NASHVILLE — If the current stalemate between the Mets and R.A. Dickey leads to divorce, the Texas Rangers are one of the strongest candidates to land the Cy Young Award-winner in a trade. Toronto, Baltimore and the Dodgers are also real possibilities, according to major league executives with direct knowledge of the process; the Yankees, who have also shown interest in the pitcher, are not.
In an extremely fluid situation, the Mets were said to like Toronto catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud, and Texas third baseman Mike Olt as major pieces in potential deals.
The Mets met on Monday with Toronto brass, but talks stalled and appeared dead. Then, Sandy Alderson and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resumed discussions on Wednesday, although they still had no deal.
"Alex would rather move (catcher J.P.) Arencibia than D'Arnaud, but that could change," said a person briefed on Toronto's thinking.
A different major league executive said that Texas would be willing to part with Olt in the right deal, especially if the Rangers are unable to sign free agent starter Zack Greinke.
As for Baltimore, a league source said that they liked Dickey, but were not close to finding a match in a trade. All through the week, the rival executives maintained that the Mets’ asking price for Dickey was extremely high.
"It should be," said one Mets person. "He won the Cy Young."
Kansas City, which balked earlier this week at the notion of trading top outfield prospect Wil Myers for Dickey, left the meetings "definitely not in on Dickey," according to a National League executive briefed on the situation.
Additionally, a Mets source told the Daily News on Thursday that the Yankees and Nationals were early suitors for Dickey at the winter meetings.
"Washington liked Dickey a lot, and so did the Yankees," the source said, while stressing that talks did not progress, and a deal with either club would not happen. After general manager Sandy Alderson determined that he did not want to trade Dickey to a National League East rival, the Nats signed starter Dan Haren.
The Yankees, who attempted last winter to trade for Jon Niese, did not have prospects that fit the Mets' needs, and talks stalled.
Despite all of those trade discussions, the Mets are far from ruling out keeping Dickey on a contract extension. The winter meetings ended with the sides far apart on the dollar value of a two-year deal, and the Mets' current offer was well below Dickey's initial asking price of approximately two years, $26 million, plus the pre-existing $5 million club option.
The Mets will not meet that price, according to sources.
Before leaving Nashville, Alderson indicated that he did not receive an offer for a trade worth making. "We haven't made a trade," the GM said. "You can read into that what you like."
"Things are moving forward on two tracks," he added. "While we are waiting for a better trade offer, we are still exploring bringing R.A. back."
Alderson reiterated what chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon has said several times, that the Mets were open to retaining Dickey for next year without signing him to an extension.
"I don't think its necessarily the optimum result, but it's a possible result," Alderson said. "If that's the one that ultimately transpires, then we'll be happy with that."