While negotiations for a long-term contract extension are still in the early phases, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey said Wednesday that talks have moved forward.
"There's been some progress, sure," said Dickey, who was also named a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award Wednesday. "We just really started talking about it. But I'm hopeful. I want to be a Met. I love being a Met. Hopefully we can work something out."
Speaking at the annual Lou Gehrig Sports Award Benefit, where he was honored by the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, Dickey said he believes the Mets are moving toward contention under general manager Sandy Alderson.
"He's convinced me that the Mets are moving in the right direction for sure," Dickey said. "I certainly want to be a part of that solution."
Dickey and David Wright -- who is also in the middle of extension talks with the Mets -- have both sought assurances that the club will contend soon. So far, Dickey said the signs have been encouraging.
Said Dickey: "Because of that we want to pursue negotiations with the Mets to stay on beyond '13, and that should tell you something."
Earlier in the day, the Mets offered more proof of their plans moving forward. Dickey said he was "shocked" at the deal to sever ties with struggling outfielder Jason Bay one year early. It will cost the Mets $21 million in deferred payouts to buy out the final year of Bay's contract.
But shedding Bay also frees up money the cash-strapped Mets can use this winter.
Dickey, who will make $5 million next season, is coming off his best season. He finished 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA. The 38-year-old knuckleballer was named a Cy Young finalist along with the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.