On this date in 2001, the Mets obtained Mo Vaughn from the Angels for starter Kevin Appier. One of the better Met moments, wouldn’t you say?
The Mets were 70-92 last season, 11 games off the pace to finish .500 and 22 behind the wild-card Colorado Rockies. For the record, they were 23 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.
They have done precious little this offseason to make anybody believe they will cut substantially into those deficits. At least, little in comparison to the front office comments spouted by Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya in the immediate days following the end of the disastrous 2009 season.
Because they know it won’t go over well in selling tickets and creating goodwill, the Mets can’t articulate that their plan is to bring back their pieces intact and hope for the best.
With each passing day that becomes clearer and clearer. Let’s try to put numbers to their thinking.
With the healthy comebacks of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, and return to power for David Wright, the Mets picture 85 victories, going under the assumption each player individually accounts for five more wins over the course of the season. That’s roughly three more victories per month.
That’s doable. It gets them over .500, but still out of the wild card picture.
The real trend-setter for starting pitcher’s contracts isn’t John Lackey but Randy Wolf, he of the 101-85 career record in 11 years (basically 10-9 a season), who signed a three-year contract with Milwaukee for $29.75 million.
Ben Sheets, despite his injury history, wants $12 million per season and Joel Pineiro wants a four-year deal with a higher annual average than Wolf. Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector who has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues, has a $15.5 million offer on the table from the Red Sox.
Also, lurking are Pedro Martinez, Erik Bedard, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Brett Myers. There are three Hall of Famers there, but that’s in the future and past tenses. Present tense, well, they aren’t much better than whom the Mets have now.
For the Mets to add pitching, their choices are to overpay for mediocrity, or in the case of Sheets, take a health gamble. The Mets are gambling their current rotation will progress, and if it doesn’t, then at least they have the economics on their side (save Oliver Perez).
Not encouraging, is it?
I hope everybody had a happy and safe holiday. I enjoyed spending time with my family. I don’t get out here that often, so the time is special.
I wrote several days ago it was time for the Mets to take a “take it or leave it” approach with Jason Bay. With his agent, Joe Urban, talking to the Red Sox and stonewalling the Mets, it’s obvious where Bay’s heart lies.
The Mets are ignoring one of the cardinal rules in dating when it comes to Bay, which is some girls play hard to get until they become hard to take.
It has come to that with Bay. It’s time to cut the fantasy with him.
He doesn’t want to play for the Mets, but would be willing to for five years and not four. I’m not deluded into thinking Bay is any different from any other free agent. He’s following the money.
The Red Sox don’t want to go over the $170 million luxury tax marker, so Urbon will have to be creative in backloading the deal. I would have to think the Red Sox would rather have Bay in their batting order over Mike Cameron (making him a fourth outfielder).
But, what about your heroes? Who’s going to play left field for them? They should be thinking hard about this because it should have been obvious to them Bay was a longshot.
…. And all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, and that includes the Internet. In Ohio visiting my father for the holidays, and I won’t have reliable Internet until I get home Monday. I will try to post something on a daily basis and as often as possible. I did want to explain the lull between threads.
I did hear the Red Sox might not be done with Jason Bay. Playing it close to vest like they did with John Lackey. Maybe they heard the rumblings about the Yankees sniffing around and got antsy. Maybe it was fallout from the Javier Vazquez trade. Whatever, if true, and the Red Sox want him, there’s precious little the Mets can do about it.
It is quite possible the delay by the Mets might cost them Bay. But, I wouldn’t jump all over them for that. Bay is not worth the five years, whether or not the Red Sox are in it or not.
But, what remains clear is that the Mets remain stagnant, and on the night before Christmas, the Mets aren’t doing much stirring.