The Mets have avoided salary arbitration with R.A. Dickey by signing him to a two-year, $7.5 million extension with a third-year option and undisclosed incentives. Dickey had filed for arbitration and requested $4.7 million while the Mets countered with $3.35 million.
Though the details of the option year are not yet known, this appears to be a well-balanced deal for both sides. Dickey gets the financial security he has worked so hard for and the Mets get their best pitcher from last year back on a team-friendly contract. If 2010 really was a breakout -- and not an aberration -- Dickey will provide the Mets with a lot of value at a very reasonable price. If last year turns out to be an anomaly and Dickey returns to being a below-average pitcher, the Mets aren't on the hook for much money.
Andy McCullough has more on Dickey.
Dan Warthen played with knuckleballer Joe Niekro. He coached another, Steve Sparks, in Detroit. So he trusts his understanding of the pitch. When he watched video of R.A. Dickey last winter, he saw a pitch that "each year, it was getting better at Triple A."
Warthen called Dickey to recruit him to sign with the Mets. He was impressed by "the history, the age of a knuckleballer, the maturity, seeing that in the video that I watched over the winter. You realize that this guy has a special pitch and he knows how to do it."
Both team officials and Dickey trust that the pitcher will progress after this season. Dickey spent his offseason working on facing right-handed hitters, who actually saw him better than lefties in 2010 (.693 OPS v. .614). He is not sitting idle.
McCullough has much more on the potential value the Mets are getting by locking up Dickey for two years as well as how the deal compares to many of the deals that free-agent starting pitchers signed this offseason.