Dodgers and a hole in the Yankees' pitching staff to fill.
Despite a poor shooting performance, the Knicks were never really challenged in an 88-76 victory over the Indiana Pacers Sunday, thanks to their defense.
The vaunted Nets bench saved the day in a 99-90 victory over the Sacremento Kings on Sunday.
The long Jets losing streak is over, thanks to a 27-13 decision over the St. Louis Rams.
St. John's was talented enough to play Baylor tough, but too young to figure out how to beat them.