The latest step in Sandy Alderson's plan to rebuild the Mets hinges on contract talks between R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The two sides entered into a 72-hour negotiating window this afternoon, according to a Fox Sports report. Once Dickey agrees to an extension with the Blue Jays, the Mets will acquire top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud and top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard as part of potential seven-player deal, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The people requested anonymity because no deal was official until Dickey signed.

The deadline is 2 p.m. Tuesday. In the proposed trade, Mets catcher Josh Thole and a prospect would head to Toronto in exchange for Blue Jays catcher John Buck and another prospect. Neither of the prospects is likely to be an elite talent.

If the deal comes through, the Mets general manager's blueprint will inch closer into public view. The team has always considered 2014 as its best realistic hope for contention. The Mets now appear geared for another rough campaign in 2013. Trading the reigning Cy Young Award winner hinders the team in the present. But the future does appear a tad brighter, with d'Arnaud and Synergaard joining a potential core group of players like Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Ike Davis and, of course, David Wright.

For now, the situation mirrors one the Mets underwent in February 2008. After acquiring Johan Santana from Minnesota, the team had a 72-hour window to strike a deal. They agreed on a six-year, $137.5 million contract.