R.A. Dickey looked a little shaken after winning the Cy Young Award the other night, and you can't blame him, given the crazy journey that has taken him to this place -- the failures, the crushing disappointments, the renewal of a dream, and stardom, so late in his baseball life.
He thanked the New York Mets profusely for giving him a chance, for believing in him. He is a deeply thoughtful and sincere person, and he meant every word.
The backdrop to all of this, of course, is the ongoing debate about what the Mets will do with him -- sign him to an extension beyond the 2013 season, when he'll make $5 million, an incredible bargain, or trade him? The Mets have talked with other teams about a possible deal after not being thrilled with Dickey's asking price during negotiations.
Here's the bottom line: If the Mets don't figure out a way to re-sign the 38-year-old Dickey, the Wilpon family ought to sell the team. Seriously.
I'm sure the Mets are getting some trade interest from other teams, and maybe they will be offered some useful prospects. But it's very doubtful that another club is going to offer a star prospect for a knuckleball pitcher not far away from his 40th birthday. You might get a B-plus prospect, but the Mets aren't going to get Jurickson Profar for Dickey.
I'm sure that Dickey's contract demands -- whatever they are -- probably scare the Mets for the same reasons other teams won't give up prospects. He's old. His primary pitch is effective when thrown right, but a disaster when thrown poorly. The Mets' fears, deep down inside, would be shared by any other team in their situation: Dickey could go from the best pitcher in the NL to one of the worst very quickly if he can't throw his quirky pitch the right way.
But you know what? They're the New York Mets. They exist in the biggest market in the world. They aren't the Miami Marlins. They're not the Tampa Bay Rays. They should be able to take some risks, especially after next season, when Johan Santana's contract is set to expire.
I don't know exactly what the Mets are offering Dickey in an extension, nor exactly what he is asking for. But if the Mets put an aggressive two-year offer or a respectable three-year offer in front of him, I doubt he would turn it down. Because of his history, because of his journey. He appreciates everything he's gotten to this point. He's not trying to get a Zack Greinke deal, or a CC Sabathia contract.
And if the Mets fret over possibly overpaying Dickey, they can console themselves with the knowledge that they have been fortunate enough to greatly underpay the right-hander over the last couple of seasons and into next year. He's been an incredible dollar-for-production value.
He's coming off an historic season, for which he won the Cy Young Award. He presents zero risk as a person, because of his tremendous integrity.
Sign him. Pay him. Give the fans a reason to watch the team. The Mets have taken their payroll from $144 million to $92 million over the last two years, and it's probably going to remain in place or go down a little in 2013, depending on the moves they make. They should have the financial flexibility to feel good about re-signing Dickey to a multiyear deal beyond next year, and if their current financial circumstances prevent the Wilpon family from giving a well-earned extension to their breakout star and fan favorite, they should just unload the team to somebody who will operate it like the big-market club that it is.
When you fill out an award ballot, you are looking for something that will clarify the decision for you, something that will simplify the choice. And I'd bet that the writers of the AL and NL MVPs were looking for that trap door out of making a difficult choice. I know, because I've been there.
Buster Posey versus Ryan Braun was a difficult choice, statistically. Braun had the better overall numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that some writers were fretting over the idea of putting him at No. 1 on their ballots given the events of last winter, when he had a positive PEDs test overturned on appeal.
But the fact that Posey's team made the playoffs -- and Braun's team did not -- provided that trap door. That made it easy. Through history, team success has played a significant role in the MVP voting. Just ask the ghosts of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.
And the same was true for the AL MVP voting. Front-office types thought it was an absolute no-brainer for Trout to win, and those in uniform thought Cabrera was a ridiculously easy choice. But when the Tigers made the playoffs and the Angels didn't -- voila -- the easy out appeared for the writers. I don't blame some of them for taking it, because the Cabrera/Trout decision was an impossibly difficult choice.
Posey added an MVP trophy, writes Ann Killion.
Trout couldn't quite catch the award, writes Bill Plunkett.
More trade fallout
• Bud Selig says he's reviewing the whopper trade, but also is sending signals about which direction he is going with this.
Jeffrey Loria has created roadblocks for the Tampa Bay Rays, writes Gary Shelton.
Now David Samson says the Marlins will keep Ricky Nolasco. Not surprising, given the heat the franchise is taking. From a baseball standpoint, it would make complete sense for the Marlins to dump him, because they're not going to contend, but Miami is facing a lot of scrutiny lately for its payroll level.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. Jeffrey Loria makes the Wilpons look good, writes Ken Davidoff.
2. Ben Cherington ought to offer free agents massive one-year deals, writes John Tomase.
"I think it's definitely possible," Kinsler said of a potential move. "I don't want to look that far into the future; I want to look at right now. But I don't see why it couldn't happen. Whatever it takes to win games. [Michael Young] has been very valuable to the club in his role. I want to be of value to the club any way I can. If that comes about, it's definitely something I'm willing to listen to."
Kinsler will make $13 million in 2013, $16 million in 2014 and $2015, $14 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. The club holds a $10 million option for 2018 with a buyout of $5 million. If Kinsler plays all six years, he'd average $13.3 million per year. His five guaranteed years, however, are worth an average of $15 million.
The Rangers' top prospect is infielder Jurickson Profar, a natural shortstop who is also playing some second base this season at Double-A Frisco. Though only 19, Profar could be ready for the major leagues by next season. If so, the Rangers could potentially discuss moving Kinsler to the outfield to replace either Josh Hamilton or Nelson Cruz, both of whom can be free agents in the next two years.
7. Bud Selig supports the Chicago Cubs' strategy.
10. Cleveland continues to ask for a significant return on shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, with other clubs balking, and now interested executives are wondering if those demands will be gradually reduced, as we get closer to the winter meetings.
• The Yankees have a Broadway play.
• Love the St. Louis Cardinals' retro jerseys.
And today will be better than yesterday.