National League Cy Youngwinner R.A. Dickey is under contract for one more season with the New York Mets. That contract is set to pay him $5 million in 2013. Seemingly since the final day of the season, the player and team have ben engaged in talks to extend Dickey’s stay in New York.
Things haven’t progressed well.
The biggest reason: the Mets have apparently been low-balling their star hurler. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets have only just now stepped their offer up to where we had heard it was last week.
The breakdown: A two-year contract extension at about $10 million per season, in addition to the $5 million already owned to Dickey in 2013. Despite reports to the contrary, Mets sources insisted that the team had not offered that much during last week’s winter meetings.
As the Daily News has been reporting, Dickey has been asking for a two-year extension for approximately $26 million, totaling $31 million over three years.
Dickey spoke earlier today and Adam Rubin was there. According to Rubin, Dickey indicated that he’s displeased with the way the talks with the Mets have gone. He considers his asking price to be “more than generous” and lower than what he would get if he were negotiating as a free agent. He also said he’d likely sign elsewhere should the Mets decide to simply have Dickey play out the final year of his contract.
There’s a misconception floating around about Dickey and the amount of success he’s had. This guy didn’t simply come out of nowhere to dominate the National League in 2012, he’s had three consecutive outstanding seasons. Over the past three years, Dickey has averaged 206 innings per year and posted a 2.95 ERA and a 3.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Those are better numbers across the baord than the ones Zack Greinke compiled over his last three years and he just signed for $25 million per year.
Now, obviously there is an age difference between Greinke and Dickey that makes the comparison of contracts dicey. No one will be give=ing a 38-year-old pitcher a six-year deal. But when you consider the numbers and realize that Dickey is asking for only half as much in average annual value as what Greinke got from the Dodgers, it’s hard to argue that Dickey is the one playing hardball in these talks.
The longer these negotiations play out, the worse this deal gets for the Mets. If they aren’t willing to pay a price that is considerably lower than market value for a guy who has been among the best in baseball over the past three years, then they should ennd the charade and trade him now. If Dickey goes into the season as a Met and without an extension in place, New York loses all the leverage in trade talks and could potentially watch him walk away with no return whatsoever.