Every Free Agent, Can’t be a Met

An article by posted on January 27, 2010

It’s been a while since I posted here. One reason was my computer crashed and I couldn’t remember my login info, but the main reason was, I’m tired. You know, this past season more than any other I’ve learned to just throw my hands in the air and commit to watching 162 games a year, and hope to see October baseball. 

This year, more than any, I’ve paid close attention to the Hot Stove market, but not once did I get angry, or happy at an addition or lack there of. 

I’m trying to figure out the reasons why. Perhaps it’s because I take a look around at examples of teams who have had success or failure, regardless of their hot stove season? Perhaps it’s because there are more important things in your life other than the New York Mets trying to acquire a free agent pitcher. Maybe, and most likely, last year just proved to me that nothing you, myself or experts think about the roster on Opening Day matters. 

I’ll probably get angry at some point, I do that you know. I’ll write a really heated blog, but you know what? It’ll be when something is actually happening. It’s January. Pennants, and baseball games are not won in January.

Anything can happen. For all you know, Roy Halladay gets injured this year and the Phillies are forced to use food stamps to fill the cupboard. For all you know, Johan Santana could get injured again, and then everything changes once again. Again, for all you or I know, maybe Oliver Perez has grown up. I mean, he does have a beard now. That’s a big deal. 

There were how many free agents signed by new teams this year? At least 75 right? It seems to me that after every free agent signs with a team, my phone blows up. “Way to go Omar,” or “See ya Sheets.” I mean, for almost every free agent that was on the Mets or the Mets fans radar this year that ended up going elsewhere, I could make a very good case as to why the contract is either bad, or the player is a risk. Yet each one of the people who blame the Mets for not signing every player to ever put on the uniform, are the same ones who get mad that we have no farm system. 

Before the 2009 season, most fans thought the Mets had a roster that would at the very least put them into contention to be a Top 5 National League team. Unless I am forgetting somebody, I can’t think of 1 team that dramatically improved their ballclub from last year more than the Mets by signing free agents. If I’m wrong tell me. Lackey to Boston, okay good move but this is also a team that has lost some key pieces to their previous team, and have a DH who might not be able to hack it anymore. Is Boston really good? Absolutely. However, they were really good before Lackey. 

Who else? Tell me what team filled a hole this year with a free agent, and made themselves a much better team. The reason you haven’t answered yet (besides the fact you’re only reading this,) is because the only team that can say that is the New York Mets. I am not even a huge Jason Bay fan (yet), but you can’t sit there and tell me that of all the competitive teams that needed to make a big splash to improve their team via free agency that anybody other than the Mets did a better job. 

There was absolutely some great signings this year, but there isn’t a team in the league that is “going for it” that made a bigger impact than the Mets did, just by signing one player. 

You can debate the possible talents of certain players, but the bottom line is, if you listed every team that was trying to win it all, and then you listed their #1 need. The Mets would a) be at the top for the team with the biggest need out of all of them, and then b) would be the ones that filled that need with the best available player. The Mets needed a power hitting left fielder to compete in the National League. They accomplished that. You don’t need two aces in the NL to win. You may think you do, but in 2008 who was the Phillies #2 starter? What about the Dodgers pitching staff last year? Do they need another pitcher? Probably. Do they need another ace? No. 

You can’t have everything. If you did, you’d be a Yankees fan. The market is still very slow, and there is a reason some guys are still unsigned. We need to stop thinking that every unsigned free agent is just waiting to be scooped up by the Mets. 

The Mets won 70 games last year without guys like Reyes, Santana, Beltran for big chunks of the year. The Mets feel that the prospect of Pelfrey, Maine, Perez turning it around and being healthy is a better investment than Ben Sheets at $10m guaranteed. I don’t blame them. Sheets was signed with revenue sharing money. It was a coupon deal for the A’s.

The 2010 Mets have enough question marks to deal with in terms of health and performance. If a free agent is available now, it’s likely because they aren’t worth the money they are asking, or they had injury concerns. Two things the Mets have enough of. 

Also, let’s not forget that not every team dreams of playing for the NY Mets. The Beltran surgery situation was bad press, even though I don’t think it was as big of a deal as it was made to be. The Mets should win some sort of PR award for the worst PR year ever. That’s not a very attractive thing to come join you know. The only way the Mets can shake that reputation is to win with the talent they have invested over $100m on. 

I’m not the kind of fan who sees things through rose colored glasses. I’m the type that says, nobody knew that our 2009 season would have gone the way it did. The only way to find out is to sit down, relax, and enjoy the game. Then, when half of our lineup gets injured, call Francesa to complain, because my phone will be off the hook!

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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