Monday, December 17, 2012

How the Mets screwed R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey is heading to Canada in what has to be one of the more negative dealings in Mets history. As a trade itself I think the deal is perfectly equitable, ridiculously fair even. In this trade and in the Wright signing Sandy Alderson has shown himself to master deal maker and one of the few executives in baseball capable of properly valuing players. Now this is not a deal I would have done, I personally believe that Dickey has at least three to five years of elite level pitching left and could in fact improve on his 2012 campaign. That being said Travis d'Arnaud was previously traded for Roy Halladay so I can't say it's unfair for him to be traded for Dickey. The problem with the Dickey trade wasn't the trade itself it was the Mets curious (but somehow predictable) decision to screw their ace on his way out of town.

Right now Dickey and his representatives are negotiating a contract extension, one that will be smaller than he could gotten had the Mets not publicly strung him along. Dickey originally requested a contract extension of four years, forty million dollars. This was a fair deal but still a little below market price. Angel Pagan signed this exact deal with San Francisco and I think we can agree that Dickey is more productive than Angel will ever be. Significantly worse pitcher Anibal Sanchez signed a deal with the Tigers last week for one more year and double the money. Dickey however wanted to stay with the Mets who indicated they weren't going to sign an extension at that price. Here is where things get hairy.

At this point it is pretty clear the Mets plan to move Dickey or if they can't, resign him for as cheap as possible. Dickey at this point obviously thinks he has a good chance of resigning with the Mets so he lowers his request to 2 years, 26 million dollars. This makes it even easier to trade the Dickster since he now has an even lower price tag associated with him. So Dickey, now negotiating with Toronto is almost assured to not get anything better than 26 million since he has already indicated he would sign for that much in New York. Baseball is a business, I get that. However it seems entirely reasonable that all of this could have been done in a way that didn't so specifically ruin Dickey's negotiating power. A little bit of honesty from Sandy's part about his intentions, a little bit of discretion about salary numbers and perhaps even, shocking as it may sound, a little bit of respect for a departing ace who did nothing but help the Mets over the last three years. The Mets could have actually tried to get R.A.the best possible deal while also helping themselves.

Sadly this isn't the worst of it. Outside of the Mets decision to screw Dickey financially they made what is also become a somewhat predictable decision to try and make Dickey look bad as he leaves town. For three years R.A. has been the lone bright spot in the Mets organization. A rare reason to get interested in a 70 win team. The Mets of course had nary a negative word to say about him. But now as he is leaving we hear that the team has “mounting concerns whether all of Dickey’s off-the-field endeavors could impact his on-field results, or his standing in the clubhouse, if the perception is that he has become too absorbed with his new celebrity.” Well I know that I am worried writing a memoir and appearing in a documentary will affect Dickey's ability to be the best player on the team again. 

The Mets through their anonymous team sources and their hack mouthpieces like the NY Post's Ken Davidoff have taken it upon themselves to attack a good man, perhaps the best man left in baseball. This again, will do nothing to help Dickey financially. Who wants to sign a pitcher who is obsessed with his own celebrity and pisses off his teammates? They are giving him one of the worst labels a baseball player can get: a bad clubhouse guy. More so their is a moral issue at play here. R.A. Dickey did everything he could to make the Mets a better team both on and off the field. The Mets could have have shown him the mutual respect he deserved. They could have traded R.A. in a way that helped both him and the team and they could have shown the fans some respect by explaining why this trade helped the Mets in the long run. I think we all would have been OK with that. Instead they handled the situation the way the Mets handle most things with lies, blunders and a lack of class. In the end the Mets don't deserve R.A. Dickey or our support as fans.

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