Earlier this week I suggested things could heat up in the Hot Stove and this might be the time for the New York Mets to strike.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson agreed the other day things could get warm, but wouldn’t say how close he’d get to the “Stove.’’
“We have to be realistic about the market and not sort of deny the inevitable,’’ Alderson said. “If the market is as robust as it seems to be, I think we have to acknowledge that.’’
OK, he acknowledges it. Then what?
“And, consistent with that acknowledgement, if we’re going to participate, we have to recognize that,’’ Alderson added.
The operative word in all that was “if.’’
Well, are the Mets going to participate? A robust market means spending and Alderson’s checkbook is still under wraps.
Alderson said the team has been more active, but that has to mean working the phones because we’re not seeing anything public outside of Allen, the departures of Mike Baxter and LaTroy Hawkins, and, of course, the ones who got away – or are about to.
Because we’re not going to see Matt Harvey outside of a courtside shot of him at the Knicks game Wednesday night, the Mets are in need of pitching first and foremost. I’m aware of the crying for a power outfielder and the need of a shortstop, but the Mets only have three starters. Nothing happens without pitching.
It would have been sweet to get Josh Johnson, but that wasn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang could get away. Late season pick-ups last year, both provided quality innings at the back end of the rotation. In a combined 11 starts, only twice – both times by Matsuzaka – did they not get out of the fifth.
Alderson said he wanted veteran innings at the back end, and these two are as veteran as you can get. And, what they gave the Mets is what they are seeking now. Sure, the Mets want to do better. But, better means spending more.
Matsuzaka pitched well in September after pitching coach Dan Warthen tinkered with his mechanics and got him to speed up his delivery. My concern is he pitched well enough for him to catch another team’s eye and might be willing to give him two years. The presumption is the most the Mets will offer is one year plus an option. That would mean the Mets would lose him.
It’s still November, and there’s plenty of time remaining, but that’s not the issue. It’s a matter of who will be remaining when the Mets are ready to do more than talk on the phone.