As we wrap up a hectic week of Cliff Lee posts on MMO, it’s only fitting to put some closure on the matter from the perspective of where the Mets stood, what the Mariners wanted, and how far the Mets were willing to go.
To begin, according to reports in both the Daily News and the NY Post, the Seattle Mariners wanted Ike Davis in any deal for Cliff Lee, a price that was too rich for the Mets liking. They did try to sell the M’s on Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole and Jenrry Mejia, but apparently the Mariners didn’t consider them as highly as the Mets did.
One GM likened the Omar Minaya negotiation as offering someone a ten dollar bill in exchange for two twenties.
The Mariners wanted major league ready players who they could pencil into their 2011 opening day lineup. Given the Mets choices, only Ike Davis fit that bill.
According to Ken Davidoff in this article in Newsday, the Mets did want to add a pitcher like Cliff Lee, but had no interest in negotiating an extension or re-signing him after the season. Being already locked into a long term deal with Johan Santana at $20+ million per year, the Mets are hardly looking to hand a contract like that to another 30-something pitcher like Lee.
“The Mets were never serious candidates to get Cliff Lee, because while they finally are seeing some fruits of their farm system blossom, they certainly couldn’t afford to trade Ike Davis. The Mets would pay only a rental price for Lee, because they didn’t want to commit huge, long-term dollars to the lefty. Having one over-30 pitcher making over $20 million a year is nerve-wracking enough, as the Mets have seen with Johan Santana. Having two? That’s just stupidity.”
The bottom line is that Omar Minaya or Jeff Wilpon made the right call. Ike Davis is far too valuable to let slip away for a pitcher who may only make a total of fifteen appearances for the Mets. As a matter of fact, you could say the same thing for Jenrry Mejia.
It’s always disappointing when another team ends up getting the player you knew could be a difference maker in the quest for a pennant, but it’s also devastating when the players you gave up end up having long solid major league careers with another team.
We’ve seen enough of Ike Davis to know that at the very least he will be a very productive first baseman at the major league level, and in time he may even play at an All Star level.
Having Cliff Lee in the rotation would have been nice for the stretch run this season, but I’m not willing to throw away 2011-2015 for a chance at the brass ring in 2010. There are less costlier alternatives.
Hope to see you in October Cliff…