What does a 'difference-maker' look like? Well, he looks sort of like a Cy Young Award winner, which is what R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is. That is also what Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson says he needs in return if he ultimately decided to trade the ace knuckleballer.
"We have to get back a difference-maker," Alderson said Monday from the Winter Meetings. "It doesn’t have to be a catcher, it doesn’t have to be an outfielder, it doesn’t have to be anything. But it has to be a difference-maker, because R.A. is a difference maker."
Would a "difference-maker" be a team's top-level prospect? A young player already in the big leagues with star potential? An established player? Alderson did not elaborate, but under the circumstances you would think Alderson might be looking for a package of young talent centered around a top-tier young player or prospect.
Here is Buster Olney of ESPN analyzing the situation:
The Mets have been taking offers from teams all over the place and asking for high return. He's the reigning Cy Young Award winner, he led his league in innings last year, and he'll make less than Scott Baker in 2013, given his $5 million salary. Dickey wants a two-year extension for 2014 and 2015, at big money, and he deserves an extension -- but that doesn't necessarily mean the team that acquires him has to give it to him.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson seems to be taking the same approach that he did in the Carlos Beltran talks 17 months ago. He's making the rounds, setting the asking price -- and as time goes on, he'll be in position to gradually go down the ladder in his demands with a series of teams (the Royals, Blue Jays and Rangers among them) until somebody says yes.
It seems like the Mets are moving more and more in the direction of dealing Dickey, but that Alderson is going to take his time and find a package of players he likes. That, utlimately, sounds like the right approach.
Thoughts, Mets' fans?