The bloody nerve of Robert Allen Dickey

Jim McIsaac

First, a disclaimer: We should be careful about passing judgment when the source for a story is "one official" ... hell, that could be anybody. And there's no way to know if that one official is speaking truthfully, or just enjoys getting on the horn with a reporter and seeing himself, however anonymously, in the papers.

I bring all that up because of this, from the New York Post:

So much for Christmas cheer.

R.A. Dickey used a Mets holiday function yesterday to unload his frustration with the pace of his extension negotiations. And the organization was, according to one official, "not happy" with Dickey’s message and his use of a Citi Field forum to express his criticism.

--snip--

The Mets already were annoyed, The Post has learned, Dickey last week turned down a personal appearance request from owner Fred Wilpon. Nevertheless, they knew he was in town for a business matter and asked him a few days ago to appear at Citi Field for yesterday’s holiday party. The Mets expected Dickey to be more diplomatic in his comments.

Dickey wants a contract extension. It's hard to blame him. When you're 38 and you just won a Cy Young Award and you're going to earn only $5 million -- and yes, I know $5 million is a lot of money, but it's only $5 million if you're a 38-year-old Cy Young winner -- it's natural to desire an extra measure of security.

Did Dickey really express criticism, though? Here's a sample of his comments ...

If that’s the decision they feel like is best for the club [not to extend], and that’s the decision that they make, I feel like it would be unfortunate, because it probably is going to mean I’m not going to be back [in 2014].

I feel we are asking for even less than what is fair.

There is a surprise sometimes when things don’t get done quickly and you think you are already extending the olive branch. But at the same time they have a budget to adhere to, and that is part of it, too.

Things are emotional for me. When people say it’s business, it’s not personal, that just means it’s not personal for them. It can be personal for me.

I’m hoping that it’s going to end up in a good place, but you can’t help but in the back of your mind think it may not, and that’s sad.

Man, what a jerk! Oh, except for the parts where he's honest and even-handed. Which seems like all the parts. Apparently "the organization" thought the team event wasn't the proper venue for such thoughts, but speaking from experience I can report that if something's weighing on your mind and someone asks you about the thing, it can be really difficult to just swallow your emotions and rattle off some meaningless words.

Reading the tea leaves, it sure seems like the Mets are going to trade Dickey. Which would explain a lot. For example, why they haven't offered him a two-year, $25 million extension; that would add up to three years and $30 million, which is obviously a bargain for the club. You know, seeing as how he's one of the 10 best starting pitchers in the National League and everything.

There's only one way that a contract like that wouldn't make sense for the Mets: If management believe the club will spend two or three of the next three years still rebuilding and Dickey won't sign without a no-trade clause. You don't want to be stuck paying a guy $12 million in 2014 if you're not competitive and you can't trade him.

I don't blame the Mets for keeping their options open. Ownership might be a mess, but Sandy Alderson is nobody's fool. If they haven't made R.A. Dickey happy yet, they've probably got a good reason. But throwing anonymous brickbats doesn't seem to help anyone's cause.

P.S. I almost forgot the stupidest part!

The Mets, meanwhile, have mounting concerns whether all of Dickey’s off-the-field endeavors could impact his on-field results or his standing in the clubhouse if the perception is that he has become too absorbed with his new celebrity.

Really? Before last season, Dickey a) co-wrote a really good book, b) participated in a documentary about knuckleball pitchers, and c) climbed Mount Kiliminjaro. Then he won 20 games and the Cy Young Award. If anything, shouldn't the Mets be encouraging his off-the-field endeavors?

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