Dickey trade talks appear to be picking up speed

NL Cy Young Award winner mentioned in potential deal with Blue Jays

By Anthony DiComo / 12/14/12 7:03 PM ET

NEW YORK -- R.A. Dickey's storybook three-year run with the Mets may be coming to an end. The Mets are seriously discussing a trade of the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations, and could strike a deal as soon as Saturday. The Blue Jays are reportedly the front runners for his services.
But people involved with the negotiations said on Friday evening that nothing is imminent. So for at least one more night, the Mets expect Dickey to remain in their employ.
The Blue Jays, who possess surplus catching and outfield, have long been considered natural trade partners for the Mets, and they now appear to be closing in. Some combination of catchers Travis d'Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia, in addition to outfielder Anthony Gose, could net them Dickey.
MLB.com reported late Friday afternoon that the Rangers, long considered serious suitors for Dickey, are no longer in the running. And despite rampant speculation that Josh Hamilton's arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to shrink their own outfield surplus, a deal with the Halos 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 have been a match for the Mets anyway given his lagging on-base percentage and defensive limitations. And though the Mets are intrigued by defensive whiz Peter Bourjos, they do not consider him the type of "difference-maker" that general manager Sandy Alderson 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 "difference-maker" could be d'Arnaud, who hit .333 with 16 homers in 67 games last season at Triple-A Las Vegas before tearing a ligament in his left knee, a season-ending injury. Though the Blue Jays possess another top catcher in Arencibia, his .275 career on-base percentage might spook the Mets. But either catcher would be an offensive upgrade over the incumbent Josh Thole, who struggled at the plate in 2012.
Gose, 22, is an elite defensive center fielder who struggled offensively upon his big league debut. But he did finish the year on a .265 run with four doubles, two triples, one home run and five stolen bases in 27 games. If acquired, Gose could supplant Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the Mets' Opening Day center fielder.
Any deal could be contingent upon Dickey inking a contract extension with his new club. The knuckleballer has been seeking a two-year, $26 million deal from the Mets in addition to his $5 million option for 2013, but talks reportedly stalled in recent days, while the trade market warmed.
"You want what you think is fair, and ... I feel like we're asking for less than what's fair," Dickey said on Tuesday at the Mets' holiday party. "There is a surprise sometimes when things don't get done quickly and you already think that you're extending the olive branch."
Aside from their Dickey conversations, the Mets are looking hard at free-agent outfielders and relievers, and could make a move soon -- perhaps even before the end of the year.
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 with the Giants on Thursday, leaving the Mets looking at Nieuwenhuis as their tentative starting center fielder. Fellow non-tendered free agent Manny Acosta signed on to join a 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.