As we all know by now Citi Field is a pitchers park. It has a big outfield and 16 foot fences on the outfield walls. The Wilpons decided when building a new ball park for the Mets to play in that they wanted a pitchers park for the Mets. I’m sure if you ask David Wright he will tell you emphatically that Citi Field is indeed a pitchers park. With Citi Field being a pitchers park and the Mets planning on becoming a small ball team it would make sense that the Mets would want to sign the best pitchers they can to take advantage of their home field. Unfortunately for us that seems not to be the case.
Rewind back to the off season and the quality of pitchers that were available on the free agent market. Sure there was C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett but I was realistic enough to know that the Mets wouldn’t sign either of those guys, just think what the payroll would be with Sabathia and Santana alone. The Yankees I still believed overpaid for both Sabathia and Burnett, however there were other free agent pitchers that were available and were settling for less than C.C. and Burnett. The Mets passed on free agent pitchers Randy Wolf, Derek Lowe, Jon Garland, Pedro Martinez and they turned down a trade for Jason Marquis to sign Oliver Perez.
This year the free agent market is a lot smaller than last year. The best free agent pitcher on the market this year will be John Lackey. He showed this post season that he is a big game pitcher, he will work his butt off for his team and he’s got the stuff to back his warrior mentality up. Now he is not going to come cheap. He will get more than A.J. Burnett, rightly so in my opinion as he is a better pitcher. The estimates are that he will get a 5 year, 100 mill contract. I think Lackey is perfect for Citi Field and more importantly he is perfect for the Mets. He could be a great number 2 guy in the rotation. Johan Santana followed by Lackey would be a very hard 1-2 punch for any team’s lineup.
The Mets have a pitchers ballpark but you need good pitchers to utilize it properly. We saw that after Johan in 2009 the Mets don’t have a number 2 pitcher as Pelfrey took a giant step backwards. There was not one pitcher in the rotation for 2009 behind Santana that is anything more than a number 3 guy in the rotation. A pitchers ballpark doesn’t make mediocre pitchers better, just protects them a little more. If the Mets aren’t going to utilize the ballpark what was the point of building it that way?