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Friday, November 14, 2008

CC Sabathia shouldn't be priority for Mets

I keep hearing reports that the Mets are quite interested in CC Sabathia, and I don't understand why. Long-term big contracts for pitchers are always a risk. Look at the Mets' recent history with Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner. Both moves looked good at the time,and for eight years worth of contracts, the Mets ended up with only about four years of production.

Johan Santana was a lot younger, the best pitcher in baseball, and a move the Mets absolutely had to make. Well worth the gamble of the long megacontract for a pitcher. If the Mets didn't have Santana, Sabathia would probably be worth the risk as well, just as he makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.

But putting that much money into the rotation without first dealing with the number one issue - the bullpen - makes no sense. Sabathia was renowned for pitching complete games on three days rest as he led the Brewers to the playoffs. Santana won a brilliant complete game on three days rest on the final Saturday. But it's one thing for Milwaukee to burn out its ace, knowing he is mostly likely leaving. If the Mets ended up with Sabathia, but did not dramatically upgrade the bullpen, they would end up with two high-priced starters who would feel obligated to finish every game they started because of a fear of what the bullpen would do. And those long-term pitching contracts would get that much riskier.

If the Mets are nervous about giving Francisco Rodriguez $75 million because of a risk of injury, why should giving Sabathia as much as twice that much be any more reassuring?

As for K-Rod, maybe his price will come down as more closers become available and teams such as the Angels say they will not pursue him. And since the Mets need both a closer and setup man, a case could be made for bringing in multiple pitchers instead of spending everything on K-Rod.

But getting, say, Brian Fuentes or Kerry Wood for four years, $48M, makes a lot less sense than giving K-Rod a bigger deal. K-Rod has been a proven closer for years and helped his team win a World Series in 2002. Wood has been a closer for one year and his name is synonymous with injury risk. Fuentes lost his job in 2007 to Manny Corpas, then won it back last year after he did well as a setup man. Not that you'd want to pay that much for a setup man, but the Mets need at least one backup to next year's closer who could step in if necessary. The Mets didn't have that last year, while teams like the Rays and Dodgers did.

So pass on K-Rod if you must, but make sure that at least two good arms are coming in - and some of last year's culprits are going out.

*

Lisa, congratulations on the Yankees acquiring the player with the lowest batting average in the majors last year for players with enough at-bats to be eligible for the batting title (or, in this case, the lack-of-hitting title). And what better name for such a player than Swisher?
Nick Swisher is also known for his facial hair. Why do the Yankees keep acquiring players known for personality traits that they will have to squelch as soon as they come to the Bronx? At midseason next year, do you really think Swisher will be hitting .300 and remarking how that unruly facial hair is what was holding him back?

Imagine if Manny Ramirez comes to the Yankees, adopts the required clean-cut look, and falls into a slump. How long before we hear: "Joe Torre let me wear my hair any way I wanted, and I hit .396."

4 comments:

The Emperor said...

Sisher can always grow a Giambi-style 'stache!!

Jonmouk71 said...

CC would be better off in a Yankee uniform. The MO of the last 12 years for the Yankees has been starter for 6-7, middle reliever, middle reliever, bridge to Mo, Mo. I lay odds that CC in a Yankees uniform gets nowhere close to 200 innings, meaning he'll last that much longer. CC blows out his shoulder in a Mets uniform with that bullpen - and Santana and his elbow are not far behind (look at how Johann had to pitch complete games by the end of the year). Minaya's first thing to fix is the PEN - K-Rod, Wood or Hoffman and some decent middle relievers

Anonymous said...

I don't get it Jon? Santana is 1 year older than Sabathia, and was the same age, 28, that sabathia is now, when he received the big contract from the mets. I don't disagree that the mets can spend the money elsewhere, but the age part doesn't jibe.

Let the yankees spend the money for him. let them buy lowe and burnett as well. but why stop there, if they are going to go ahead and purchase world series titles, why not lay out money for texeira? how about manny? he'd look good in pinstripes. may as well put hudson at 2nd base also. why not? it is all about the money isn't it?

Uncle Mike said...

Assuming the Yankees can find David Wells' uniform (probably the only one in team history that would fit Sabathia), open the vault. The House of Steinbrenner will make its money back.

Swisher drives in runs. Who cares what his hair, facial or otherwise, looks like. He won't be Thurman Munson, but if he can hit anything like the old Captain did, then I don't care if he looks like a Geico Caveman. Or even like Johnny Damon when he was still with the enemy.

I still don't want Manny in Pinstripes. We already have too much drama with Double Play-Rod.

Getting rid of Kerry Wood was a dumb move for the Cubs. Here was a guy who totally worked out for them in the last chance they gave him. He's not the reason they tanked in the Playoffs. And... they get rid of him? Decisions like this are why, in the words of the late songwriter and Cub fan Steve Goodman, "The last time the Cubs won a National League Pennant was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan." (Not to be confused with the Yankees sending Darrell Rasner to a Japanese team.)

But if the Mets signed Kerry Wood, he'd be going from the Curse of the Billy Goat, or the Curse of Fred Merkle, both of which hit him enough to make him a question mark, to the Curse of Kevin Mitchell.

I'd advise the House of Wilpon to stay away from him, but since when have they ever listened to me? Or to anyone with any sense?