2010 Off To Good Start, Looking Forward To What’s Next

The Mets have started 2010 the right way as Jason Bay is officially a New York Met after passing a physical.  Later on today the Mets will have a press conference introducing Jason Bay as the newest Met.  The deal is for 4 years and is worth $66 million dollars with a vesting option for a 5th year.  Some have problems with the contract but the Mets needed Jason Bay to fill that very sizable hole out in left field.

I preferred Bay as I believe he is better suited for hitting at Citi Field than Matt Holliday.  Bay is not strictly a power hitter and in Citi he can hit doubles and drive in runs as well as knock the ball out of the park.  The Mets lineup if healthy and back to 100% has now become a very formidable one.  This potential lineup is better than the 2006 team that just missed out on the World Series.

Bay’s signing is a great way to start 2010 but there is still work to be done.  The Mets need a catcher and it looks like this game of chicken between the Mets and Bengie Molina is going to continue into the new year.  I applaud the way the Mets are handling these negotiations with the veteran catcher.  Molina needs to lower his expectations as 3 years is just out of the question.  I know the Mets would like a 1 year deal with an option for a 2nd but if you look at what other free agent catchers have gotten that is not going to be enough.  The Mets need to offer Molina a 2 year guaranteed deal, if he doesn’t want that walk away and go after another catcher.

Now that the Mets have Bay in left field the biggest concern is pitching.  This year’s free agent class is very weak for pitching.  The best pitcher on the free agent market was John Lackey and he is signed.  The best pitcher on the trading block was Halladay who we all know was traded to the Phillies.  My pick for a 2nd tier pitcher was Jason Marquis who is now off the market so the Mets need now to be aggressive and go after the better remaining pitchers on the market.  I don’t believe the Mets will trade so looking at the free agents still available I’m thinking the Mets are going to go after Joel Pineiro.  Pineiro record last year was 15-12 with an ERA of 3.49.  He pitched 214 innings, the first time in his career he pitched over 200 innings.  I do feel that the Mets or any team that sign him is going to overpay for his services, that’s the way the market looks right now.

There are pitchers out there coming off of injuries that could be good for the Mets such as Chien-Ming Wang.  Wang as we all know pitched for the Yankees before being non-tendered last year.  Wang had won 19 games two years in a row before hurting his ankle rounding bases that ended his 2008 season.  Wang came back last season and the results weren’t pretty.  He struggled for the entire season, some thinking that the injury to his ankle forced him to change the way he pitched which resulted in him getting knocked around all last season.  Wang was sent down to Tampa to work on his mechanics and it was discovered that he had weakness in both his hips and was put on the DL.  Eventually Wang would get shoulder surgery ending both his 2009 season and his tenure with the Yankees.  Wang could be very good for the Mets but I suspect after last season the Mets are staying away from guys with injury history and won’t attempt to sign him.  I understand the thinking and if Wang does have a good season with whatever team signs him I won’t hold it against the Mets.  Wang is a big risk to a team that has really no depth in the rotation, not performing or getting injured would really hurt the Mets and they can’t afford that.

Overall Bay’s signing is a great way to start 2010 but there is still work to be done.  I believe that Bengie Molina will eventually be our starting catcher and the pitcher that the Mets do sign will not be met with 100% satisfaction whether it’s Pineiro or Sheets or Wang or whomever.