The Mets off-season thus far has been troubling to say the least. Once again they implemented a strategy of patience when pursuing free agents. You have to say it has worked for Omar Minaya and the Mets in the past. They waited out the Johan Santana situation and then leaped in and swept him up at the last minute. They used a similar strategy the following year when they pursued Fransisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod's original asking price was for five years and $75 million. The Mets, who realized the market for closers was weak at the time, waited K-Rod out and eventually signed him for less than $40 million over three years—a true bargain considering his value to the team and original asking price. And finally in 2010, Omar's patience payed off in the Jason Bay sweepstakes, but since he has lost out on free agents Joel Piniero and Bengie Molina.
I have to assume that the Mets had offers out to both Piniero for about $8 million and to Molina for about $6 million. A total value of around $14 million for both free agents for the 2010 season.
I also believe the Mets wanted and intended on signing both of these players. This would mean the Mets should have a little over $15 million left to spend before the season begins. As it stands right now, they desperately need a starting pitcher who is effective and could also eat up some innings.
With Piniero signing in Anehiem and Randy Wolf and Doug Davis going to Milwaukee, there aren't many appealing options left for the Mets. Jon Garland is still available, but he has a West Coast bias, and I doubt he'd ever sign in Flushing. Other names like Pedro Martinez, Erik Bedard, Bronson Arroyo, and Chin Ming Wang have been floating around, but their is only one logical choice: Ben Sheets.
The only logical choice for the Mets is to sign Ben Sheets. Sheets looked healthy and free and easy when throwing about 50 pitches off of a mound last Tuesday. No free agent pitcher including Lackey or Piniero could have the kind of upside and impact as Ben Sheets.
Signing Sheets could instantly turn around this disaster of an off-season. It could also create one of the nastiest one-two punches in game. If Santana and Sheets are both pitching healthy and without pain, the Mets will be a serious contender.
The Mets really don't have any choice in the matter really. Their season ticket sales are already way down in a year where ticket prices went down 10 percent. The Beltran, Piniero, and Molina disasters are an embarrassment on the organization. They need to make a big public relations splash to save face with the fans and restore credibility to the franchise. They need to do it because that's what the fans want even if it may not be the wisest decision. It's a gamble, but it's a bet I would make.
So please, Omar, sign Ben Sheets. Do it for the fans, do it for Johan, and do it for your job. If you sign Sheets and it works out, your team will have a legitimate chance to win a World Series, and if it doesn't, you can always just blame it on the fans, the medical staff, or Adam Rubin.
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