NEW YORK (AP) — R.A. Dickey and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson can agree on one thing — they would prefer to have closure before opening day.
The NL Cy Young Award winner can become a free agent after 2013 and says he won't negotiate once the season starts, so the Mets probably have to sign him to a new contract or trade him to get the best return.
Dickey says it "would be disappointing" if he simply played out his option year and became a free agent. If that occurred, he said he thinks he wouldn't return to the Mets, a team with which he says he has "a real connection."
"If that's the decision that they make, I feel like it would be unfortunate because it probably is going mean that I'm not going to be back," Dickey said. "And that would be sad. ... That would be disappointing."
At a team event Tuesday for children displaced from their schools by Superstorm Sandy, Dickey and Alderson said the sides were still apart.
The Mets have two ways to get the most out of their investment of Dickey, who is coming off a season in which he led the NL with 230 strikeouts and went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA. The year before, he was the first player the Mets cut in spring training, though he worked his way to New York and earned a spot in the rotation at the end of the year.
In 2012, he blossomed into an All-Star — and his contract for next season pays him well below market value. He's due $5 million for next season, which could make the 38-year-old attractive in a trade. Or the knuckleballer could sign a multiyear deal with the organization that gave him a chance when most players in Dickey's position would have been out of baseball.