Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

I Can’t Commit (And I’m Glad Omar Didn’t…Yet)

Posted by JD on January 26, 2010

John Lackey, Boston. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati. Ben Sheets, Oakland. Joel Piniero, Anaheim (or whatever they’re called). Rich Harden, Texas. Jon Garland, San Diego. Randy Wolf, Milwaukee. Jason Marquis, Washington. Doug Davis, Milwaukee. Brad Penny, San Francisco. Yusmeiro Petit, Seattle (claimed off waivers). Shawn Hill, Toronto.

All of the above are free agent pitchers who signed with teams other than the Mets. Each signing elicited some degree of the “I can’t believe Omar missed on this guy” reaction from at least a few Mets fans. I plead guilty for echoing that on occasion*, but in retrospect I’m ok that none of them signed with the Mets.

*I admit that I was the only upset when Shawn Hill signed with Toronto. What can I say? I thought he’d be a nice option for Buffalo…sue me.

I’ve flip-flopped on everyone on this list but Chapman (given his age and the lack of draft compensation, I’m still disappointed they didn’t sign him). But each and every one of the others has at least one flaw that mitigates their positives and in most cases they were asking for more than one year (which would’ve exposed the Mets to unnecessary risk in 2011 and beyond). If those pitchers weren’t going to sign for terms that the Mets deemed reasonable, then the Mets are better off without them.

I can’t say that Mike Pelfrey is a genuine number two starter (yet), or that Oliver Perez, John Maine, Nelson Figueroa, Fernando Nieve, Jonathon Niese, and Kelvim Escobar represent championship caliber 3-4-5 pitchers. That’s not my point. My point is that most of the pitchers listed above didn’t represent an upgrade and those that did would lock the Mets into long-term contracts that would expose them to unnecessary risk and limit their flexibility in the future.

Why commit major money to something less than ideal? Just because they can? That doesn’t register to me. I would like to see the Mets improve their roster, but I don’t think the options listed above represent an upgrade.

Now, if they want to commit to John Smoltz…well, I think I can commit to that. I know Smoltz is a long-time Brave, and I fucking hate the last long-time Brave pitcher they signed (go screw, Glavine). Smoltz may be a product of the Dave Duncan Rejuvenation Machine, but his strike-out to walk ratio was better than every other free agent not name Pedro Martinez*.

*I struggle with Pedro. I think it’s important to cut ties with the past, but it’s Pedro. I’m going on the record here: I won’t advocate his signing, but I’ll defend it as hard as I can (at the expense of my credibility).

I may just be bracing myself for the inevitable, but I think I can talk myself into John Smoltz. I’ll hate myself for it tomorrow, but it feels so right tonight. Or something like that.

4 Responses to “I Can’t Commit (And I’m Glad Omar Didn’t…Yet)”

  1. Ceetar said

    I’m mildly disappointed in some of them, but in the end I don’t think it’s a big deal either way. I wasn’t of the belief that they had to sign a guy that was going to pitch to Ace type numbers, but I strongly felt/feel they do need to sign another pitcher. I’m not sure Smoltz is it either, and he’s associated with too many negative emotions for me to ever feel good about that. I don’t buy that this team is built to finish 4th either, like some more negative fans would like to think/say.

    I’ve got a feeling based on Omar’s words and actions that he may be working on a trade. A trade is obviously going to cost prospects and that will inevitably make half of vocal Mets fans hate it. I also have a feeling he’s going to add something during Spring Training when he has a better feel for things like Thole and Martinez’s development and Beltran’s time line.

    Omar went into the offseason with the thought of not overpaying and overcommiting to mediocrity. He’s stuck to that, and I think it leaves him a lot of options going forward.

    • JD said

      Last to first: I think Omar’s focus on not overpaying/over-committing is key. I worry about the potential trade you mention. I fear that Omar will overpay, no matter who it is (though I suppose that applies to any trade ever made by any GM).

      I’m unsure of where this team will finish, to be honest. I think they could win the division if everything goes right, but it’s certainly not out of the question that they could finish last if everything goes wrong. I guess that gets to the root of my post: I acknowledge that any of the free agent pitchers could help, but I just can’t see how they’d be worth the money they were asking to a team that could finish anywhere between first and fifth.

      I don’t like Smoltz. I’ll struggle to root for him. But if he accepts a contract from the Mets, that most likely means that he accepted an affordable contract. If the keep it below $3 million (and limit it to one year), I’ll figure out a way to root for him. And Omar will have figured out how to navigate a tricky off-season without spending major money on regrettable acquisitions.

  2. umm… I am not

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