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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.
John Lackey to the Red Sox. Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Cliff Lee to Seattle. They are all coming down.
Lackey to the Red Sox in an $82.5-million, five-year deal pending a physical. The Red Sox have been tied to a lot of things, but this one seems to have come out of the blue. That’s a lot of money and it probably precludes them signing Matt Holliday.
The Mets were never in it for Lackey, but this deal could help them land Jason Bay. The Red Sox say they aren’t giving Bay a fifth year. Unless they are bluffing, there doesn’t seem to a chance they’ll go back to Bay. But, the Mets would have to up their offer to a fifth year.
The Mets were also never in it for Halladay, either, because they didn’t have the minor league talent to get it down.
The Mets believe they’ll get a handle on the Jason Bay landscape toward the end of the week. One thing is clear, the Mets’ initial offer of $65 million over four years won’t be enough to get it done.
If their offer is the Mets “real” evaluation of Bay, then they’ll have to overpay to get the 31-year-old outfielder. A guaranteed fifth year could get it done, as Bay’s agent has said there’s a fifth year offer from an unnamed team on the table.
The Mets prefer Matt Holliday, but he’s a Scott Boras client and it will be closer to $100 million to get him. The Red Sox are also considering Holliday. Boston’s offer is a four-year, $60-million package. The Red Sox say they won’t go higher, but that seems like posturing to me.
The Mets haven’t heard from Bay on their offer. GM Omar Minaya said he’s also going to look at his non-tendered options, which include Cincinnati’s Jonny Gomes and Oakland’s Jack Cust, who hit 20 and 25 homers, respectively last year.
Another power option – and a cheaper alternative to bringing back Carlos Delgado at first – is San Francisco’s Ryan Garko.
There were no surprises in the list of players the Mets non-tendered yesterday, beginning with pitchers Lance Broadway and Tim Redding, and outfielders Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan. It’s not as if losing these guys will make a difference, but they are four more spots that need to be filled.
A couple of names did pop out to me. But, I do realize these guys were non-tendered for a reason.
Left-hander Scott Olsen as a possible fifth starter and Mike MacDougal as a possible set-up reliever (both of the Nationals) are intriguing. Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes as a bench player. The most interesting to me are Oakland outfielder Jack Cust and Giants first baseman Ryan Garko. I also wrote yesterday of taking a gamble on Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.
Here’s the list of non-tendered players. Those with asterisks are injured.
Angels: RHP Jose Arredondo*, INF Matt Brown, RHP Dustin Moseley
Athletics: OF Jack Cust
Blue Jays: C Raul Chavez
Indians: RHP Adam Miller*, RHP Anthony Reyes*, RHP Jose Veras
Mariners: OF Ryan Langerhans
Orioles: RHP Brian Bass
Rays: OF Gabe Gross, C Shawn Riggans
Red Sox: OF Brian Anderson
Royals: OF Josh Anderson, C John Buck
White Sox: RHP D.J. Carrasco
Yankees: RHP Chien-Ming Wang*
Braves: OF Ryan Church, 2B Kelly Johnson
Brewers: RHP Mark DiFelice*, RHP Seth McClung, C Mike Rivera
Cubs: LHP Neal Cotts
Diamondbacks: 1B Josh Whitesell
Giants: 1B Ryan Garko
Marlins: INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga
Mets: RHP Lance Broadway, RHP Tim Redding, OF Jeremy Reed, OF Cory Sullivan
Nationals: RHP Mike MacDougal, LHP Scott Olsen
Padres: RHP Jackson Quezada, RHP Mark Worrell
Phillies: RHP Clay Condrey
Pirates: RHP Matt Capps, LHP Phil Dumatrait
Reds: OF Jonny Gomes
Rockies: 3B Garrett Atkins