Earlier this week, I argued the Mets should essentially stand pat for 2010, let the injured heal, the young mature and everyone jell, and let’s see what happens before we dive into the trade or free agent pool.
Aside from my previous arguments about being able to field an 85-win team with what we already have, there are two other reasons why I think we should stay pat.
Over-reaction and over-paying.
Omar Minaya is under time pressure to do something/anything to “improve” the Mets. My fear is that he will do something â€“ for the sake of doing something.
All I want, as the Mets plot their moves in the off-season, is for Minaya and the powers that be to heed what emergency room doctors are taught: it may be better to do nothing than to do something that risks causing more harm than good.
Unfortunately, because of the pressure to win, Met GMs can’t bask in this wait-and-see luxury. Our oft ill-considered rush to win has cost us dearly in the past. I am reminded of the Mets failures in the early 1990s and management’s over-reaction to same, resulting in the acquisition of such big name disasters as Frank Viola, Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Frank Tanana, Tony Fernandez, Eddie Murray and Bret Saberhagen. And do I have to go through the litany of equally disastrous young/core players for “big names” trades the Mets regularly have made?
Adding to the problem is the dearth of available free agent talent. I keep hearing “We need a bat and an arm.” But I have yet to hear anyone realistically discuss who would want toÂ voluntarily commit themselves to the Citi insane asylum, or that the Mets could realistically sign at reasonable rates.
The top free agents desired by the Mets and fans â€“ John Lackey, Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Randy Wolf and Jason Marquis â€“ all will be playing in the post season. We will get a closer look to see how they perform under pressure (and, likely in Marquis’ and maybe Holliday’s and Wolf’s case, against the Phillies), a prerequisite for playing in the glassed-in prison cell of New York City.
But let’s say all five pass the post-season pressure test. What then?
Just because we want them doesn’t mean we’ll get them. And just because we can get them doesn’t mean we should get them. But these aphorisms aside, I just can’t see Lackey, Holliday or Bay signing with the Mets.
Lackey hails from Texas and has pitched his entire career in Southern California. Why would someone exposed to this much country life want to play in New York? (Especially since he wears 41, which he couldn’t wear as a Met; I could find no evidence he wears that number because he was a Seaver fan, however.) I smell Ed Whitson II.
Holliday is purely a Midwesterner â€“ born in Oklahoma, played in Denver and St. Louis. Sure, the Cards may think he’s too expensive and we might be able to sign him â€“ but will he be comfortable in the big city? He couldn’t make it in Oakland, for crissakes.
Bay was once a Mets’ prospect â€“ albeit for four months. Would he want to come back? Should he come back? His power would be muted by CitiField’s dimensions. And Bay isn’t exactly Endy Chavez in left field. Remember what a couple of muffs in left field did to our view of Daniel Murphy?
I honestly don’t know enough about Wolf other than he played for the Phils and seems to enjoy big city life, but I truly believe Niese could be a much cheaper version of same and ought to get the chance to prove it â€“ here.
I know why one of these free agents might sign with the Mets. Because Omar, in an attempt to grab one or more of them just to be able to say he grabbed one or more of them, will be tempted to overpay.
No, check that. We will overpay. With so few quality players and so many teams chasing them (yes, other teams need a bat and an arm as well), this will be a seller’s market.
The one realistic signing the Mets could make is Jason Marquis. According to the NY Post (I know, not exactly the most trustworthy source), Staten Island native Marquis actually wants to play for Mets, perhaps lured either by Citi’s copious dimensions, dementia or both. Â Works for me (I always thought you had to be a little nuts to want to live here), but, again, not for the Oliver Perez money it might take to land him.
It’s not that I don’t want the Mets to bulk up. What I’m afraid of is that Dr. Minaya will metaphorically prescribe expensive steroids for quick results rather than stick to the old fashioned way of diet and exercise. The latter route may take longer, but it’s ultimately healthier and will produce longer-lasting results.
* Was that a great game yesterday or what? Wow.
* But wasn’t it weird hearing Ron Darling’s voice without Gary Cohen? Boy, is RD smart! Why hasn’t someone hired him to manage? Say, the Mets?
* I’m rooting for the Yankees. I live in New York and I’m rooting for my home team. This differs from most Mets fans who would like to see the Yankees eat s…er, fecal matter… and die, like Stan, an usher at CitiField and an old-time Brooklyn Dodger fan who vividly remembers attending the final game of the 1950 season when Richie Ashburn threw out Cal Abrams at the plate after a base hit by Duke Snider, who told me in a game between the Yankees and the Russians, he’d root for the Russians. He’d be disappointed. I’m pretty sure the Russians suck at baseball.