As Squawker Lisa wrote yesterday, the Jets' acquisition of Santonio Holmes from the Steelers inspired Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco to compare the Jets to the Yankees. But most of the Jets' recent moves are the sort of things the current Yankees would never do.
The Jets managed to land big names like Holmes, Antonio Cromartie and Braylon Edwards because off-field issues left them available at a discount. The Jets did not have to give up much in the way of draft picks for these players, nor did they have to sign them to huge multiyear deals. All three are in the final year of pre-free agency contracts.
But even at a discount, other teams shied away.
The current Yankees don't go shopping in the discount bin for their stars. They pay top dollar for players that every team would be happy to have.
In past years, the Yankees were willing to take a shot on players with off-field issues such as Dwight Gooden. This Yankee team, however, is way too loaded to need to take a chance on a controversial player, much less someone like Holmes who is about to be suspended for a quarter of the season.
But when Milton Bradley was on the trading block this winter with the possibility of the Cubs picking up most of his salary, rumors linking him to the Mets were all too plausible.
In the last couple of years, it's been the Mets who have tried to pick up big names on the cheap - Gary Matthews Jr. this year and Gary Sheffield last year. While neither player has anything like the off-field issues of the new Jets, their old teams were so eager to get rid of them that they were willing to eat a combined total of over $30 million in salary.
Unfortunately for the Mets, they are similar to the Jets only in their willingness to acquire controversial players. But the new Jets are current stars, while Sheffield was past his prime when he became a Met and Matthews barely had a prime.
There was a time, though, when the Mets made a Holmes-like move of their own - trading for a star player in his prime who was unexpectedly available due to off-field issues involving drug use. The Jets can only hope that Holmes works out as well for them as Keith Hernandez did for the Mets.