Mets season-ticket holders got a treat Sunday morning: a chance for a question-and-answer session with general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins in the leftfield line box seats at Citi Field.
Alderson joked about the Mets' payroll going down to $1 million next season. But he also said something that wasn't a joke about the contract statuses of David Wright and R.A. Dickey.
"I fully expect that David Wright and R.A. will be here, not only next year but longer term," Alderson said in his strongest public statement on the matter to date.
The Mets hold options for next season on Wright ($16 million) and Dickey ($5 million). Both All-Stars repeatedly have said they would like to be Mets after 2013, but no serious negotiations have taken place.
"It's not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013," Alderson told the Mets loyalists. "We're going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver. But we're committed to trying to bring those two back. I hope they'll both be back and I'm excited about the possibilities they will be."
Wright, when told of Alderson's comments, said: "That's nice of them. Thank you. That's good to hear. I've said all along we're going to hopefully discuss something in the offseason. I guess we'll see what happens."
Dickey, who is 16-4 with a 2.76 ERA, said: "I'm open to talking about whatever they would like. I've always voiced that. A part of me enjoys being loyal to an organization that's given me a shot. I connect well with the fan base. I'm comfortable here. That says a lot for me."
But money will say more -- not just what the Mets would spend on extensions for Wright and Dickey but which players they can afford to surround them with.
"I do want to win, too, because I am at the place I am in my career," said Dickey, 37. "I want to be part of that solution here, whatever that's going to be. I would like to know what direction that we're going, you know? I think that's fair."
The Mets most likely will be finished with their commitments to Johan Santana and Jason Bay after the 2013 season. The two combined will cost the Mets $50.5 million in salary and buyouts next year. Frank Francisco's two-year, $12-million contract also will come off the books after next season.
Dickey said he would like to know what the Mets' intentions are toward Wright, their marquee player. Wright, 29, is batting .317 with 17 homers and 76 RBIs after going 1-for-4 in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Astros.
"That's a message," Dickey said. "Any time you sign a high-quality player, it's a message that you're going in a certain direction. David represents that, for sure. You'd have to ask him, but I'd like to believe he's of like mind. He's going to want to know that he has a shot at it. It's important."
Said Wright: "Of course it's every player's goal to win. I don't think I'm any different in that aspect of it. I think that you do want to experience winning. It's just in our nature. It's definitely in my nature. That's going to be a big factor. Once the season gets over, I'll sit down with the people that are important to me and discuss what means the most to me and what factors are going to be important to me and kind of go from there."
Dickey said he had preliminary discussions with the Mets during the spring, but the parties agreed to table those talks. He also said he would prefer not to negotiate during next season but added, "That's not an ironclad no."
Wright said he definitely will not negotiate during next season.