The New York Mets and CY Young Award winner R.A. Dickey are still far apart on a new contract and the feelings are so bruised that the knuckleballer was callous enough to air the pair's dirty laundry at the team's Christmas party.
While both sides tried to calm down after Dickey's head scratching move, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shocked the baseball world by swooping in and signing Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton to a 5-year, $125 contract. In a flash, the Angels suddenly found themselves flush with outfielders, short a starting pitcher while the Rangers are standing around with their offseason basket empty.
Then just hours later the Boston Red Sox signed pitcher Ryan Dempster to a 2-year, $26.5 million deal, showing once again why Dickey and his representatives can hold out for at least that much.
How does this change the Mets plan?
It means this wait and see approach of GM Sandy Alderson isn't going to fly any longer. If the team really isn't willing to give Dickey what he wants -- and all signs point to just that -- then now is the time to turn two division rivals both in need of an arm against each other in a bidding war for the 20-game winner.
The Angels can build a deal around outfielders Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo, while any Rangers deal can start with top prospect Mike Olt. Give both teams the heads up that Dickey will be on the move before Christmas and that the best bid by the end of next week will have Dickey waiting for them and their fans under the tree.
Losing Hamilton was always going to make things harder for Nolan Ryan and the Rangers, but with him now in the same lineup as Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in the NL West, Texas will need a minor miracle to survive the 19 games against the Angels. Dickey might not be a miracle worker, but having him flutter knuckleballs by those big bats would be a step in the right direction.
At the same time, Arte Moreno could follow up his Hamilton splash with one of the best stories in all of baseball. Putting him at the top of his rotation between Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson will keep him on the back pages through the end of the year, something that clearly matters to Moreno as he battles the Dodgers for fans in Los Angeles.
The market for Dickey has been set. If Alderson is unwilling to see that, then now is the time to make a trade.