We are supposed to be the rational Mets fans, the ones who don't call in to Mike without the Mad Dog, etc. So, let's be rational. Here are seven reasons why yesterday was a great day.
1) The Phillies improved only marginally for 2010, and they were already better by a large degree. But now, stupid fans understand that.
Ralph Kiner used to joke -- well, half-joke -- that he would ask Branch Rickey for a raise, and Rickey would retort that the Pirates could lose without Kiner as well as they do with him. The Mets are going to need a lot of luck to win the NL East next year, and that was as true two days ago as it is today. However, the rank-and-file WFAN caller is now going crazy, saying the Mets can't compete. They weren't two days ago. Maybe, just maybe, that means they come to terms with it. Which likely means:
2) 2010 is Omar Minaya's last hurrah.
Fans are unhappy and he's the reason. And to make matters worse -- for Omar, that is -- there's really nothing he can do to win the 2009-2010 off-season. The Phillies got Halladay and he couldn't even come away with Lackey. It's the classic "Nero fiddled while Rome burned" story, applied to the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. See ya, Omar.
3) And Omar can't do much damage on the way out.
Really, unless he signs Bengie Molina, Jason Bay, and someone like Joel Piniero for one year too long at one million too much apiece -- and that's "too long" and "too much" in WFAN-speak, not Amazin' Avenue sense -- it's frustrating but not fatal.
With two of Bay's biggest suitors in Seattle and the Red Sox both likely dropping out of the "sweepstakes" to overpay for his services, there's a decent chance we'll get him for 4 years, $16 per. Not ideal, of course, but not bad. And it may actually sell tickets, which is good.
4) The 2010-11 Free Agent Class is going to have a gem available in Cliff Lee, and probably another solid starter in Josh Beckett
There's really no way the Mariners can afford to keep him while similarly extending/retaining King Felix, and I don't think Jack Z expect to retain Lee. Hopefully we'll have the money available to make him ours.
Similarly, Josh Beckett may be not long for Boston. He is a free agent after the 2010 season, and with Lackey on board, maybe he's done there after the year.
5) The Phillies budget is strained.
Some basic math for you:
Roy Halladay makes $15.75MM in 2010, of which the Blue Jays pay $6MM. The Phillies are going to pay him $9.75MM.
Cliff Lee makes $9MM in 2010.
Combine that with the fact that, reportedly, the Phillies received three good-but-hardly-stellar prospects for Lee, and, had they simply kept him for 2010 and offered him arbitration, they'd have gotten two top draft picks, and there's only one reason why the Phils traded Lee -- they can't afford him for 2010. Forget 2011 and beyond -- that's a separate point. Lee to Seattle was a pure salary dump, and a stupid one at that.
6) We have ample reason to believe Ruben Amaro is a bad GM.
If he *had* to dump salary, Lee was not the way to do it. Joe Blanton is arbitration eligible (4+ years MLB experience) and made about $6MM this year. Non-tendering him would have saved the lion's share of the difference. Not signing Placido Polanco to a ridiculous deal would have saved the rest, and then some.
7) And the Phillies are going to be cash strapped for years.
Halladay gets a $10MM raise from 2010 in 2011. Other core players get a total of another $15MM, and that does not include Joe Blanton or Jayson Werth (first year of free agency) or even Jimmy Rollins's option year. They'll be murderous, but they won't be as good as they are in 2010.
To sum it up, yesterday was painful because it proved that the Mets are not going into 2010 as favorites... but we knew that already. And 2011 just got easier.