While trying to negotiate a new contract for pitcher R.A. Dickey, the New York Mets are also exploring other options.
Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Mets are looking into Dickey's value on the trade market versus keeping him next season and beyond.
Sherman says that the team is conflicted about what to do with Dickey, especially with negotiations progressing slowly. While the focus this offseason has been on retaining star third baseman David Wright, the Mets have pushed Dickey's situation to the back burner.
New York does not appear too eager to get a deal done with their National League Cy Young Award finalist and are seriously considering trading the knuckleballer.
If the Mets ultimately trade Dickey, they can add the move to a long list of personnel mistakes made by the front office of this team.
Everyone knows how masterful Dickey was in 2012. He went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts. He pitched five complete games, including back-to-back one-hitters, and made his first All-Star Game appearance.
General manager Sandy Alderson expects Dickey to win the Cy Young Award and could possibly deal him quickly after.
"It would be a little unusual to trade a Cy Young winner," Alderson said, "but I can remember a time (as GM of the Oakland A's in 1990) when we traded for the leading hitter in the National League at the time, so it happens" (h/t Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com).
If the trade does happen, the Mets might as well wave a white flag before the 2013 season starts.
Trading the best pitcher on the team will hinder any chance the Mets have at winning in the immediate future, and not only will there be backlash amongst the fans, there could be repercussions within the organization as well.
David Wright wants to win, and the promise of making progress toward that goal is one of the key factors in signing him to an extension. Trading Dickey is a clear signal that the team is not ready to win now and could make Wright look elsewhere to play.
The Mets cannot afford to lose both players.
Dickey means more to this team than what the Mets are figuring. The trickle-down effect on a possible trade could prove costly to the morale of the team and the fanbase.
Yes, there are longevity questions with a 38-year-old pitcher and some wonder whether or not Dickey can duplicate, or even come close to his 2012 mark again. But think about where the Mets would be without him.
Dickey was the story of the summer and made the Mets relevant going into the All-Star break.
He took the mound every fifth day and gave his team everything he had each time. Most of the time it was enough to win, and if New York could have mustered up a few more runs, Dickey easily could have had a couple more wins to his 2012 resume.
R.A. Dickey's value goes beyond the dollar amounts both sides are trying to hammer out.
This writer can see that and hopefully the Mets can too.