If the Mets don’t extend David Wright, R.A. Dickey is likely gone

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When it comes to what R.A. Dickey is going to do once his contract is up with the Mets, he says he views he and David Wright as something of a package deal for the Mets:

“If I don’t see them pursuing David hard,” Dickey said, “I think it would be a message to everybody that they’re content to spend the next five or six years rebuilding this organization. Rather than trying to be competitive, and trying to rebuild it at the same time.

“I think you can do both. I think (doing both is) what they want to do.

“But if you see them not really pursue him hard, that’s the message that I get. Unless they trade him and get multiple, big-league pieces back.”

Both Dickey and Wright have team options through 2013 and, clearly, the Mets are going to want to work on Wright first.  The Mets have made every indication that they’re doing to try to lock up Wright.  I think the bigger question for Dickey is whether he can come close to matching his 2012 season next year.  Because if he, as many knuckleballers have in the past, starts to get a bit erratic out there, it would probably give a lot of team’s pause about signing him to a significant deal.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉