So R.A. Dickey is disappointed by how slow his contract negotiations are going, and David Wright is annoyed that the contract proposals he’s received have been leaked to the press. Yeah, I wouldn’t want it in the papers either that I am not ready to accept a $100 Million dollar contract to play baseball for six or seven years. He may be aware that fans will be asked to pay $63 to watch him play baseball on Opening Day next year, and those fans might have higher expectations when they’ve paid $63 plus parking plus gas plus tolls plus food and he’s got $63 dollar bills falling between the couch cushions.
But, just to take a step back, the Mets’ self-stated top priorities this offseason were to resign David Wright and R.A. Dickey. This makes some sense, considering these two are pretty much inarguably the club’s best players.
Hard to argue with these priorities, except for the fact that these moves wouldn’t make the team any better in 2013 than they were in 2012, since these two players were on the mostly lousy 2012 club, and especially since one of them had a career year in 2012 that’s almost impossible for him to top or even duplicate next year.
You would even have a hard time arguing that not signing these two would make the 2013 club worse, since both of these players are already under contract for 2013, the Cy Young winner for just $5 million.
But as we all know these signings would be about 2014 and beyond. The rational argument for signing contract extensions would be that David Wright is a player to build around, and a 40 year old R.A. Dickey making $10 Million or more in 2014 would be better than the output of whatever a 39 year old Cy Young Award winner making $5 Million would net back in a trade.
But being a sports fan is not supposed to be about rational thinking. Considered rationally it is very silly to invest time money and emotion on the athletic performance of millionaires who happen to wear the uniform bearing the name of the city you live or live adjacent to.
Being a sports fan, and perhaps especially being a Mets fan, is an irrational decision, and so it’s supposed to be fun. And R.A. Dickey is my favorite player. He’s been my favorite player since he joined the team and especially ever since I read this quote of his in September of 2010:
“There is something to be said for really developing a skill, working hard, and living each moment well. If you can do that, at the end of the day you will be satisfied… You have to remember to never take yourself too seriously and to realize that no one is entitled to anything except this day and these moments to live well.”
He is humble, genuine, a competitor, and he is awesome to watch pitch. I really, really, really hope they sign him. I don’t want to care about how much he makes – it is not my money and as an 8 year old who fell in love with the Mets I didn’t have any sense of their salaries so why do I have to consider it now as a 37 year old fan?
And it seems to me that David Wright is kind of irreplaceable. Even if Fred Wilpon is right and he’s not a superstar, it is hard for me to think of who they would get that would be better day in and day out at 3rd base, and shouldn’t the New York Mets be able to overpay a little for a home grown star without it impacting their ability to do anything else? In fact, it seems to me the biggest downside of signing Wright is the heightened expectations he’ll have from the fans. He’s survived his slumps as an adequately compensated young player with upside, but I worry about the backlash against a streaky player over 30 making over $18 million a year.
I really hope both of these deals get done. I just also really hope that once these top priorities are checked, we can move on to get excited about additional deals that would make the team *better* in 2013 and beyond rather than just *not worse*.