I've always felt baseball needed a salary cap, as well as a salary floor, but caps can result in strange situations. Just when I was thinking it's time to check out a Knick game, now that the team is competitive for the first time in years, they trade perhaps their two best players for lesser value as part of a master plan to get under the cap in two years to make a run at LeBron James.
What should the Knicks' slogan be for the next two years? How about "Catch the expiring contracts!"
This is one time when I'm glad baseball doesn't have a cap. Imagine if the Mets were looking ahead to a bumper crop of free agents in two years and decided they had to clear out long-term big contracts. First Omar gets value for the coming year by trading Johan Santana for Josh Beckett's expiring contract. But with Carlos Beltran, he's not so fortunate, getting back the expiring contract of Andruw Jones.
But that's just for contracts expiring in a year. (The Red Sox have a 2010 option on Beckett.) Imagine if Met fans were told that we wouldn't be seeing any new superstars for two years.
Then again, Met fans have often had to wait a lot longer than two years for the team to get back in contention.
But if the Mets limit their upgrades at closer and second base because of the existing contracts of Billy Wagner and Luis Castillo, they are in effect telling their fans to wait till next year, or, in Castillo's case, for three years.
There's no cap, so if you think K-Rod is the best choice, sign him rather than save a little money on Brian Fuentes, who won't be so cheap himself.
As for Castillo, if the Mets land both a top closer and a solid setup man, as well as filling Oliver Perez' spot in the rotation, I wouldn't mind so much if they scrimped on upgrading second base and left field. Just upgrading the bench at these spots would be a lot cheaper and would add the depth missing much of last year.
Whatever happens, the Mets should give us plenty of reasons to tune in next year.
But as for the Knicks, they can't even check out top draft pick Danilo Gallinari, who might be out for the year.
Then again, Steve Henderson wasn't all that much consolation when the Mets traded away their top players in 1977.