This past week at Citi Field, R.A. Dickey broke character — as one of Santa's elves, at a Mets holiday party centered around young victims of Hurricane Sandy — to show his true character. All about himself once again, Dickey issued the laughable threat that, if the Mets didn't extend his contract, he'd bolt the organization after 2013.

The Mets are prepared to call the knuckleballer's bluff with flair. As of last night, the club was engaged in serious trade discussions that would send the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner to Toronto for stud catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud and perhaps other, lesser players.

Forget about Dickey, who is not expected to sign an extension with Toronto, bolting Flushing for the 2014 campaign. Now he'll be gone a year earlier than he predicted, for the top prospect in Toronto's rich farm system, a guy the Mets can control through 2018.

The Mets are poised to pull this off even though Dickey's unwieldy personality, the same personality that fueled his remarkable climb to greatness, mitigated the Mets' options. Dickey's remarks Tuesday underlined how risky it would be to employ Dickey as a one-year, $5-million, extension-less player in 2013.

This transaction marks a brave new path for the Mets, one in which sound baseball operations trumps sentiment. This in the same week when the Yankees are giving 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki, who clocked 10 mediocre weeks and two phenomenal ones in The Bronx, a two-year extension seemingly because fans adored his inability to hit home runs.