It's been a relatively blah offseason for the Mets to this point. The biggest news was the signing of Moises Alou to a one-year deal to play left field, and that signing happened many weeks ago. Right now many people, myself included, are champing at the bit for the Mets to make a move of some significance, whether it's signing Barry Zito, trading for a starting pitcher or something else entirely. Mets fans have grown accustomed to busy offseasons since the Minaya regime took hold of Queens two years ago.
The financial climate has changed dramatically this offseason, and the perception of parity in Major League Baseball has led a number of clubs who would have previously been considered also-rans to make big-money grabs for mediocre free agents. The Royals, who have been the de facto model of how *not* to run a big league franchise, have attempted to dig themselves out of their morass of ineptitude by overpaying in both money and years for Gil Meche. The Mets were a laughing stock two years ago and they decided to spend big money to right their ship. They spent that money on Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, elite players at elite positions. Those two players changed the way other players and other teams looked at the Mets, but somehow I feel that Meche won't have the same impact in Kansas City.
Throwing good money at bad players is not a great way to build a competitive ballclub, but at least an argument can be made that these teams are improving themselves somewhat. Even Gary Matthews Jr, represents an upgrade over whomever the Angels were likely to play in center field. The worst transgression of general managers this offseason has been the practice of trading good young players for lesser, older ones. The poster child for this recklessness has been Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi, who has caused many a Mariner fan to throw up his hands in defeat.
The Mets could have had Jason Jennings if they were willing to part with Lastings Milledge and Philip Humber. The Mets passed, and instead Jennings was dealt from Colorado to Houston for one great pitching prospect, one solid pitching prospect, and a toolsy centerfielder. It's likely that Houston panicked after losing Andy Pettitte to the Yankees and pulled the trigger on a deal that brought them a player who might not even be as good as Jason Hirsh, the key chip heading to the Rockies. The Astros were maligned for letting Pettitte walk over $2 million, but in reality they let him walk over $18 million, as Pettitte has a player option for 2008 worth another $16 million.
A big part of me is just itching for Omar Minaya to make a deal. There has been action aplenty in baseball but very little brewing at Shea. However, if the only way to make any noise this offseason is to overpay in either years, money or talent, then I would just as soon stand pat and wait for the action to come to us. After all, here's the alternative, courtesy of Lookout Landing:
I'm dead serious. My hands are shaking uncontrollably right now as I sit in my chair.
Bill Bavasi needs to go, and he needs to go last month.