Dickey open to signing long-term deal with Mets

Dickey open to signing long-term deal with Mets

NEW YORK -- The future closed in on R.A. Dickey from all angles Sunday, when his contract came into play as the hottest topic of the day. The Mets hold an option for Dickey's services in 2013, and the veteran said he'd be open to signing a long-term deal that delays his shot at free agency.

Dickey could hit the open market after the 2013 campaign, and general manager Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Sunday that he'd love to retain Dickey long term. That message filtered back to the right-hander in the clubhouse, and he said that the feeling is mutual.

"I love it here and I've always voiced that," said Dickey, an All-Star for the first time this season. "A part of me enjoys being loyal to an organization that's given me a shot. I connect well with the fan base, [the media] has always been good and I'm comfortable here. That says a lot for me and where I am in my career.

"I do want to win, too, because I am at the place I am in my career. And I want to be part of that solution here, whatever that's going to be. I'd like to know what direction they're going -- I think that's fair -- and make the decisions accordingly. But I'm open to talking about whatever they'd like."

Dickey, 37 years old, can be brought back at a modest price for next season, and he said that his representatives engaged in preliminary extension talks with the Mets earlier in the year. Both sides eventually decided to wait until the offseason to continue their extension talks in earnest.

And judging by that experience, Dickey said that he'll likely test free agency if he starts next season without a contract. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, he said, but he doesn't want to negotiate during the year. That's just speculation for now, he said, and the important part is he wants to come back.

"Sandy knows," said Dickey. "I've told him that I've enjoyed being here and think that he's going to turn this thing around. I want to be a part of that. We'll see. Time will tell. I think they have to exercise an option by [November], but I don't want to go into the next season, and at that point, negotiate a contract that close to free agency. The little that I did it here, I didn't like it. I didn't enjoy it."

Manager Terry Collins was asked about Dickey and David Wright, who will also be seeking a contract extension this winter, and he said that it's important for the Mets to retain both. And if they're able to, said Collins, it will be because both players have confidence in the core going forward.

"I think those guys realize that we have the pieces," said Collins. "We've got to keep them healthy and keep them more consistent. We can't have these major lapses that we're going through right now. And especially in David's case -- I salute the guy, because he's of the mindset that, 'I've got to be the guy.' ... If those pieces are there, I think David and R.A. are saying, 'Look, we've got a chance to win. And fast.'"

Dickey concurred, and he said he'd be looking hard at whether the Mets retain Wright long term.

"Any time you sign a high quality player, it's a message that you're going in a certain direction," said Dickey. "David represents that, for sure. And you'd have to ask him, but I'd have to believe that he's of like mind. This could be his last contract. He's going to want to know he has a shot at it."