Characterizing himself as “more optimistic” than he was two months ago, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trading either David Wright or R.A. Dickey would be a last resort for the team. Speaking in Far Rockaway, Queens, where he and pitcher Matt Harvey served meals to Hurricane Sandy victims, Wilpon said his first priority is still to ink Wright and Dickey to contract extensions. The Mets’ backup plan is to enter next season with those two on their current expiring contracts. Their final option is the trading block.
“We hope to have a resolution,” Wilpon said to mlb.com. “And you know what? Part of that resolution might be that we get deals done with both of them or one of them. Part of that might be that they both come back and play for us next year. They’re both under contract. This is not a free-agent situation. This is not an arbitration situation. They’re both under contract. We have all the flexibility in the world with that.”
Wright and Dickey are entering the option years of their respective contracts, after which they can become free agents. General manager Sandy Alderson hinted that the thinking might be focused on signing those players to new deals or looking to trade at least one of them. As recently as last week, Alderson said that he would like to have clarity on the situation by the Winter Meetings, beginning Dec. 3. Nonetheless, Wilpon said he would rather retain both players on their current contracts than trade either of them.
“The process is ongoing — that’s all I can say,” Wilpon said to mlb.com. “I know there’s some misconception in the marketplace about what’s going on, and that’s because we’re not talking and the other sides are not talking. I don’t want to get into where we are, what offers have been there, what haven’t. The process is ongoing. It’s a good process right now… They’re both important to the franchise and fan favorites. So we’d like to keep it that way.”
Rumors have swirled regarding the Mets, though the team has made no official moves outside of Minor League signings. Earlier this month, Alderson preached caution regarding trades, while still naming Dickey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as potential candidates for a deal. Harvey brushed off speculation that the rotation will not report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February intact.
“It’s baseball,” Harvey said to mlb.com. “A lot of it is a business and everybody’s trying to win, so trades are always possible. Not being here, not being in New York is always possible. You never know, but I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be a New York Met. I’m ready for the season to start.”