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Jason Bay Applesauce - Thole Flees Venezuela, Rule 5 Is A Bust, Halladay To The Phillies?

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The first Winter Meetings of the Twitter era is now complete - thank goodness.

Meet the Mets

The big news of the day, as first reported by Mike Francesa, was the Mets' offer to Jason Bay in the neighborhood of four years, $65 million.  If he accepted it would probably be an overpay but not a terrible contract for a team with the Mets' resources.  Anything much higher than the initial offer would be bad news.  Matt Holliday is obviously preferable but it would be nice to have a slugging corner outfielder for a change.  The nightmare scenario would be paying Bay $16-17 million per season, then watching Holliday sign for $18-19 million.  I wonder if people would continue saying the Alex Cora and Henry Blanco signings wouldn't hinder the Mets this offseason?

One bizarre aspect of the Bay offer is the revelation that the Mets think Bay is a better fielder than Holliday.  That's almost certainly not true.  Bay probably isn't as bad as UZR suggests the last couple seasons but I don't think an argument can be made that he's anything better than below average.

Mets Fever goes into great detail extolling the intangible virtues of Bengie Molina and endorses a two year, $12 million contract.  This topic has been beaten into the ground but I say again: Bengie Molina is not worth anything more than a one year deal for very small money.  Yes, he caught the 2002 World Champion Angels.  That was a long time ago.  I think Tim Lincecum would have won the last two Cy Youngs without Bengie.  Three measures of catcher defense (Driveline Mechanics, Sean Smith, Baseball Prospectus) all rated Molina as below average in 2009.  He's just not very good at anything except swinging at every pitch within a ten foot radius of home plate.

Unsurprisingly, the Mets' Rule 5 Draft activity left many people scratching their heads.  Additionally, in a decent move, they signed minor league pitcher Clint Everts.

Joe Janish at Mets Today offers up a recap of the Winter Meetings' last day.

Josh Thole is leaving his Venezuela Winter League team after dominating over the last several weeks.  He hopes to compete for a spot on the Opening Day Roster. 

Rivers McCown fires up the Manny Ramirez what-if machine.

Around the NL East

Talking Chop reviews the Braves Winter Meetings activity.

FishStripes looks at the Marlins Rule 5 pick.

The Fightins' notes a weird compliment of Placido Polanco by Jim Leyland.

Ken Rosenthal says the Phillies and Angels are the leaders in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes.

Around MLB

The Royals released Mike Jacobs just before the Rule 5 Draft.  

The Red Sox agreed to send Mike Lowell to the Rangers, with the Red Sox picking up some of his salary.

MLBTradeRumors provides a massive recap of the Winter Meetings.

Off topic - Jonah Keri writes a thoughtful post about pickup basketball.

Off topic 2 - that bastion of great journalism, the Daily News, produces another nonsensical sports column.