UPDATE: Martino adds that it’s become clear in negotiations that Dickey will sign for a deal comparable to, but likely less than, Jake Peavy’s recent two-year, $29 million extension with the White Sox. Sure, there are worries about Dickey’s age and he throws harder than the average knuckleballer, but his asking price doesn’t sound unreasonable at all.
12:23 PM: We have two reports on where the Mets stand in contract talks with 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported this morning that the Mets plan to offer Dickey a two-year extension. Meanwhile, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears that the Mets already made a two-year offer to Dickey approximately two weeks ago and the two sides are in the process of negotiating the terms.
No word on any specifics regarding the money involved, but Martino reports that the Mets know Dickey would accept a two-year deal. The Mets have already picked up Dickey’s bargain $5 million club option for 2013, but the knuckleballer is due to hit the free agent market next offseason.
While an extension is on the radar, the Mets are also talking to other teams to get a sense of what they could fetch in a potential trade. The fan backlash would be overwhelming if Dickey is traded this offseason, but the Mets are understandably seeing what’s out there with his value at an all-time high. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said yesterday that he hopes to have some “clarity” in regard to Dickey and David Wright before the Winter Meetings begin on December 3.
Dickey went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts over 233 2/3 innings this season. The 38-year-old has a 2.95 ERA over three seasons with the Mets.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.