The decision to let Chris Carter go explains a lot about both the past and present regimes of the Mets.
Just to save a few dollars, the Mets traded Billy Wagner to Boston for Carter late in the 2009 season. The option would have been to pay out the balance of the contract, offer him arbitration and collect the compensatory draft choices when he declined.
Those draft picks would look good now for a team with a myriad of holes.
Then GM Omar Minaya didn’t want to take that gamble because of the fear Wagner might accept and saddle the Mets with a bad contract, albeit for one season. That fear was instilled in large part from pressure from the Wilpons to save money.
What Minaya didn’t realize, and therefore couldn’t relay to the Wilpons, was Wagner understood the Mets were a sinking ship and wouldn’t have wanted to come back anyway. In hindsight, the prudent decision would have been to pay out Wagner for 2009 and gamble on arbitration.
Tbat brings us to Sandy Alderson and the decision to cut ties with Carter.
There’s still pressure to save money where ever possible as the 2011 contract for Carter would be at least $200,000 (60 percent of last year’s contract) plus the minor league contract. Alderson can bring Carter back at a reduced rate in a new split contract.
The pressure is on Carter to accept because with Fernando Martinez (assuming he’s healthy) and Lucas Duda, the Mets already have left-handed bats off the bench.
Carter was productive as a pinch-hitter, but he’s strictly a one-dimensional player in that his defense and throwing are weak.
Alderson knows Carter doesn’t bring much to the table, at least not more than Martinez or Duda, so why pay the extra money that’s needed for a franchise that wants to pinch pennies?