R.A. Dickey may stay minus deal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The New York Mets have options beyond extending R.A. Dickey's contract or trading the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner this offseason.

For the second time in recent weeks, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon insisted the organization ultimately may let Dickey pitch for New York next season, during the knuckleballer's walk year.

Dickey, 38, is under the Mets' control for next season at just $5 million.

Wilpon did not even mention trading Dickey as an option Wednesday while attending the news conference to announce third baseman David Wright's eight-year, $138 million deal.

"We're in the process now," Wilpon said. "It's a negotiation. They want more than we're willing to give right now. We want to do it for less than they want to accept right now. Somewhere in between, there's probably a deal to be done. If not, he'll be a great bargain at $5 million playing out next season for us."

Asked again if it was viable for Dickey to enter 2013 as a Met without an extension, Wilpon said, "Absolutely."

Despite meeting with at least eight teams this week regarding Dickey, Mets officials have yet to find a suitor willing to offer "difference makers" -- the term general manager Sandy Alderson used for what the Mets seek in return for the knuckleballer.

"Obviously being here in this environment, the trade stuff seems to heat up," Wilpon said. "But until Sandy gets what he feels is appropriate value for his contract and what he would do, I don't think he's pulling the trigger on a trade."

Alderson said he has met twice with Dickey's agent, Bo McKinnis, this week in Nashville.

"I'm hopeful," Dickey told ESPN's Buster Olney on Wednesday during his second appearance at the winter meetings this week. "I think that's where I stand -- in hope that we're going to be able to reach an agreement.

"I do know that Sandy Alderson is paid to make the Mets better. I get that completely. And there's no acrimony there. It's not an acrimonious situation at all for me. I'm hopeful to reach an extension with those guys. But if it ends up that I'm traded so that the Mets can be better, I understand that. And, hopefully, I'll get traded to a contender."

Alderson has appeared less bullish on retaining Dickey without an extension than Wilpon, who is part of the ownership family, has been.

"(Keeping Dickey without an extension) has always been an option," Alderson said. "I don't think it's more of a likelihood today than it was yesterday. But it certainly is an option -- not preferable from our standpoint. But at some stage, we'll have to weigh option A, option B and option C and make a judgment. And it may turn out at that time that the one-year option is most viable for us."

Alderson said he does feel the situation is closer to a resolution than when he arrived at the winter meetings Sunday.

"With the passage of time comes more information and a better ability to assess where we are," he said. "But it doesn't mean we'll have resolution by the time we leave here tomorrow afternoon. I think when we leave here, we will be comfortable that we've explored all of our options."

Alderson was lukewarm on whether he believes there remains potential for an extension to be reached with Dickey's agent.

"R.A. has said he wants to be in New York," Alderson said. "We'd like to have him in New York. Hopefully there's room for some further negotiation and compromise on that basis. We'll see."