R.A. Dickey increasingly appears destined to remain with the Mets next season, though how long the union will last remains unclear.
Even with the Mets having trade options in hand, a person familiar with the situation said Friday that there is a growing sense that they will pass because the prospective deals aren't good enough to move the reigning Cy Young Award winner. This represents a shift in thinking from the winter meetings, when trading Dickey looked just as likely as retaining him.
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But the person said there's no guarantee that staying with the Mets would come with a contract extension past 2013 for Dickey, creating a less-than-ideal situation for both sides. A source with knowledge of the team's thinking insisted, "All options are still open.''
The scenario could change when the free-agent and trade markets break free from a virtual standstill after the winter meetings, as is expected. Any major movement, such as the signing of top free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke, might encourage potential suitors to sweeten their offers for Dickey.
In that case, the Mets again would be faced with a decision. But keeping him could have other consequences.
While Greinke is regarded as the best available pitcher on the market, Dickey stacks up favorably.
Among starters who have logged at least 500 innings in the last three seasons, Dickey ranks 10th in ERA (2.95). Of the starters still available on the market, he has been the most productive in the last three years when measured by advanced metrics such as adjusted ERA and wins above replacement.
Yet the Mets have been unwilling to meet his asking price, which according to a source is a two-year extension past 2013 worth roughly $25 million. The sides have established common ground on the length and structure of an extension, and according to the source, the Mets have given Dickey the flexibility to choose among several options. But the dollar value of the contract remains the sticking point.Dickey has held firm on his desire to not negotiate during the season.