I don’t know if stonewalling Jason Bay was a ruse by the Red Sox to get John Lackey. I didn’t think they were going to get him anyway, and it has nothing to do with them misreading the pitching market.
Even so, they should be more aggressive in their pursuit for him if he’s their target. Let’s face it, he has to be because they aren’t going to give Matt Holliday what the Cardinals are reportedly willing to do.
If the Mets think Bay will “fall back” to them like Johan Santana did, they could be mistaken. The first impression, and I had it yesterday, was Seattle wouldn’t go for him because they’ll need the money for Cliff Lee.
Perhaps that was premature.
Wouldn’t Seattle be a little more enticing to Lee if there was power in that line-up? Maybe, with Lee, the Mariners see an opening to win this year and will still pursue Bay. Truth is, the Mariners haven’t said Bay is no longer an option.
And, what about the Angels? With Lackey gone and Halladay no longer an option, they have to be looking to do something. Bay was on their radar before. He might still be on it unless the Angels are bent on those middle-tier arms the Mets have been talking about. Truth is, for what they saved in Lackey, they might be able to swing both Bay and a pitcher. And, Bay has to be a better option than Hideki Matsui.
Another option for the Bay camp has to be the Yankees. With what Johnny Damon is asking (he must be joking thinking he’ll get $39 million over three years) and Matsui doing some heavy necking with the Angels, left field is looking open in the Bronx. Plus, isn’t one-upping the Red Sox something the Yankees live to do?
I’m concerned with the Mets’ lack of aggressiveness, which obviously isn’t a problem in Philadelphia. Again, if they want Bay, put their best option on the table and be done with it.
The Mets will now have more competition for guys like Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis. Pineiro is the best pitcher left on the market with Lackey gone. The Mets are deluding themselves if they believe the price will drop for those two. Remember, as the supply of pitching shrinks, the price has to increase to meet the demand.
The Phillies have improved, and arguments can be made both the Braves and Marlins are better. The Mets, meanwhile, have loaded up on reserve catchers and still covet Bengie Molina.
The Mets are playing the Hot Stove Season much the way they did the regular season. If this continues much longer, the results will be the same.