R.A. Dickey has become a favorite among baseball fans the past few years, not only because of his knuckleball-throwing talent but also because of his humble and working man's approach to all aspects of the game.
But, seriously, can anyone blame the Cy Young-winning pitcher for showing up at the New York Mets' holiday party to play the role of the grumpy elf? In "very pointed comments," Dickey told reporters on Tuesday that he'll likely leave the team as a free agent after the 2013 season if an extension isn't worked out this offseason. He said he's been more than generous in his asking price of a two-year, $26 million extension and that he's disappointed the Mets have been nickel-and-diming him over what he sees as a reasonable request.
"In the context of the market, you want what you think is fair," Dickey said. "I feel like we're asking for less than what's fair because that's how it's been for me. There is a surprise sometimes when things don't get done quickly and you already think you're extending the olive branch. At the same time, they have a budget they have to adhere to. I don't know those numbers. And I try not to take it personally." [...]
Dickey laid down the gauntlet [...] saying he likely would depart as a free agent if the Mets chose to have him pitch next season without an extension."If that's the decision they feel like is best for the club, 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)," Dickey said.
Dickey's appearance and comments come on the heels of Andy Martino's report in the New York Daily News that the Mets are offering a three-year, $25 million deal that would start in 2013 and take the place of the $5 million Dickey has remaining on his current contract. That's still $6 million off from the $31 million Dickey would be guaranteed with the extension his side is requesting. And, as more than several fans have pointed out, the Mets' deal looks a lot like the money the Kansas City Royals just gave Jeremy Guthrie and the Los Angeles Angels just gave Joe Blanton. It probably doesn't have to be noted, but neither pitcher came close to pitching at a Cy Young-level last season. Both were free agents, sure, but Dickey's "I'm outta here after 2013" trump card should be enough to force a deal closer to his real market value.
Also, as some other people have noted, the contract the Mets are reportedly offering Dickey sure doesn't match the high value they're trying to extract from other teams in trade talks.
Dickey was a guest on "The Daily Show" last week and Jon Stewart kicked off the interview by asking how the Mets were going to screw up the best thing that has happened to them over the past five years — a fan favorite pitcher who has outperformed a team-friendly contract and continues to represent the franchise in a great manner, even showing up in the middle of contract talks to put on a happy face for the team's charities.
Dickey deflected his way out of the question, but all Stewart has to do is sit back and read the sports pages to get his answer. The Mets are screwing it up as we speak.