R.A. Dickey may have angered the Mets, but questionable etiquette isn't enough to get you traded without a solid return.

A day after Dickey upset team brass by using a holiday party at Citi Field as a forum to voice his displeasure with recent contract negotiations, the two sides remained in limbo yesterday on the knuckleballer's future.

The industrywide expectation is the Mets will try to resolve the situation by the end of this week. General manager Sandy Alderson hinted at that on Tuesday, when he said he expected clarity on Dickey's status within a few days.

According to an industry source, the Mets consider four teams as "serious" potential trade partners. What defines "serious" at this point? A willingness to include one top prospect in a deal for Dickey. Nevertheless, the Mets aren't budging from their position of seeking multiple highly rated prospects in any trade for the Cy Young Award winner, and haven't yet found a team willing to make such a deal.

The Mets have not spoken to the Rangers since the Winter Meetings, according to sources, but Texas and Toronto remain the most logical destinations if Dickey is traded. The Mets have asked the Rangers for stud prospect Mike Olt as part of a deal for Dickey. The Mets are believed to have asked the Blue Jays for highly regarded catcher Travis d'Arnaud as part of a package.

The latest contract offer the Mets have extended Dickey is for two years and $20 million, beginning in 2014. The 38-year-old knuckleballer is signed for $5 million next season.

"It's a pretty fair offer," an AL executive said yesterday. "He's 38, so how far out there are you going to get? And if I'm going to guarantee him that type of money, I want an option for an additional year."

Because Dickey is not a free agent, the executive said the Mets' offer to him shouldn't be placed in the context of the current market.