In a society where social media has consumed every aspect of our daily lives, it’s still fascinating that thousands of people attend the Baseball Winter Meetings each year looking for morsels of information or the opportunity to see prominent team executives and agents scurrying through the lobbies of densely populated hotels for a fleeting moment. As the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center plays host to this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings, it only took a matter of seconds on Sunday evening before the rumors and speculation began to surface in the bustling restaurants and bars. The spacious hotel that eerily resembles multiple cities housed under one glass roof will temporarily turn into a rumor mill over the next few days. Besides the traditional big ticket and intensely coveted free agents, the rumors surrounding potential trades are far more intriguing, but also occasionally unrealistic as well.
- Before leaving New York City for Nashville, the speculation regarding the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey began in earnest. After the Mets had made an eight year, $138 million commitment to David Wright through 2020, two varying opinions have surfaced immediately in the media. Either the Mets will build a playoff caliber ball club around both Dickey and Wright or the crafty knuckleball pitcher will be deemed expendable since he is currently a desirable commodity and could attract attention from multiple suitors who would be willing to part with talented prospects. Dickey’s meteoric ascent to the zenith of his perceived market value has created a complex conundrum for Sandy Alderson and the Mets.
Admittedly, the Mets are least two seasons away from developing a roster that could legitimately compete in the National League East with the likes of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. On a macro perspective, the additional wild card still doesn’t enhance the Mets’ chances for opportunities to participate in the postseason in the years to come. With perennial postseason participants such as the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds consistently building quality ball clubs, the Mets need to make bold moves that are strategic and cost effective. To make matters worse for the Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers have adopted the “win at all costs” model of business and will aggressively spend until they have built a ball club that will end the Dodgers’ world championship drought of 24 years.
With the Mets already picking up Dickey’s club option of $5 million for the 2013 season and his speculated contract demands to be modest for a Cy Young Award winning pitcher, he becomes quite attractive to a select group of ball clubs. Dickey could obviously fall into two distinct categories: an ace of a pitching staff or a solid number two behind an ace. Besides the current rumors of the Texas Rangers being interested in Dickey, there is one ball club that could give Sandy Alderson exactly what he wants: a young, immensely talented and inexpensive prospect that could be an integral part of the Mets’ nucleus for years to come.
Over the past week, the Kansas City Royals have been the subject of several rumors due to their willingness to use prized prospect Wil Myers as a pawn to secure another legitimate and accomplished starting pitcher to compliment Jeremy Guthrie and the recently acquired Ervin Santana. The moment that Dayton Moore and the hierarchy of the Royals decided to dangle Myers in front of ball clubs such as the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, the Mets should have immediately jumped into the conversation since this is exactly the only type of trade they should consider for Dickey. As a 21 year old splitting 134 games between the Texas League (AA) and Pacific Coast League (AAA) this past season, Myers compiled a .987 OPS (on base plus slugging) as well notoriety for his outstanding performance at this year’s All Star Futures Game at Kaufman Stadium. While a combined 140 strikeouts at AA and AAA this season could be viewed as a lack of plate discipline, Myers is an attractive commodity that could possibly fit Sandy Alderson’s vision of the New York Mets beyond the 2013 season.
Although highly unlikely, but rather intriguing, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be a desired trading partner for the Mets if the Dodgers cannot sign Zack Greinke to a long term contract. As long as the Dodgers use a pitching prospect, such as Zach Lee, to entice Sandy Alderson, Dickey would be a fine addition to the rejuvenated rivalry with the San Francisco Giants. With a potential influx of television revenues and a “win now” mentality, Dickey might be a fascinating option as a number two or three starter behind Clayton Kershaw.
Dickey’s inspiring story and the unpredictability of the enigmatic pitch has created a cult following amongst baseball fans. The legions of Mets loyalists have warmly embraced him and he has reciprocated in a myriad of ways that most could never imagine. However, the Mets still have to seriously explore all of their options. Dickey is a short term fix to a long term problem for the New York Mets. While the expectation of Dickey consistently repeating his 2012 performance in the years to come is unfair and unrealistic for a 38 year old journey man pitcher, his greatest contribution to the Mets could be as a part of a trade that secures future success for the franchise. While Dickey will never be confused with the likes of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Dwight Gooden in the fraternity of Mets’ aces, his place in franchise history is firmly intact and just as important as each of their contributions.