On a break from serving as an elf to John Franco's Santa Claus at the Mets' annual holiday party on Tuesday, R.A. Dickey expressed disappointment at the pace of contract talks, and hope that an agreement could still be reached. "We are progressing, albeit slowly, hopefully on an extension," Dickey said. "So that's happening. So I don't know if I can tell you one way or the other, and I feel a real connection to this place. At the same time, you don't want to be taken advantage of. "So that's where we kind of are." It made for entertaining hot stove theater, and some Mets people regretted that the team's holiday party became a venue for contract chatter — although the same people were clear in saying that Dickey's comments would not undermine negotiations. The underlying facts of the negotiations remained unchanged from what the Daily News reported exclusively on Tuesday morning: The sides are closer than ever before on the proposed dollar value of a two-year contract extension. Talks are no longer in stalemate, with Dickey and the Mets only about $6 million apart (down from about $10 million last week). Dickey wants to remain a Met, and Sandy Alderson, while more than open to the right trade, prefers to retain him. In the past few days, the Mets have upped their offer to approximately three years, $25 million (a two-year contract extension worth about $10 million per season, beginning after Dickey is paid $5 million in 2013). Dickey has been seeking a two-year, $26 million extension ($31 million in total guaranteed money), more than reasonable in an offseason in which the Kansas City Royals signed starter Jeremy Guthrie for three years, $25 million. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/new-mets-deal-dickey-feeling-undervalued-article-1.1218234#ixzz2EqB3P84d