Dickey's fate appears unaltered by Hamilton's deal
By Anthony DiComo / 12/14/12 1:30 AM ET
NEW YORK -- If Josh Hamilton's new deal with the Angels created a seismic shift in the trade market for R.A. Dickey, the Mets are waiting to see it.
Despite rampant speculation that Hamilton's arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to trade some of their outfield surplus for Dickey, a deal appears no more likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.
The Angels, according to national reports, are reluctant to trade slugger Mark Trumbo, who might not be a match for the Mets anyway, given his lagging on-base percentage and defensive limitations. And the Mets, though intrigued by defensive whiz Peter Bourjos, do not consider him the type of "difference-maker" that general manager Sandy Alderson has made it known he is seeking.
"We're looking for more of a premium-type guy in exchange for the Cy Young," one team insider said after the Hamilton signing.
That does not mean Hamilton's new five-year, $125 million contract will have no effect on the trade market. The Angels, for example, could update their thinking once they take time to re-evaluate their roster. And the Rangers, who reportedly had their eyes on not only Hamilton, but also Zack Greinke and James Shields, may make a stronger push for Dickey after missing out on all of them. One of their top prospects, Mike Olt, fits the Mets' preferred profile of a young power hitter who is capable of playing the outfield.
But Olt alone may not be enough, so the Mets must keep all contingencies open. They will continue to monitor the trade market as they work with Dickey's agent, Bo McKinnis, on a contract extension.
The Mets are also looking hard at free-agent outfielders and relievers, and could make a move soon -- perhaps even before the end of the year.
But until they do, the roster will remain largely unchanged from last season, with more subtractions than additions. Non-tendered outfielder Andres Torres agreed to a new deal Thursday with the Giants, leaving the Mets looking at Kirk Nieuwenhuis as their tentative starting center fielder. Fellow non-tendered free agent Manny Acosta signed on to join a new bullpen in Japan.
With those two the latest to fly out of a shrinking free-agent pool, roster upgrades are becoming harder to find. Alderson cautioned earlier this week that even once the Mets do make some moves, the Opening Day roster should ultimately "look similar to the way it did at the end of last year."
For now, the Mets' only offseason transactions have been extending third baseman David Wright (who was already under contract for next season), trading for utility infielder Brandon Hicks and signing a handful of Minor League free agents.
With tongue in cheek, Mets aide Paul DePodesta noted on Twitter last month that Dickey "was once a Minor League free agent" as well.