Speaking at the GM Meetings in Indians Wells, Calif., assistant GM John Ricco addressed the Jason Bay buyout, any progress in talks with David Wright and R.A. Dickey as well as Scott Hairston's free-agent status:
• Ricco said the Mets initiated the Bay buyout talks.
“There were no discussions prior to the season ending. As you guys all lived with him and saw him, he was giving his best right till the end. But it was a difficult time for him and we saw that, and I think at some point decided. But as Sandy said, we really were hopeful to bring him back and see what he could do, but at the end of the day we reached an agreement that really works for both of us.”
• Deferring Bay money should slightly ease this offseason's crunch, although don't expect any wild free-agent spending.
"I think it’s safe to say it will help us, but to the extent? I can’t really say," Ricco said. "But what it does do obviously is it clears up a situation, not in a positive way, positive in terms of there’s no lingering doubt as to, ‘Is he going to come back, is he going to be the player he used to be?’ We have some certainty that he’s moved on. Now we know what we need to do and we know who we have, and we’ll have to address that moving forward.”
“Partially," Ricco said. "I don’t think he’s really a disruptive-type player. But because it’s a question mark, and we went down this road with Castillo and Perez last year, and in that case we decided that we wanted to give that a shot. In this case we looked at it and said if we can reach an agreement with him that works, it’s good for him and good for us, let’s explore it.”
• On Wright talks, Ricco said: “They’re ongoing. We’re still discussing. I’ve been through enough of these that it’s hard to say what’s close, what’s not. We’ve had dialogue, and they kind of have, each of these has a speed to itself. So it’s hard for me to predict. But we’re still in dialogue with him and optimistic we can get something done.”
On the discussions collectively with Dickey and Wright, Ricco added: “We’re talking to both of them at the same time. It’s not something you can’t do at the same time. And with the two players, it’s not like one’s going to affect the other. They’re kind of in two different places. We’re working concurrently. They each have their own timetable and neither one is dependent on the other, so one could happen and the other one might not happen, or they could happen at the same time.”
• On Hairston's status, Ricco said: “We haven’t reached out to -- Sandy may have, I don’t know if he reached out, he talks to Scotty all the time -- but we really haven’t narrowed in on the candidates that we’re going to focus on. ... Certainly we’re going to be looking for some right-handed help. We were thin from the right side with Jason, and we’re heavy left-handed, so we’re going to need some right-handed help.”