While the Mets were fighting with reporters and embarrassing themselves, the Philadelphia Phillies were doing everything they could to wrap up the NL East and possibly their second World Series title.
While there are no guarantees, the Phillies did real good this afternoon by adding AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee along with outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers.
The sobering news to the Mets and the rest of the NL is the Phillies didn’t have to part with top prospects pitchers J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek or outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, whom the Blue Jays were asking for in exchange for Roy Halladay.
Lee, 31 next month, has a 3.14 ERA with just 33 walks in 152 innings. He will make $8 million in 2010, then be eligible for free agency. Lee said he’ll likely test the FA market, but who is to say if he wins a World Series title or two?
The Indians have now traded the 2008 and 2007 Cy Young Award winners (CC Sabathia).
The deal speaks volumes between the differences of the Phillies and Mets, notably the depth in the minor league system and the aggressiveness of the front offices.
The Phillies were superior before the trade and widened the gap. The Mets will need a monumental offseason just to close it a bit, and from where they stand now that’s not going to happen.
They’ve won four straight and are in contention for the wild card, but there are too many teams ahead of them to leap frog and they don’t have the chips to make much of a wild card run. And, even if they get their injured players back they have a long way to go.
The Mets can’t improve themselves now to make much of a dent. Their opportunity was two months ago when the cracks were starting to show.
This trade should be an awakening to the Mets their window of contention since 2006 is barely a crack if it hasn’t slammed shut and they have a lot of work to do.