If the New York Mets want to hold on to Cy Young hopeful R.A. Dickey, they should sign him to a lucrative short-term deal rather than wave him around as trade bait.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that many around the league believe the team is trying to get some sort of leverage by dangling Dickey on the market. As Rosenthal explains, though, that strategy doesn't make much sense considering the stage the nine-year veteran is at in his career:
A number of executives believe that Dickey needs to be in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, limiting the number of teams that could have interest. The fact that Dickey is 38 also could lessen the Mets’ return.
The $5 million salary that Dickey is due to earn in 2013 makes him such a bargain in a trade, to the point where it would almost be pointless to move him. Potential returns for such a short-term, relatively inexpensive commitment from another team would be very minimal considering how good Dickey is.
In the last year of his current deal, Dickey will have the freedom to walk away after the upcoming season anyway.
Trading him now would likely just give the team one less season with Dickey, and what they would receive would not be just compensation for what he brings to the table.
Dickey's knuckleball was nearly untouchable this past season, and his career year was a revelation for New York in an otherwise dismal 2012, as he posted a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and won 20 games. That tied for second in all of baseball behind the Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, who went 21-8.
Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reports that GM Sandy Alderson hasn't ruled out a trade, and that perhaps the team could get a solid outfielder in return.
If anything holds true in baseball, though, it's that starting pitching is what ultimately wins championships, and it's something the Mets definitely have working in their favor.
For any other pitcher, there might be some concern of him being a one-year wonder who has the potential to soon flame out. But considering that the pitch Dickey most heavily relies on doesn't strain his arm all that much and can still be effective at lower velocities, he should have a few good years left.
That's why it would be wise for Alderson to simply extend Dickey on a lucrative short-term deal of two or even three years.
By doing this, the contract wouldn't eat up an extra couple of unnecessary seasons should Dickey begin to decline, and the Mets won't have to deliberate the pitcher's future for the third consecutive offseason next winter.