Nearly two months have passed since Mets general manager Sandy Alderson left pitcher R.A. Dickey with the impression that long-term contract talks might move quickly. But with the winter meetings less than a week away, a resolution doesn't appear close.
"I would be able to give you a better answer if we were further along down the talks," Dickey said of the negotiations. "I'm hopeful that the next step will be me being able to tell you it's going the right direction or I think we're real far apart. I don't know."
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Dickey, 38, reiterated that he will not negotiate during the 2013 season if he and the Mets can't agree to a long-term contract extension this winter. Nor is he enthused by the chances of playing through the final year of his contract without the assurance of an extension -- a possibility raised recently by chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
"I would not want to negotiate during the season," said Dickey, who addressed students Tuesday at the DREAM Charter School in Harlem. "And a lot of times, you come back on kind of a lame-duck contract where it's kind of a message that . . . we don't want you any more beyond this year. Hopefully, that's not the case. That would be sad."
Dickey, fresh off winning 20 games and the NL Cy Young Award, is under contract for $5 million next season. He has been consistent about expressing his desire to remain with the Mets for the long term.
Even with speculation about his contract talks heating up, Dickey reiterated that he wants to be part of the team's future. But the Mets appear intent on resolving separate contract talks with third baseman David Wright before wrapping up talks with Dickey.
Dickey's name has already popped up as a possible trade candidate if an extension isn't worked out.
"If Sandy Alderson traded me tomorrow and got prospects for me, I get it," said Dickey, who insists he would feel no animosity toward the Mets if that happened. "That's what he's employed to do. He's employed to research and find every opportunity to make the New York Mets better."
Dickey said the Mets have made him a contract offer and that he has countered. But he is still waiting to hear back from the team. In discussing the state of his negotiations, Dickey drew parallels to the discussions involving Wright.
"We're in a similar position, I'd say, where things are progressing," Dickey said. "It's just that the pace is slow. But we're in dialogue with them and we're hopeful."
No terms of the proposals have been disclosed.
Earlier this month, Alderson said that he considered the period between Thanksgiving and the start of the winter meetings Monday as a critical window in their efforts to re-sign both Wright and Dickey.
In that regard, it appears Dickey is in agreement.
This year's meetings will be in Nashville, where Dickey makes his offseason home.
"I think that's definitely going to put [talks] in the crock pot, so to speak -- with the temperature turned up," he said. "A lot of things usually get done around the winter meetings. Everybody's in one place.
"Whenever you're talking to someone face to face, there's more of . . . an urgency involved."