A “New York minute” is a phrase to describe an incredibly brief moment of time. Or as Johnny Carson once explained, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn. Right now, Mets fans are wondering why Sandy Alderson doesn’t fix all of the team’s problems in a New York minute.
Of course, Alderson brought some of this on himself, speculating that he could get contract extensions done for R.A. Dickey and David Wright by the end of the World Series. If he had kept to that timetable, the logic goes, he could have addressed the outfield at the Winter Meetings and the 2013 team would be in place by now.
But it’s way past time for the Mets to be less concerned with winning in early December than winning in August. The last four years the Mets are 44-67 in the eighth month of the year. I don’t think you can point to just one thing and make that the culprit for the team’s lousy record in August. But it does seem like the Mets have been way too preoccupied with getting things done in a New York minute during the offseason.
As mentioned yesterday, the previous two years that Alderson’s been in charge, he’s come back from the Winter Meetings with D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and Andres Torres. And while they looked like good deals at the time, in hindsight they were all failures of varying degrees. Francisco still has a chance to prove his worth, but 98 percent of the fan base wishes he was gone.
Currently the handwringing is all about how Alderson is handling contract negotiations with Dickey. It’s hard to accurately describe how much the fan base loves him but right now the overwhelming sentiment is anger at how the club is handling contract negotiations with their star pitcher. Dickey has asked for a two-year contract extension at what appears to be below-average rates for a pitcher of his caliber and the fans are shocked and dismayed that the Mets have not locked up their Cy Young Award winner through the 2015 season.
Alderson is working two different angles in regards to Dickey. He’s shopping him around the league, figuring the demand for front-end pitchers should bring back a big haul. Reportedly, Alderson is holding out for two top prospects for Dickey while other clubs are only offering one.
Yet while he’s trying to trade him, Alderson is also negotiating an extension with Dickey. While it seems like a no-brainer to sign him for the money he’s asking, the issue is that some potential trading partners may actually prefer Dickey on a one-year deal at an insane bargain than a three-year deal at a good price.
The other thing slowing negotiations is that while Dickey was the best pitcher in 2012, his advanced age and lack of success before joining the Mets made many wary of dealing for him, especially when other options were available. But now that Zack Greinke has signed, the pitching market has become clearer. It would help if Josh Hamilton, not a pitcher but a very desirable free agent nonetheless, would agree to terms with a team.
Rumor has it that if the Rangers re-sign Hamilton, they will then meet Alderson’s demands and trade for Dickey. The Blue Jays and Red Sox are the other teams mentioned most often in regards to deals with the Mets, although Toronto prefers the younger Jonathon Niese.
Hopefully for everyone involved, the Mets can resolve things with Dickey sooner rather than later. But the goal of the process is not expedience, but rather to assemble the best team possible for the future. Maybe that future team includes Dickey, maybe not. While it would be great to have Dickey through 2015, it might be even better to have two more guys to team up with Zack Wheeler in years way beyond 2015.
Either way – in the meantime – relax and have a cream soda. It will be over before Spring Training starts, which is all that really matters.
The whole scene reminds me of an old saying. There are two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: “Hey pop, let’s run down the hill and boink one of those cows!” The older one says: “No son, let’s walk down and boink ‘em all.”
So, be like the smarter, older bull and realize that not everything good happens in a New York minute.