The Mets left the winter meetings on Thursday no closer to a solution regarding R.A. Dickey, and yet their time here sure did crystallize the double standard of a stance they've taken on their 20-game winner.

That is, they are shopping him like the Cy Young winner he is, telling teams they would trade Dickey only for their very best major league-ready prospects, and yet they don't seem willing to pay him anything close to that standard in contract.

They can't have it both ways.

They are right to be asking for blue-chippers only, or else it makes no sense to trade Dickey. But why aren't they showing him at least a similar type of respect at the bargaining table?

The price of pitching, as usual, is through the roof this offseason. The Royals signed journeyman Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year, $25 million deal. The Angels just gave Joe Blanton a two-year, $15 million contract.

And the Mets won't offer Dickey more than $20 million for two years, on top of the $5 million bargain of a club option they have him for 2013?

There is some question, based on what sources say, whether the Mets have even gone to $20 million for two years, as has been widely reported. But even if they have, the three-year total of $25 million would be exactly what the Royals are paying Guthrie, who last had a winning season, at 7-5, in 2007.

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