R.A. Dickey, it would seem, is nearly on his way out of Queens and headed to Canada, or perhaps Baltimore, or maybe Texas. Regardless, it's about time. R.A. Dickey may be a fine pitcher, but God knows the Mets have had to put up with a lot from him over the past year.
There was his attention-grabbing hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, which could have resulted in a career-altering injury or death. Then he published his self-serving memoir, making all of us feel kind of gross with its revelations he had been molested as a child. None of us wanted to read about that. Then he put up one of the best seasons in recent Mets memory, winning 20 games and being worth somewhere around five or six wins above replacement, so that the Mets would have to debate whether to extend such a singular pitcher.
At every turn, Dickey has been incredibly selfish, wanting to use the one moment of leverage he has had in his professional career to take care of his family and make up for more than a decade of riding buses instead of thinking about how an extension that probably still leaves him underpaid relative to his performance and his peers is going to affect the bottom line for Fred Wilpon and the cash-poor Mets. He even used a Mets-sponsored holiday party to point out that, if he's not extended, "I feel like it would be unfortunate, because it probably is going to mean I'm not going to be back [in 2014]." The holidays are no time for reality checks, obviously, and it's clear that 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," as one Mets official told Mike Puma, despite the fact that those distractions seemed to have had absolutely no effect (or perhaps even benefited him) in 2012.
The foregoing crimes against the Mets represent only what has leaked to the media. The Mets have a much longer list of reasons to feel disappointed, hurt, flummoxed, betrayed, and exasperated by their soon-to-be-former ace. Chiefly:
- Dickey likes to give away tickets to underprivileged kids, who never buy as much food, drink, and merch as the poor privileged kids that Dickey just tends to ignore. Or their fathers who guzzle down Citi Field's beer supply.
- Instead of using his off-day to gently relax his arm and ankle in a whirlpool, or building camaraderie by golfing with his buddies on the team, Dickey went to a candlelight vigil and Take Back the Night March to raise awareness for victims of sexual abuse.
- A devoted family man, Dickey doesn't spend nearly as much time chasing tail with his teammates on the road, creating a leadership void in which nobody takes the time to show the rookies how it's done.
- Even with a hard knuckleball, Dickey's pitches are really hard for Josh Thole to catch, and Thole already has enough problems trying to hit without worrying about this, too.
- He once violated team policy by nodding hello to Jason Bay, thereby acknowledging his existence and lending crucial support at a time when Mets brass were trying to undermine his sense of self-worth and cause a total and complete mental breakdown so insurance would cover his salary, or better yet, he'd retire and become a hermit, convinced no one else could see or hear him.
- Dickey told David Wright to follow his heart and sign Sandy Alderson's extension offer, thereby tying the Mets into another long-term commitment they probably can't afford and will almost certainly end up regretting.
- He went on The Daily Show and talked with professional funnyman Jon Stewart, who makes jokes at the Mets' expense sometimes.
- R.A. sent flowers to the Mets' traveling secretary on Secretary's Day, thoughtlessly failing to remember that Wilpon was probably going to forget; he thereby simultaneously made the boss look bad and raised expectations of future gifts.
- Thinking of his daughters, on June 2nd Dickey gave the baseball from the final out to a little girl as he walked off the field after his complete-game shutout over the Cardinals. BASEBALLS COST MONEY, R.A.!
- Worried about his precious reputation as nice guy, friend to all, and upstanding citizen more than his team's pride, Dickey steadfastly refuses to throw at Carlos Beltran's head in every at-bat.
- Because he doesn't know how to win, Dickey gave up eight runs to Atlanta on April 18. Some people just lack that killer instinct.
- Dickey has already reserved two full pages of ad space in every single New York paper, including The Village Voice, to thank Mets fans for their support over the last three years, proving he already has one foot out the door. #Trader!
As you can see, the Mets have been putting up with a lot. and that's not even the half of it. You should see how much of the Wilpons' hard-earned money Dickey just GIVES AWAY to orphans and widows and veterans groups and firefighters. Obviously, it's time to let go, before Dickey does anything more to destroy the Mets' brand. And hey, maybe acquiring Anthony Gose will bring back fond memories of D.J. Dozier.
Michael Bates is one of SBN's Designated Columnists and one of the minds behind The Platoon Advantage. Follow him at @commnman.