(Photo credit: Vinny Haynes)

(Photo credit: Vinny Haynes)

Remember back in September, when R.A. Dickey was winning his 20th game and we all loved him?

Or in October, when he became the first Met to win a Cy Young Award in decades?

Good times.

Lately, though, I cringe every time I hear Mr. Dickey’s name. It was a lot more fun to read about him last off-season when he was talking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity.

(Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

(Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

This year, the stories are about dollars and trade rumors.

If your employer was going to pay you twice your 2013 salary guaranteed in 2014 and 2015, I bet you’d be thrilled.

The screwed up, Monopoly-money world of Major League Baseball means that contract proposal could be seen as an insult, even though we’re talking about salaries of $5 million and $10 million per year.

I can see where Dickey is coming from when he expresses “disappointment” and frustration over the negotiation process and the Mets’ reported offer of two years and $20 million.

Consider:

  • the Dodgers are paying Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu $36 million over the next six years, on top of a $25.7 million posting fee to his previous team even though he’s never faced a Major League batter.
  • the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are paying Joe Blanton $15 million over the next two years even though he’s only won 20 major league games total since 2010.
  • 37-year-old Hiroki Kuroda turned a good, but not quite Cy Young-worthy season into a one-year deal for $15 million from the New York Yankees.

I can’t really sympathize, though. The Mets are willing to give R.A. Dickey a lot of money, and if he doesn’t want to take it then he will be able to make even more on the free agent market if he can duplicate his 2012 success next year.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis won't be watching so many games from the bench in 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Kirk Nieuwenhuis won’t be watching so many games from the bench in 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Meanwhile, Mets fans are being asked to pay higher ticket prices to watch essentially the same team that finished 2012.

You know, the one that went 28-48 after the All-Star Break.

Back in August, GM Sandy Alderson noted that the Mets “need an infusion of players, productive players.” Yet thus far, he’s apparently allowed himself to misread the market for his own players and the free agent class.

So we’re looking at an outfield of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter on Opening Day. If we’re lucky, maybe Alderson will sign Scott Hairston or Cody Ross to push Baxter to the bench. Josh Thole and Anthony Recker are the only two catchers on the 40-man roster, with Mike Nickeas waiting in the wings.

And let’s not even think about the bullpen – how often will it really come into play with the 2013 Mets’ likely offensive output?

Today’s comments could be aimed at other general managers in an attempt to drive up the price of current Mets players and drive down the price of free agents… but I’m going to assume that they’re sincere. “Lower your expectations, Mets fans,” seems to be the operative message.

Enough already.

I’ll check back in on the Mets in February when SNY televises their first spring training game. But I think I’m going to be paying more attention to minor league and independent league baseball next year.

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

2 responses

  1. Ryan says:

    I’m with you on the reality-backwards contract negotiations of MLB players, but I don’t see how the Mets don’t pay Dickey what he wants. I would gladly pay more than that for the O’s to have him.

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    • Paul says:

      Ryan Dempster reportedly agreed to a two-year, $26 million contract with the Boston Red Sox today… and I know I’d rather have R.A. Dickey on my team than Ryan Dempster. But I’m also getting tired of skyrocketing salaries that never seem to be “enough.”

      I’m also really getting frustrated by team owners and a general manager that have no sense of urgency to improve the Mets.

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