Tonight when the clock strikes twelve, general managers everywhere will begin negotiating with free agents of their liking. The exclusive window for teams to negotiate with their own free agents expires at midnight tonight, beginning what will be another busy and very active hot stove season full.
I have read several reports that although Omar Minaya still holds the title of general manager, his power to move and act freely has been taken away. Anything he may want to do, will now have to be reviewed by a committee that includes assistant GM John Ricco, VP David Howard and even the Wilpons themselves.
One GM who wished to remain anonymous recently said that unlike years passed when Omar Minaya seemingly called all the shots and freely negotiated on the phone, he now excuses himself when an offer is made and doesn’t call back until 30 or more minutes later.
While Omar is kept on a short leash, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, including resolving first base and left field, acquiring two starting pitchers, finding a new setup man, bringing in a new starting catcher to replace Brian Schneider, and a possible upgrade at second base.
The rumors are flying around fast and furious, but now with teams able to negotiate freely with any free agents they want, we should start seeing some rumors with real teeth on them.
Ken Davidoff of Newsday believes that the Mets will make a big splash simply because they have to, and I absolutely agree with him. he writes,
But I think the Mets realize they have to make a splash in order to placate season-ticket holders, and with the market for Lackey not robust (in my mind), I can envision them giving Lackey the same deal that the Yankees gave A.J. Burnett a year ago, then pointing to how much more Lackey has accomplished than Burnett had when he got his money.
Kevin Kernan of the NY Post says that the Mets have to be as bold this offseason as Brian Cashman was last off season. He wants them to break open the bank.
The player at the top of their shopping list must be right-hander John Lackey. If not, why are the Wilpons even in the game? The Mets should pull a Cashman and sign both Lackey and Holliday. Win now and the victories come in summer.
The last thing the Mets need to be saying right now is: “We have too many holes to fill.” They should look at this as an opportunity. If they focus on bringing an AL ace, a bulldog, to the NL, always a winning move, and to a ballpark that is death for hitters, they will be ahead of the game. If half of their injured players come back healthy, they will be in the thick of it if they have that 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. Put both Lackey and Holliday on the roster and the Mets make it a two-team town again.
As much as I would love to see the Mets get both Matt Holliday and John Lackey, I just don’t see that scenario playing out at all. The Mets would have to win not just one bidding war, but two of them with a potential cost of almost $200 million dollars. No way that happens.
What ever does happen will happen quickly, as I believe that Minaya will try to strike early as long as the Wilpons allow him to. I do think all the Mets higher ups are agreed on one thing, and that is that they need to salvage dwindling orders for season tickets. A big name or two can help get ticket sales moving again.