In choosing to sign a one-year, $15 million contract with the New York Yankees, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda declined other teams’ offers of more money and years, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPNNewYork.com Wednesday.
In case you missed it, the Yankees just re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $15M contract that includes another $1M in incentives. How does this affect R.A. Dickey’s contract extension negotiations with the Mets? Well, the answer is, how does it not?
Granted, Kuroda received only a one-year deal, while R.A. is reportedly seeking at least a two-year extension — which when tacked on to the final year of his current contract, becomes a three-year commitment. Further, Kuroda had the benefit and leverage of being on the open market, so the Yankees might have needed to overpay somewhat to lock him up. But still, you have to figure that the Kuroda signing is seen as a “comp” to R.A., considering the similarities in age (both will be 38 for the majority of 2013), durability (both have thrown 200+ innings in each of the past two years), market (both in NY), and performance (use any stat you wish; you’ll see the two are very similar — for example, Dickey had a 5.6 WAR while Kuroda’s was 5.2).
So, if on the open market, and pitching in the biggest market, Kuroda is worth $15M+ per season, shouldn’t R.A. Dickey be worth at least that much?
Previously, people were pointing to the Jake Peavy deal as a “comp” — two years for $29M. I suppose there’s some logic to that, and it certainly helps R.A.’s cause, but again, I have to believe R.A. is worth AT LEAST that much if not more. Sure, Peavy put up a similar performance to Dickey in 2012, but it was the first time since 2008 that Peavy threw more than 120 innings; he’s been riddled with injuries throughout his career. I don’t believe a GM (or any other baseball “expert”) can suggest that R.A.’s health going forward is more risky than Peavy’s, because that theory is based solely on age and nothing else. Peavy has always pitched with dangerous, harmful mechanics, and continues to do so — thus, another arm injury is to be expected. In contrast, R.A.’s mechanics are simple, efficient, and safe — that, more than his knuckleball, makes him more likely to remain healthy for the next 3+ years. And what’s more valuable: an ace pitcher whose mechanics and track record suggest he’ll spend considerable time off the mound, or an ace pitcher whose mechanics and track record suggest he’ll make most if not all of his starts?
If you are a loyal MetsToday reader, you know I don’t see Mets players through blue and orange glasses — my view is fairly balanced. Looking at this from a completely unbiased perspective, I have to think that R.A. Dickey would obtain at least a 3-year, $50M deal on the open market. Granted, that doesn’t mean that’s the price and commitment the Mets need to make, since he’s not on the open market, but if I’m Dickey’s agent, that’s where I’m starting the conversation. If R.A. takes the Peavy-like, two-year, $30M extension that is being thrown around publicly, I’d be concerned, because it says to me that there is something that R.A. knows that we don’t. After what he’s accomplished in the past three years, he should have the confidence to a.) hold his ground on obtaining what he’s worth; or b.) pitch another good to great season in 2013.
Or, maybe R.A. is one of those rare people who simply don’t care that much about money AND believe the Mets are going to contend for the World Series by 2015.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.