It's time for the New York Mets to stop the madness and trade the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey.
Dickey, 38, went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and led the National League in starts (33), complete games (5), shutouts (3), innings pitched (233.2) and strikeouts (230).
Under contract for $5 million in 2013, there isn't a team in baseball that wouldn't mind adding Dickey to its rotation.
His trade value will never be higher than it is now.
Dickey has grown increasingly frustrated over the state of negotiations on a contract extension, and he has already dropped the dreaded "free agency" remark to reporters, as reported by ESPN New York's Adam Rubin (via Twitter):
Very pointed comments from R.A. Dickey. Said he likely would be a goner after 2013 season as free agent ifMets just let extension play out.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) December 11, 2012
Dickey added he has been more than generous in his asking price and feels like he has extended olive branch. Says he's disappointed.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) December 11, 2012
After botching the Jose Reyes situation two years ago, the Mets simply cannot afford to watch a valuable trade commodity walk away for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick.
What should the Mets do with R.A. Dickey?
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that seven teams: The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers have all expressed interest in making a deal.
Heyman goes on to note that a number of those teams have already offered the Mets "an elite prospect" for Dickey.
Earlier this month, general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters what he'd be looking for in exchange for his ace, assuming he decided to move him (via the New York Post's Mike Puma):
This is not about making a trade for four players from the Appalachian League. Our goal, you have to balancethe quality of the player with the potential arrival date of the player, obviously, so that’s something we’re trying to do.
What we’ve tried to say to ourselves is we have to get back a difference maker. Itdoesn’t have to be a catcher, it doesn’t have to be an outfielder, it doesn’t have to be anything. But it has to be a difference maker, because R.A. is a difference maker.
"Elite prospects" don't necessarily equate to major-league-ready prospects, so it's fair to say that the Mets simply aren't willing to wait for those being offered to develop.
As for Alderson's statement that the team doesn't need to receive a catcher or an outfielder in a deal, both are areas of need, so why not address them now?
Two of the teams Heyman indicated had interest in Dickey—the Red Sox and Blue Jays—both have a plethora of both.
Of the two positions, finding a capable, everyday catcher must be the priority.
A deal with the Red Sox built around either Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway, or a deal with the Blue Jays built around either J.P. Arencibia or Travis d'Arnaud would make sense for both teams.
They simply have too many needs.
R.A. Dickey is more valuable to the Mets in a trade than he is on the mound because the team can address multiple needs in one shot by sending him to another team.
He's got to go.