A day after reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey officially became a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, the knuckleballer confirmed the New York Mets' final pre-trade extension offer was for two years, $20 million on top of the $5 million owed for 2013.
Dickey also apologized Tuesday on a conference call with New York reporters for being so outspoken about his frustration with the pace of negotiations a week earlier, during a team holiday party at Citi Field for schoolchildren affected by Hurricane Sandy.
"At the Christmas party, I must admit to you, that I was unprepared for that informal press conference, if you will," Dickey said. "I wasn't aware I was going to be put in that position. So I didn't have a conversation with anybody about what was going to happen. ... I feel badly about using a time such as that to become emotional, and I want to apologize for that. That wasn't the venue necessarily to do that in. Now, I think my emotions and my feelings were warranted. At the same time, that was the wrong place to do that."
Dickey said the Mets originally offered him a two-year, $14 million extension. He said he was not insulted by the lowball opening bid, though.
"I think it might have been the equivalent of somebody offering $1 -- 'Let's just get it going to see where we stand,' " Dickey said. "I didn't necessarily take that first offer as a convincing slap in the face or anything. I wasn't looking for a fight after that. I just thought that was an arbitrary offer that they made and, 'Let's get the ball rolling and we'll see where we stand at the end of this thing.' That's how it's done, so there wasn't any acrimony to it."
Dickey eventually signed a two-year, $25 million extension with the Blue Jays -- roughly what he sought from the Mets. The extension talks with Toronto began after the sides agreed on a package of players that included prospects Travis d'Arnaud and right-hander Noah Syndergaard landing in New York.
As for the slow pace of negotiations with the Mets, Dickey suspects team officials purposely dragged things out until front-line free-agent pitchers began to come off the board. That strategy figured to increase the interest in Dickey among teams desperate for starting pitching.
"I think, just as a logical person, it made sense that they were going slowly to try to see what was out there," Dickey said. "And I can certainly understand that. It may not have not lined up with my timing, which is perfectly OK."
Dickey said that once the Mets' $20 million offer and Dickey's asking price became public and the Mets still acted with no urgency, he suspected he might be done as a Met. Dickey said he fully recognized he was a goner Saturday, when Mets general manager Sandy Alderson called him to say the Blue Jays had a 72-hour window to negotiate.
Dickey still had to complete the extension negotiations with Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, who had camped out in Nashville, Tenn., where Dickey lives. But Dickey figured even if those talks somehow fizzled, he would be traded somewhere.
"I thought to myself, 'Well, that's probably it,' " Dickey said. "Let's just say if the extension or whatever did break down with Toronto, I knew that they were aggressively seeking to move me at that point."
Dickey expressed disappointment Tuesday with at least one tabloid column that portrayed him on his way out as being a publicity seeker who had critics among other players in the clubhouse.
"My response is, 'Go ask my teammates,' " Dickey said.
He added: "I didn't quite understand the timing. And so because of the timing, if you put two and two together, it looks like there's a force out there trying to sway a public perception. And that was just sad to me. I didn't feel smeared necessarily, because I'm confident in who I am and the things I do and who I am as a human being."
As for his three-year, rags-to-riches Mets career ending, Dickey said: "I am sad. And I think it's important for me to grieve that. I think it's important for me to grieve leaving New York. I had a proverbial home there. I had a home among fans. I had a home in an organization. I had a lot of success there. And I think it's important for me to be sad about that for a moment before I go on to the next feeling.
"And that next feeling has already arrived for me. So I've grieved what I need to grieve. And now I am so excited. I can't tell you how excited I am to be part of an organization that's committed to winning and putting a product on the field that the fans can be excited coming to support."