R.A. Dickey said he would prefer signing a contract extension with the New York Mets this winter rather than testing free agency during the 2013-14 offseason. The 2012 NL Cy Young winner added, however, that if he does not agree to an extension before Opening Day, he will not negotiate during next season.
Dickey, 38, is under contract for next season at $5 million. He became the first knuckleball pitcher to win a Cy Young earlier this month after he finished 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA last season.
"I think the minimalization of risk," Dickey said, explaining his preference to sign this winter during an appearance to promote literacy at DREAM Charter School in Harlem. "You obviously, when you sign an extension, you help yourself. You put yourself in a position to lessen the risk forthcoming of injury or what have you. So there's that.
"But more than that, for me, is I enjoy being here, and I want to be a part of this place seeing brighter days."
Dickey said he speaks regularly with third baseman David Wright, who also is under contract only through next season. And the knuckleballer expressed confidence Wright ultimately would sign an extension with the Mets.
"We're in a similar position, I'd say, where things are progressing. It's just the pace is slow. But we're in dialogue, and we're hopeful."
Explaining why he would not want to negotiate in-season, Dickey said: "A lot of times you come back on kind of a lame-duck contract and it's kind of a message that, 'This is old. We don't want you anymore beyond this year.' So hopefully that's not the case. That would be sad."
Dickey said he expected a contract to be completed by now.
"I did because of the verbiage that (general manager) Sandy (Alderson) used at the end of the season kind of led me to believe that he wanted to do something very soon," Dickey said. "Now that was my expectation based on his words. But these things -- I think I've said this before -- they kind of take on a life of their own. They have a timing for things. We have until spring training. But I would think they would formulate some kind of plan so they can know what they can do forthcoming.
"They have offered and we have countered. That's kind of the stage that we're in. We're hoping to hear back from them soon and get the dialogue going again."
The winter meetings will take place next week in Nashville, Tenn., which happens to be the hometown of Dickey and his agent.
"I think that's definitely going to put it in the crockpot, so to speak, with the temperature turned up," Dickey said. "Things usually get done around the winter meetings. Everybody is in one place. And whenever you're talking face-to-face there seems like an urgency is involved."
Dickey added that he probably would participate in the negotiations.
"I have no problem sitting in," Dickey said. "Sandy and I have a good relationship. We always have. I'm an older guy. I like to be involved -- probably more than most players. I feel like I have something to offer."