NEW YORK -- Characterizing himself as "more optimistic" than he was two months ago regarding contract extensions for David Wright and R.A. Dickey, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said Tuesday that trading either player would be a last resort for the team.
Speaking in Far Rockaway, Queens, where he and pitcher Matt Harvey served meals to Hurricane Sandy victims at the United Methodist Center, Wilpon said his first priority is still to ink Wright and Dickey to contract extensions. The Mets' backup plan is to enter next season with those two on their current expiring contracts, while their final option is a trade.
"We hope to have a resolution," Wilpon said. "And you know what? Part of that resolution might be that we get deals done with both of them or one of them. Part of that might be that they both come back and play for us next year. They're both under contract. This is not a free-agent situation. This is not an arbitration situation. They're both under contract. We have all the flexibility in the world with that."
Both Wright and Dickey are entering the option years of their respective contracts, after which they can become free agents. General manager Sandy Alderson has hinted that the thinking might be focused on signing those players to new deals or looking to trade at least one of them.
As recently as last week, Alderson said that he would like to have new clarity on the situation by the Winter Meetings, which begin Dec. 3 in Nashville.
But Wilpon said he would rather retain both players on their current contracts than trade either of them.
"The process is ongoing -- that's all I can say," Wilpon said. "I know there's some misconception in the marketplace about what's going on, and that's because we're not talking and the other sides are not talking. I don't want to get into where we are, what offers have been there, what haven't. The process is ongoing. It's a good process right now.
"They're both important to the franchise and fan favorites. So we'd like to keep it that way."
Rumors have swirled regarding the Mets since before the end of the regular season, though the team has made no official moves outside of a spate of Minor League signings. Earlier this month, Alderson preached caution regarding trades, even while naming Dickey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as potential candidates for a deal.
Like Gee, Harvey brushed off speculation that the rotation will not report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February intact.
"It's baseball," Harvey said. "A lot of it is a business and everybody's trying to win, so trades are always possible. Not being here, not being in New York is always possible. You never know, but I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be a New York Met. I'm ready for the season to start."
To that end, Harvey spent two weeks earlier this season at agent Scott Boras' training facility in Newport Beach, Calif., where he worked alongside NHL players Dustin Penner and Shane O'Brien, among others. Harvey plans to spend the holidays at home in Connecticut, before ramping up his throwing in Atlanta after New Year's.
In the meantime, Harvey joined a growing list of Mets players aiding hurricane relief efforts around the tri-state area. Johan Santana, Gee and Bobby Parnell were in Queens to help at Coney Island and Breezy Point last week, and Niese will travel to the area for volunteer work in Long Beach, N.Y., next Wednesday.
"It's a huge honor to come out here with Jeff and be able to help out and do everything we possibly can to help the community," Harvey said. "The New York Mets are doing a great job. We're here to do everything we possibly can to help."
That work will continue for the Mets, even as they continue to train one eye on negotiations for Wright and Dickey.