Now that the dreaded World Series is finally over, it’s time to put away that nightmare and look ahead to next season. The hot stove is already churning with plenty of rumors regarding soon to be free agents Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.
The blogosphere has been buzzing with the pros and cons of each leftfielder, while Mets fans debate about which would be a better fit at CitiField.
The agents for each player are already embroiled in a war of words as to which of them is the most complete player, and Boras has already made it known that it could take a Mark Teixeira sized contract to land his client, Matt Holliday.
However, a thought has occurred to me that has me somewhat baffled. What if both players resign with their former clubs?
Theo Epstein, GM of the Boston Red Sox, sounded pretty confident on Monday when he said that Bay was one of his most important players and that he will do what it takes to resign him. Jason Bay later added that he wants to stay in Boston and that he absolutely loves playing for the Red Sox. Epstein said he would continue working toward a deal until the last possible moment before Bay officially becomes a free agent in fifteen days.
Meanwhile back in St. Louis, Joe Straus in his live chat for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, suggested that the Cardinals are already discussing the groundwork for a 6 year $96 million dollar contract, to keep Matt Holliday in St. Louis. Holliday enjoyed his time with the Cards and loved the ballpark. Also important to note is this one small but very important fact; the Cardinals have hire Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. McGwire is Matt Holliday’s personal hitting coach.
The Red Sox and Cardinals now have 15 days to exclusively negotiate with their former players before other teams can begin contacting them.
If both those players get resigned, the Mets may find themselves looking at players like Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Jermaine Dye and Vladimir Guerrero, each of whom come with some added risk.
The Mets could also venture into the trade market for players like Carl Crawford who will cost them several premium prospects including Ike Davis, Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia, or they can instead take on Vernon Wells for two low-level prospects, but also assume his huge $105 million dollar commitment as well.
The other alternative would be to overwhelm San Diego or Milwaukee for their All Star first basemen and add the big bat the Mets desperately need at 1B instead of LF. The free agent market at first base is very weak.
The best thing we could hope for is that neither Bay or Holliday resigns, and that their negotiations fall apart.
Even if just one of them resigns, it would be bad news for the Mets as a huge bidding war will ensue for the remaining leftfielder. A bidding war that will see offers that are so high that it will force the Mets to back off and consider another option.
The question then becomes, which option?