Bottom Line: R.A. Dickey and New York Mets Need Each Other
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All R.A. Dickey wants from the New York Mets is a fair deal. The Mets have offered Dickey, the 2012 Cy Young award winner, a two-year extension worth $20 million. That, on top of the $5 million he is owed for 2013.
The 38-year old right-hander is feeling slighted, believing he is worth more, in the range of $26-28 million over two years. Meanwhile, the Mets have been shopping Dickey like an elite pitcher, seeking multiple skills position players in return.
Neither Dickey or the Mets appear willing to give. Dickey has stated he will most likely leave the Mets if he doesn't receive a contract extension. The Mets have the luxury of Dickey being under contract for the 2013 season and can always take the wait-and-see approach.
From the way negotiations have been unfolding, it is becoming apparent that both sides have become delusional regarding Dickey's worth.
Taking a look at the product, we have a pitcher of advanced age coming off a career season. His numbers for 2012 read: 233 innings, a 20-7 record, with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts. For his career, Dickey's record is 61-56 with a 3.98 ERA.
He is a knuckleballer, throwing his signature pitch in the 77-80 mph range last season. Prior to 2012, the only time Dickey had ever recorded double-digit victories was when he won 11 games in 2010.
Now, Dickey (a career journeyman) wants to be amply rewarded for having the season of his life, viewing $20 million as insulting for his services. Up until 2009, his highest salary had been $525,000 before the Mets took a chance on him.
Is $20 million two-year extension fair?
Am I missing something, or should Dickey be getting on his knees every morning and profusely thanking the heavens above for his outrageous good fortune? That begins with the Mets' current offer of $20 million.
It's as if we have a guy who hits Powerball for $25 million, and then gets upset that he did not win when the jackpot was over $100 million. Let's face it, if Dickey comes anywhere close to duplicating his 2012 season, it will come close to being a complete shock.
That goes for ageless knuckleballers too. Keep in mind, another year older (and a couple of miles-per-hour off his pitch) and he becomes batting practice. The Mets have to be aware of this. I see their offer as more than generous.
However, the Mets are guilty of being delusional by expecting high returns for Dickey on the open market. If not, they are playing a damn good hand of poker with their listeners.
The bottom line is, Dickey and the Mets need each other.
Dickey hit his lottery ticket last season. Odds are, its value can only go down if he does not sign the Mets' extension. With his price at an all-time high, Dickey better sign before he loses his offer and the market drops.
For the Mets, Dickey is their most reliable starter. He gives them an outside shot to compete for a playoff spot and win a short series should they make it. On the market, the Mets will never receive the compensation they seek for Dickey—so they have to keep him, all things considered.
My prediction is that Dickey will sign an extension soon, unless he has lost complete touch with reality. Not only do the Mets have the stronger hand, they know what Dickey is holding too.
Hopefully, Dickey delivers on his $20 million extension.
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