Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mets 2010: Y2Bay?

On New Year's Eve ten years ago, many people worried that Y2K would bring down the world's computers. This year, some writers feel that the signing of Jason Bay will bring down the Mets.

Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes:
Here the New York Mets go again, throwing money at a big-name free agent who they misguidedly convince themselves will solve their troubles.
But only a week ago, Passan argued that the current market for Bay and Matt Holliday made them "incredible bargains":
Boston understands value. Its proprietary formulas say something like what all of the publicly available metrics affirm: Holliday is one of the most valuable everyday players in the game, and Bay’s bat is a mighty force. And when assigning a dollar amount to their valuations, the Red Sox are saying: Right now, Holliday and Bay are incredible bargains.
Even if Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and David Wright are all back at full strength in 2010, the Mets still need a big slugger in the middle of their lineup to replace Carlos Delgado. There were only two top hitters on the market and the Mets landed one of them. That is great news for the Mets.

Will Bay's bat be the same "mighty force" in Citi Field? Probably not. But that does not mean the Mets were better off with Angel Pagan. The Mets needed a big upgrade in left field or at first base and now they have it.

But what if Bay turns out to be the next George Foster, as Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman believes? Pearlman and Passan both believe the Mets would have been better off spending the money on John Lackey, and I completely agree. But there is no assurance that Lackey wanted to play in New York, or that they would have been able to outbid the Red Sox for his services.

Even if the Mets had managed to land Lackey, they would have ended up giving a five-year deal to an over-30 pitcher who has been on the disabled list at some point the last two seasons. So how is signing Lackey less of a risk than signing Bay?

Both Passan and Pearlman buy into the notion that the Mets have a dreadful record when it comes to giving players big contracts through trade or free agency. But the Mets were in contention from 2006-2008 because of the big contracts they were willing to give out. Some moves obviously worked a lot better than others, but where would the Mets be without Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez?

But if the Mets are going to maintain a winning organization, they need to drastically upgrade their farm system. Passan writes:

Since 1985, the Mets have signed and developed five players who later wore their uniforms in an All-Star game. Five. Wright, Reyes, Todd Hundley, Edgardo Alfonzo and Bobby Jones. Even Kansas City can say it has passed eight homegrown All-Stars through its system. . . .

New York spent $3.1 million on the amateur draft in 2009. It was the lowest figure in the game. Ramping up their spending in Latin America – which has netted them their three top prospects, Fernando Martinez
, Jenrry Mejia and Wilmer Flores – doesn’t excuse going skinflint stateside.

All very true, but as the Red Sox and Phillies have shown, it is possible to have a payroll around the size of the Mets' payroll and still build a great farm system.

But until that day comes, at least the Mets signed Jason Bay.

Happy New Year. Here's to a much better 2010 for the Mets.


Mets Forum said...

Thank you for some common sense thoughts, which is more than we can expect these days from many in the media.

The media also criticized Omar Minaya for doing nothing. Now they will crucify him for doing something.....he can't win.

Meantime he got a top offensive free agent player, and he's not done yet. The Mets will improve their pitching before the season begins. Don't forget, the Mets were in first place in May 09 and were picked by the experts to win it all....then the injuries started.

People have short memories!

Anonymous said...

I think Mets fans would have shown more enthusiasm for the Bay signing if not for the Peter Gammons Beirut quote.

The media? Well, they don't seem to think that a positive spin on anything is a good idea.

Jonmouk71 said...

The Bay signing is a good one for the Mets (and a great one for the Yankees - anything that weakens the Red Sox puts a smile on my face), solidifying their lineup 1-6. Most are saying Bay will hit fifth after Beltran (Wright #3 having a better OPS than Bay). But the Mets still need pitching help just like the Yankees need a LF.

AC Wayne said...

It sickens me that columnists like Passan can win sports journalism awards for producing shill articles that formulate no real opinion. Alluding to the Mets organization as a mess is the type of negativity that has made for innovative sports writing these last few years.

Passan forgets to mention in his article that the Royals have lived at the bottom of the AL Central for at least a dog's age. He also fails to mention that home-grown players, if they pan out, will eventually demand big contracts ala Carlos Beltran.

A word to the wise for Mr. Passan; let “real” Mets bloggers cover the Mets.

Regarding Bay, I felt he personified the acquisition of Dave Kingman in the early nineteen-eighties.

Happy New Year!

jason heyward said...

The Red Sox will spend that money on pitching or a comparable player in free agency. I think Bay's stats will decline for the Mets because of their ballpark doesnt yield as many home runs.

guinness said...

I hated the Bay signing when it happened but it is slowing growing on me. I do agree that Bay's power numbers will drop at Citi Field but not as significantly as some of you believe they will. Don't forget that PNC Park is a pitcher's park too and his numbers were decent there.

As for the Mets farm system, I have to agree with everyone that something needs to be done. Unfortunately, until the Wilpons are willing to pay above slot in the draft, the Mets will never sign the best player available with their picks. They will only sign players willing to accept signing bonuses within the slot system. That is not how to build a farm system on par with Boston or Philadelphia.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Bay will have a solid year for the Mets. He'll hit 25-30 HRs, drive in 100 and bat around .275. Nothing spectacular, but not "George Foster" bad. We'll see what happens down the road with this deal. He's not a very good OF, and he maybe exposed in that huge Citi Field outfield. Mets needed a big bat and got one. Too bad Bay can't pitch.

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