Upon Further Review: What should the Mets do with R.A. Dickey?
While the baseball world is focused on the outcome of the World Series, New York Mets fans have their own problems. Namely, what’s the situation with David Wright’s extension negotiations, and what is the general deal with R.A. Dickey?
To answer the Dickey conundrum, we’ve brought in life-long friends and Met buddies Greg Kaplan and Ted Youngling to discuss what the hell could or should happen in regards to the R.A. Dickey.
Greg Kaplan: In my lifetime, I have never seen a single pitcher for the New York Mets dominate teams day in and day out quite like knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey did in 2012. Without a doubt, his season should have the cherry put on it by picking up the National League’s Cy Young award.
However, the Mets now face a very interesting dilemma. They have a $5 million option for R.A. Dickey heading into the 2013 season, and then Dickey can become a free agent. The Mets have said they will work towards a contract extension with their ace, but the difference in monetary value on Dickey seems to be staggering.
Ted, first, as a Mets fan, what do you feel is the best option for the Mets to take in regards to R.A. Dickey?
Ted Youngling: It’d be hard to argue that in our lifetime we have seen a season better than the one R.A. Dickey put up this season with the Mets, and as only fate could have it, there is a chance the Cy Young candidate may start next with another team.
The 2012 year was a tale of two seasons for the Mets. A team that started out as baseballs biggest surprise quickly turned into one of the biggest disappointments after the All-Star Break, but the best story in baseball was Dickey. So who wouldn’t want to have Dickey back to start the 2013 season?
As we know, baseball is a business. This is something Mets fans experienced first hand during the 2011 season with Jose Reyes and his eventual departure to South Beach the following off-season. The 2011 mid-season trading deadline came and went and Reyes was still in Queens, which meant the Mets were likely going to lose him in free agency and get nothing in return. The fans do not want the front office to make the same mistake with Dickey.
I go back and forth with this one. As great it would be to see Dickey back next season, how many more productive years does he really have left? I don’t expect him to be nearly as dominant as he was in 2012, but i think I’d be reasonable to expect 14 or 15 wins for 2013, but what happens in the following years? The next question is what would the Mets be able to get in return? If Dickey does get traded I think the fans would like to get at least one top prospect in return. Maybe a Zack Wheeler equivalent for the outfield. I support anything that gives the Mets fans more excitement. Whether that be Dickey in a Mets uniform or getting a young top prospect in return to build around.
GK: The last thing you said is what stands out to me the most. Right now, Mets fans are looking for any reasons at all to be excited about this team. Clearly, Dickey has emerged as both a wonderful baseball story and truly the only reliable option to get fans to come to Citi Field every fifth day. Regardless of the team behind him, fans will want to come out and see Dickey pitch because they truly believe something historic could happen on any given night when he’s on the hill.
With that said, we both understand the Mets aren’t one or two players away from competing for a world championship, which is the end goal. As it stands today, the Mets need at the very least a catcher, two outfielders (including a center fielder) and a retooled bullpen. The only organizational depth this team currently has is with their starting pitchers. We know Matt Harvey will not be moved. Same can be said about Zack Wheeler. Johan Santana seems to be stuck with us for another year due to his large salary. Now, there are even rumblings the Mets will try to bring back Mike Pelfrey, who missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery.
It appears that if the Mets want to improve through a trade, they’d have to deal either Dickey with his stock at an all-time high (he’ll be pitching next year on a one-year, $5 million contract) or Jon Niese, who is already locked up long-term to an affordable contract and is still very young himself.
It’s hard to believe, and I’m surprised I’m saying it, but of the two pitchers, I’d keep Niese over Dickey. At this point in both their careers, Niese is trending upwards while Dickey is still a rather large anomaly. I don’t know what to expect going forward with R.A. talent-wise. There is nothing conventional about Dickey, which is part of his charm. But, it seems unfair to expect him to duplicate his 2012 success next year. It’s unrealistic.
I used to think the Mets wouldn’t be able to exist without Jose Reyes. Obviously, that world changed in 2012 and the love from fans seemed to be passed from Reyes to Dickey. Now, it seems we’ll need to do it again because, somehow, the best move the Mets can make for their future is to trade R.A. Dickey.
TY: I think most Mets fans would agree with the Niese over Dickey arguement. Niese is younger, has a much bigger upside, a homegrown product, and we have a much better idea of what his future holds.