That the recently-minted Cy Young award winner from the National League attracts all sorts of attention on the trade market is not surprising. Well, that the Cy Young winner is on the trade market at all is somewhat surprising, but a large number of teams lobbying for his services only makes sense.

It also makes sense that the New York Mets, who hold a highly desirable commodity in the sweaty palms, will set their price sky high just to see if any team dares to reach it. There is so much working in the Mets favor that any team looking to bolster their playoff chances by adding R.A. Dickey is going to pay a pretty penny indeed.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post does a terrific job of laying out, in no uncertain terms, everything the Mets have going for them in any Dickey trade. They hold all the cards and will be paid handsomely for a very valuable piece, thank you very much.

The list of teams interested in Dickey is as long or short as you need, depending on your ability to squint or suspend belief. Are the Royals an ideal match? They have the blue chip prospects and seem hellbent on competing in 2013. Wil Myers’ name began surfacing in some Dickey rumors, though it seems just Myers alone won’t be enough at this point.

Stoeten ran down some of the realities of any Dickey matches earlier this week, noting Blue Jays fans’ fantasy of moving J.P. Arencibia to New York for the 38-year old knuckleballer is just short of madness. The oft-quoted “Bogaerts and Bradley Jr.” package asked of the Red Sox took the wind out of a lot of sails, as that is a significant price for any pitcher, let alone with with quiet health and sustainability of performance concerns like Dickey.

Those concerns are sure to fall on deaf ears in some front offices. Dickey can help somebody win now. Worried about projecting a 38-year old knuckleballer? Cool story. Your main rival just found their new Opening Day starter while you futzed with your $/WAR calculator, nerd.

It is the age-old question realized anew. Does your favorite team clutch its prospect pearls when teams actually interested in winning the World Series walk by? Or do they throw caution to the wind and commit to putting the very best product on the field, right now, in 2013? Are they realistic about their chances or realistic about the minute window for contention and recognize that window isn’t often open?

The Kansas City Royals might be more than a R.A. Dickey away from World Series contention but, then again, maybe they aren’t? The importance of developing internal talent is important but if an opportunity to win more baseball games presents itself, shouldn’t any team sure to benefit from those extra few wins and take just such a risk do so?

The Mets are talking tough on R.A. Dickey – much of the talk might come back to their own contract negotiations with Dickey, attempting to gain leverage without any real intention of moving their knuckleballer. If a team wants to overpay, so be it. But the Mets seem more inclined to winnow his asking price down little by little before swooping down to secure his services for three more years.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News provides an excellent run-down of all the contract negotiations between team and player, getting a very non-committal and double-talked quote from wily Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

“Something could happen on either front that would bring all of this to a conclusion, presumably,” Alderson said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen today. It may not happen tomorrow. It may not happen in Nashville. So it’s really hard for me to guess where this is ultimately going.

“But the sentiment that we’ve had from the beginning I think remains the same — we’d like to have him in New York.”

The Mets are not unlike the teams pursuing Dickey: they must balance the long-term interests of the club with the value and production he offers here and now. More to the point: the Mets don’t have to do anything. They have Dickey under contract for next year, they can deal him at the deadline after spending more time trying to extend him and grab a compensation pick for their trouble if neither option works.

It is a admirable enough position for the Mets. Keeping or extending Dickey gives them a Dickey/Niese/Harvey/Santana/Gee rotation with Zack Wheeler poised to join the fray once his Super Two date passes (I’m assuming.) The Mets are not lacking options and some of Dickey’s recent comments betray a serious desire to stay in New York. If anyone is going to pry the Cy Young winner from the Mets clutches, it will take a whole lot.

Comments (3)

  1. RA Dickey is awesome, but if you’re going to pay the price to trade and re-sign him – why not hedge your bets on Brandon McCarthy and save your top prospects..

    I can see a deal happening after more of the free agents are off of the market.. I just don’t know why a team would give up what the Mets are looking for until there are no other options out there.

    • Because RA Dickey can (and likely will be) much better than McCarthy next year. If you just a bunch to improve your team but some of key pieces coming your way aren’t signed long term (like, say, Josh Johnson), you need to maximize your chances of winning while you’ve got them.

      If a team is given a chance to negotiate with Dickey, then I could see how giving up significant pieces are worthwhile.

    • For one: Dickey is much, much, much better.

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