Looking over the stats, the Mets had one of the better offensive clubs in the National League, but also put together just about the worst pitching staff. With everyone speculating every which way to acquire pitching while re-signing Jose Reyes, I say: If the Mets really need pitching THAT badly -which they do-, why not let Reyes walk and sign C.J. Wilson instead?
The Mets managed to finish sixth in the National League in runs scored with 718 in 2011. To put that figure into perspective, the Phillies scored 713 runs this year. The Amazin’s led the league in walks and were second only to the Cardinals in AVG, OBP and hits. They managed to do this without Ike Davis, and missing Wright and Beltran for half the year. Now with a healthy Ike Davis and David Wright, a full year out of Lucas Duda, and the fences being brought in, the need for a batter doesn’t seem like the most pressing concern.
On the other side of things, the Mets pitching left much to be desired. They finished 13th in the NL in ERA, gave up the second most hits and tied for the third highest batting average against at .265. You could make the argument that the Mets did not have Santana in 2011 and went without K-Rod after he was traded to the Brewers, but the fact is you have no idea what you are going to get out of Santana, and the Amazin’s are going to need a bonafide ace. Now with just that on the market, and about $20 million of payroll going to be used to chase Reyes, why not use that money instead to go after Wilson. The pitching is clearly in most need of improvement, so why not make that the number one priority instead?
Sandy Alderson should follow what Ruben Amaro Jr. did in the 2010 offseason – namely making an illegitimate run at Jayson Werth to pursue Cliff Lee – with Reyes and Wilson. If it worked for the Phillies, why can’t it work for Alderson and the Mets?
It would be a hard pill for the fanbase to swallow to see the sparkplug of the Mets go to another team, but if you look at the situation from a non-sentimental perspective, you will see that adding a top-tier hurler is more paramount than an injury-proned shortstop.
On one thing to note, if the Mets were to sign Wilson, they would not have to give up their first round pick since they are in the first half of the draft. So if they let Reyes go and sign Wilson, they would likely have two first round picks and two sandwich picks (assuming Capuano signs elsewhere). If they just re-sign Reyes, they will have one first round, and probably one sandwich, so inking Wilson makes sense for the Mets in multiple ways.
So to answer the original question, I say yes, they should sign Wilson and let Reyes go. A hard move to make, but a move that is best for the organization now and down the road.