Here’s an interesting question that was posed to Anthony DiComo who does a pretty good job in his reply.
I just watched Brad Lidge sign a one-year contract for $1 million with the Nationals. I watched the Mets sign Frank Francisco to a much larger contract. If money is so tight, why go the direction the Mets have?
There’s a reason Lidge came so cheap: He has battled some serious arm issues in recent years, and at age 35, there’s no telling when something similar might crop up again.
There’s also a difference between proceeding on a budget and proceeding as cheaply as possible. The Mets entered this offseason with a budget of between $90 million to $100 million, and about 80 percent of that money already committed to returning players. They felt relatively secure with their lineup and rotation options, prompting them to spend nearly all their free cash on relievers and bench players.
It wasn’t enough money to land one of the premier free-agent relievers on the market. But it was enough to sign who they believed was the best of the second tier in Francisco and Jon Rauch.
Might Lidge wind up being more of a bargain than Francisco? Absolutely. Might general manager Sandy Alderson regret committing $12 million to a single reliever over the next two seasons? Sure. But the Mets paid for consistency, and few relief pitchers in the game have been as consistent as Francisco over the past three years.
I really enjoy these weekly mailbag features by DiComo on MLB.com and I picked this question out because I seem to recall a comment like this in an MMO post not too long ago.