Tuesday, December 15, 2009

John Lackey Fallout: What Will the Mets do Now?

When you look at the Mets offseason to date, what you see is a whole lot of nothing. The Mets have made no splashy moves, no free agent signings, and no impact trades as they determine how the market will play out. But while the Mets have remained stagnant, the Mets' chief rivals have all made impact moves that will improve their prospects for 2010:
  • Phillies: Acquired Roy Halladay

  • Braves: Acquired Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, and Jesse Chavez

  • Yankees: Acquired Curtis Granderson

  • Red Sox: Acquired John Lackey

There's no dobut that the pressure is on GM Omar Minaya to make splashy moves not only to match the other clubs, but ultimately to improve the Mets and give this team a chance to compete in 2010. But as the money burns a hole in Minaya's pocket, one has to wonder what move the Mets GM will make next.

Option 1: The Mets could continue their heavy pursuit of OF Jason Bay, who was reportedly offered a 4 year/$65 million dollar contract by the Mets last week. Bay would be a welcome addition to the Mets offense, which struggled mightily last season to hit for power. With the Red Sox presumably out of the running for Bay, it's tough to see what other serious suitors Bay has at the moment.

Option 2: The Mets could opt to go for the big splash and make a serious run at the best free agent on the market, Matt Holliday. Like Bay, Holliday is one of the best power hitters in all of baseball and he plays very good defense as well. Adding Holliday would be a signal to the rest of baseball that the Mets are serious about competing in 2010. At the same time, Holliday would be far more expensive than Bay and likely require a commitment of at least 7-8 years.

Option 3: The Mets could continue their pursuit of Benjie Molina and hope that he finally agrees to the two year deal the Mets have been offering.

Option 4: The Mets could go after Joel Pineiro, who is the best free agent starting pitcher out there. Pinero would be a great fit for the Mets given his propensity to throw ground balls. However, Pineiro is reportedly looking for a four year contract and with Lackey off the board, all of a sudden Pineiro could have some serious leverage over the Mets.

Option 5: The Mets could opt to sign a low cost-high reward starting pitcher to a one year deal with plenty of incentives. Signing a guy like Erik Bedard or Justin Duchscherer could be very beneficial for the Mets, but does anyone actually know if either guy can stay healthy?

Option 6: Try to acquire pieces via the trade market. Good luck with that, Omar.

Conclusion: If the Mets decide to go after Holliday, then it would be very difficult for them to sign Pineiro or any of the other top free agent starting pitchers on the market. As a result, if Holliday comes to the Mets, then I would expect the Mets to dabble in the "low cost-high reward" starters, and sign Benjie Molina.

At this point, I would say that it's far more likely that the Mets continue their aggressive pursuit of Jason Bay and try to sign him to a four year contract. This would give the Mets the splashy power hitter they so desperately need and allow them to spend money on starters like Pineiro and Benjie Molina. However, the Mets MUST remain cautious in their discussions with Bay and Pineiro and not become to eager to make a deal happen just for the sake of making a deal happen. It's crucial that the Mets don't wind up bidding against themselves for either guys services or do something stupid like giving Bay a five year deal or giving Pineiro a four year contract.

Best case scenario: the Mets bring in Molina, Pineiro, and Bay all for prices that favor the Mets. How much better do those signings make the team in 2010? Can we honestly say that this team would compete for a playoff spot? Would the Mets even be in the same stratosphere as the Phillies?

I say no. What do you think?


Elixinator said...

I predict that the Mets will sign all three of Molina, Pineiro, and Bay, but at going market rates. Then Omar will find out that he still has a lot of holes and depth problems.

jetfan214 said...

I know the Mets had a down year, but most of it was because of injuries. At the beginning of last season they were slotted to win a playoff spot by either winning the division or the WC. This is the same team except for Schneider, Delgado and we replaced Church with Franceur. I know you have to wait to see who is healthy this year but come how can you claim that they do not have a hope in making the playoffs. Plenty of base hits last year so we need one power bat to get those stranded runners in and another pitcher. I think Murphy was showing signs of becoming a threat so give him some time at 1B or trade him for some pitching and resign Delgado or there are a number of 1B fill-ins. I like signing DeRosa this way we have depth at all INF positions.

Jorge Says No! said...

The Mets have plenty of reasons to believe that they can be contenders for a playoff spot in 2010, but unless they significantly upgrade the team in several area and find some capable starting pitchers, then the Mets are more likely to be an above average team instead of a playoff bound team.