The Mets might be approaching a critical juncture in their efforts to sign pitcher R.A. Dickey and third baseman David Wright to long-term contract extensions.
Clarity could come in the form of new contracts, which remains the team's goal. But if the sides can't reach agreement, clarity also could mean putting both players on the trading block. Either way, with holes to fill behind the plate, the outfield and in the bullpen, Alderson is hoping for movement by Dec. 3, the start of the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
"At some point, we need resolution on these discussions to be able to move on,'' he said. "But that time is not now. It's still very early.''
The Mets reportedly have exchanged figures with Wright and have entertained initial trade talks regarding Dickey. But Alderson declined to offer details on the state of the negotiations.
"Both discussions are ongoing and that's really the only way I can characterize them,'' Alderson said after addressing students during the Ivy Sports Symposium at Columbia University.
Dickey and Wright -- the two most popular players on the Mets -- remain under team control for next year. Both have expressed interest in long-term commitments. But neither wants negotiations to spill into the season.
Hoping to get a jump on talks, Alderson visited Wright at his home in Virginia early in the offseason and spoke with Dickey about his future near the end of the regular season.
"We wanted to get started early and maybe reach a conclusion early in these negotiations,'' Alderson said. "We did get started early, but these things take on a life of their own. So I'm not surprised in either case that things have gone on as they have.''
Wright finished sixth in National League MVP balloting after hitting .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs. Dickey went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and was named the winner of the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, giving him more leverage at the negotiating table.
However, going into the talks, Alderson said the Mets already had assumed that Dickey would win the award.
"We had acknowledged that internally long ago,'' he said. "So I don't think it changes the dynamic all that much.''