So the deed is done. The cash-strapped Mets, unwilling or unable to pay a below-market extension for their Cy Young Award-winning ace, shipped him off to Toronto for a haul of prospects and one overpriced, lumpen catcher. (I had John Buck on my roto team last year. I'm still bitter. Can you tell?)
But more than that, they made sure, before they shipped him out of town, to try to make him look like an ass. Suddenly, media sources reported, R.A. Dickey wasn't liked in the clubhouse. He was too interested in the media. He broke clubhouse code by mentioning a teammate did something dumb in his book. He - gasp - answered questions about his contract situation honestly when asked about it by the media at a team event. He was too interested in his sudden celebrity.
Oddly enough, none of these issues when he was picking up a broke-ass train wreck of a team and putting it on his back. Or when he was being celebrated for the brutal honesty in his autobiography about issues of abuse. Or when he was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity, cheerfully tweeting all the while. Or when he was giving interviews before his contract situation became A Thing. Or....
You get the idea. For whatever reason the Mets refused to meet Dickey's (in context) reasonable contract demands, and then tried to make him look like the bad guy so their fans wouldn't riot when they shipped him out of down. Because, really, devaluing your trade chip always works, and so does suddenly slagging the guy you've spent years building up.
Look, none of us actually know R.A. Dickey. Maybe we got caught up in the fun of a guy who named his bats after the magic swords in The Hobbit, and didn't realize he called his three outfielders Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. Maybe he did enjoy the fabulous book tour scene (note: Book tours, not actually fabulous) more than the Mets felt was proper. Maybe all he should have said at the Mets' holiday party when cornered by the reporters the team had invited was "Look! Santa!", and then run.
But for three years, Dickey has been unfailingly polite, gracious, humble and engaging. That these stories would come out juuuust when he and the Mets were at a contract impasse is more than just suspicious. It makes the Mets look like schmucks.
If you weren't going to pay the man, that's one thing, and that's fine. But to try to sully his name in what can only be described as spin more hamhanded than the right side of the Mets' infield defense, that's crossing a line. It's going to make players less interested in coming to play for the Mets when there are comparable dollars available elsewhere. It's going to make fans suspicious of anything coming out of the front office because, hey, wait, they said this guy was great and then they said he was a jerk. And it's going to make the rest of us even less likely to give the Mets the benefit of the doubt because, well, screw those guys.
And in the meantime, R.A. Dickey can pack his Cy Young award and head to Toronto, with a team behind him that's interested in winning and not largely composed of emergency AAA callups. I'm guessing that whatever names the Mets call him on the way out of town are going to get drowned out by cheers.