Sunday, January 11, 2009


As I mentioned yesterday, the home computer is on the fritz. It's in and out, shutting down unexpectedly. So I'll try to get these blogs in when I can. It's also a busy time of the school year, so I'm inconsistent with the postings anyway - I'll probably be back to posting more often in a week or so.

But I've been sitting on this e-mail from Justin in NYC for about a week, and it's high time to get to it:

The Rays just signed Pat Burrell. I thought he would have been perfect for the Mets. They're looking for a power hitting left fielder. He is that. Plus, he fits into the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mold. Yet, no one even mentioned it as a possibility. Your thoughts...

First of all, it's great to get an e-mail again. Since the comments section came to the blog, no one e-mails anymore. It's nice. Secondly, thanks for taking the time to write Justin. And thirdly, I'm going to go a step further and list a few other 'perfect fits' for the Mets:
-Brad Penny
-Rocco Baldelli
-John Smoltz
-Takashi Saito

While I agree Burrell seemed like a good fit, I'm also going to give the word of caution that he was one of those Chipper Jones-type Mets killers...while he did damage against the Mets all over the place, he was one of those guys who loved hitting at Shea. So maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't have continued at the new park. But that's a shot-in-the-dark rationalization.

The common denominator with those other guys is that they all ended up being signed by the same team - the Red Sox. And it makes me wonder why the Mets couldn't sign them all. (I haven't even mentioned the likes of A. J. Burnett.)

It's not like the Mets and Red Sox are in the same boat right now. The Red Sox are coming off two world championships in five years, and a loss in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS. The Mets are coming off back-to-back September collapses that forced them to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons. However, when it comes down to it, they have the same needs as most everyone else in baseball - pitching depth (and a spare outfielder).
If the Mets were really interested in Burrell (and it was at least mentioned as a possibility in my brain, if not on the site here, Justin...but I'm not sure where else), they should have fallen back on Baldelli. I know he's not an everyday player anymore, but I'm not sure the Mets need an everyday outfielder. They need someone to replace Endy Chavez, coming into games late and providing a spark. Baldelli could have filled that role - and performed even better in it. Or at least platooned with some of the younger guys. Plus he's an easy guy to root for.

Then there are the pitchers. Oh, the pitchers. Sure, they've added the likes of Francisco Rodriguez and J. J. Putz....but what of the rotation? (I watched Tim Redding closely last year for a period when he was on my fantasy team - he was not very good for most of the season.) What of the other bullpen depth? I would think if you're the New York Mets, you spend like the Yankees and Red Sox, and take some chances on guys like Penny, Saito, maybe even Smoltz, just to give yourself some arms so that 2008 never happens again.

Which leaves us now with a Derek Lowe and a Ben Sheets. The price on Sheets is supposedly dropping...I say take the chance. If he's healthy (which is the phrase I'm sure all of the contract negotiations on Sheets begin with), Johan Santana-Ben Sheets becomes one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. And then Derek Lowe becomes a number three starter if you sign him as well. Lowe needs to be in a spot during the regular season where everything doesn't depend on him, especially in New York. I just have a bad feeling about him coming to New York City and having a lot on his shoulders - I don't know that his psyche can handle that. Come the post-season, I think he'll step up...but he needs to help the Mets get there first.

I doubt the Mets will sign both of those pitchers. I have serious doubts they'll sign one of them. And I hate to be the skeptical Mets fan...but I have my doubts about the Mets' financial viability right now. They're opening a new stadium - things should be great. They should be spending to beat the band - like the Yankees, opening their new stadium.

It makes me wonder about the Wilpons' involvement (the money they lost, not the bad kind of involvement) in the Madoff scheme. It makes me wonder about the deal with Citi for the park's naming rights. It makes me wonder about the current economic situation. It makes me wonder whether all of these things are causing the Mets to be just that more conservative when it comes to spending money. And if that's the's going to set them back quite a bit.

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