New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Disheartened by the slow pace of negotiations, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey said he will turn free agent next winter if the New York Mets don’t sign him to a contract extension before next season starts.
“If that’s the decision they feel like is best for the club, and that’s the decision that they make, I feel like it would be unfortunate, because it probably is going to mean I’m not going to be back in 2014,” the 38-year-old Dickey said.
Dickey said the Mets better make the move now as he will not entertain any negotiations during the 2013 season.
“I’m so close to free agency, and I don’t want any distractions,” said Dickey, who went 20-6 last season.
The knuckleballer also insisted that he’s just asking for a far-below-market-value extension on top of the club’s 2013 obligation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Mets are prepared to offer Dickey two years at $20 million on top of the $5 million owed in 2013. Dickey, for his part, seeks a combined $26 million to $28 million for 2014 and 2015.
“In the context of the market, you want what you think is fair,” Dickey said. “I feel like we’re asking for less than what’s fair because that’s how it’s been for me. There is a surprise sometimes when things don’t get done quickly and you already think you’re extending the olive branch.”
The Mets have three options on Dickey — trade him, sign him to an extension, or let him enter 2013 in the final year of his current contract.
General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets could make a decision soon because the market for free-agent pitchers is thinning and trade routes are becoming clearer.
“Things are ongoing,” Alderson said. “We continue to talk to R.A., and specifically his agent, and there’s some progress being made there. Obviously, at the same time, we’ll talk to some other clubs and keep R.A. to some extent apprised of those conversations.”