On a night when two highly-touted rookies made great MLB debuts for NL East rivals, the Mets won on a walkoff homer by their own rookie star.
Ike Davis may not have the impact of the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, who had a first game for the ages, striking out 14 Pirates in seven innings. 20-year-old Marlins phenom Mike Stanton, with 21 homers already this year in the minors, went 3 for 5 in his debut. But if the Mets are going to keep pace with their division rivals (the other highly-hyped rookie this year, Jason Heyward, is on the Braves) they need their own young stars. Tonight, Davis delivered.
Mike Pelfrey, another Met first-round amateur draft choice, also came through, going nine innings, but leaving in a 1-1 tie.
Mike and Ike's performances tonight make you wonder about the wisdom of signing free agents when it makes you lose your first-round picks. The Mets had no first-rounder in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as a result of signing Billy Wagner, Moises Alou and Francisco Rodriguez. This picks would have been in the lower half of the first round, but Davis was picked 18th.
At the time, I thought the signings of Wagner and K-Rod were good ones, since the Mets appeared to be a closer away from contending for the World Series. But after two volatile free-agent closers in four seasons, I really hope the Mets can figure out the closing situation in-house next time.
There was never a justification for signing the aging, injury-prone Alou.
This year, the Mets kept their first-rounder despite signing Jason Bay because the pick was protected due to their poor record in 2009. The Mets lost their second-rounder instead.
The Boston Red Sox had the 20th and 39th picks for losing Type A free agent Wagner, who was with the Red Sox for only a few games. The Mets traded Wagner to save money, so instead of those picks, they ended up with Chris Carter.
At least the Mets were willing to go over slot in drafting Matt Harvey, a Scott Boras client, with their first 2010 pick. Let's hope that they did not cut corners on their other picks, unlike in recent years.
I watched some of the Strasburg game, and I'm afraid the NL East just got a lot tougher, and for the long term. The Mets' priority needs to be developing their own young talent, not sacrificing it for short-term fixes.