A gaggle of autograph seekers trailed behind Mets starter R.A. Dickey as he stepped into an atrium festooned with Christmas decorations inside the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Hotel. A mere 15-minute drive had transported him from his home to a scene from his past.

The last time he visited this hotel, at the 2007 Winter Meetings, he visited the suite of Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire after signing a minor-league contract. Before the meetings ended, Dickey learned he was selected by Seattle in the Rule 5 draft.

Five years later, Dickey finds himself surrounded by the trappings of fame: millions of dollars in his bank account, the National League Cy Young Award ticketed for his mantle, hordes of adoring fans. But on the eve of this year's meetings, his future is again unsettled. Despite Dickey's hopes to strike a contract extension with the Mets, the possibility of a trade remains a realistic possibility.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson intends to have discussions about dealing his team's ace. Dickey does not want to agree to another team-friendly deal, as he did in the winter of 2010. The standoff holds sway over what remains of the Mets' offseason. A solution may not come this week.