The major focus heading into the winter meetings regarding the Dodgers was about one Cy Young Award winner in Zack Greinke. But another Cy Young winner created some buzz on Monday, as the Dodgers have kicked the tires on the availability of R.A. Dickey of the Mets, per multiple reports.
Before getting ahead of ourselves, it's worth noting that the winter meetings, a convention by their very nature, are designed to produce talks, as all 30 teams are in one place. If there is any time or place to throw something against the wall to see if it sticks, the winter meetings are it.
Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness reported the Dodgers' interest in Dickey, though he admitted the extent of the club's interest was unknown. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com also reported that the Dodgers inquired about Dickey on Monday.
But they were not alone.
Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald of ESPN reported on the Red Sox interest in the knuckleballer, but also that the Mets met with eight teams about Dickey on Monday.
(Mets general manager Sandy) Alderson said he would be looking for "difference-makers" in return for Dickey -- not low-Class A prospects. He added that the incoming player would not necessarily have to be an outfielder or catcher, the two areas of most glaring need for the club.
"What we've tried to say to ourselves is that we have to get back difference-makers," Alderson said. "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."
Dickey, who turned 38 in October, was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for the Mets in 2012 and led the National League with 230 strikeouts, one more than the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Dickey is under contract with the Mets for one more season, at a bargain of $5 million.
So, understandably, the asking price is high, and not something the Dodgers can simply buy. Gurnick speculates:
Greinke remains the top priority for a team that believes it can outbid anyone financially. A trade for Dickey, however, would depend on prospects the Dodgers don't seem to have.
Pitcher Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, as well as young shortstop Dee Gordon, would be expendable, but the Mets are looking for a premier young outfielder and catcher. The Mets, then, would probably ask for a package that started with top pitching prospect Zach Lee and build from there, and the Dodgers have refused to part with him in the past.
That said, general manager Ned Colletti reiterated Monday at the Winter Meetings that loading up on starting pitching remains his top priority.
"If we can sign two starting pitchers, we're going to take that chance," he said.
Even though landing Dickey may be a long shot, it certainly makes for an exciting first day of the winter meetings.
In addition to Adrian Gonzalez, Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic will have two other Dodgers on the roster as well. Third baseman Luis Cruz will play for Mexico, and former Cy Young Award winner and current broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela will be the pitching coach.