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.