Monday, November 28, 2005

The Mets Read This Blog
By Bryan Koch

-Fox Sports is reporting that Billy Wagner is a Met. The stud closer will be paid $40 million over four years, with an option for a fifth year at $10 million or a $3 million buy-out. All in all, it's quite comparable to the Ryan deal, with Wagner averaging a slightly higher annual salary, and Ryan, the younger of the two southpaws, being guaranteed a fifth year. I'm going to leave the heavy Mets analysis to the usual suspects, but the same logic I supported in this piece applies here. Obviously, I've persuaded Omar Minaya.

-So, as far as I can tell, the Mets' window for a pennant run is open for as long as Pedro Martinez stays healthy. Then again, with their network launch looming, the Wilpons may pour money into the team at a Steinbrenner-esque level from this point forward. Jayson Stark, the only baseball writer worth reading on ESPN (though in a nostalgic way, I have a soft spot for the Artist Formerly Known as Peter Gammons), explains the loophole in the luxury tax agreement which is allowing the Mets to spend so freely. What a joke.

-Speaking of Gammons, does anyone else get the feeling that various major league executives float bogus rumors just to confer on him a continued sense of importance, or maybe even to see how outrageous a potential deal he'll report? I mean, would anyone be that surprised to click on his latest scoop, only to read:

"One Houston official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the Astros were very close to signing Gerald Williams to a long-term deal worth around $20 million. The thought here is that Williams has underperformed throughout his career, and could blossom in the right environment."

All kidding aside, I think Gammons is a good guy. A really good guy. I just think his role with ESPN has transformed from "Wow, he really gets the inside info," to "Wow, that's so cute, he thinks he's reporting!" I mean, honestly, why would anyone leak valuable information to Gammons, who dutifully conveys everything he is told to the whole country, unless he were purposely aiming to inform the public as a negotiating ploy?

-Last year, The Mets saw blistering criticism when they "set the market" with the Kris Benson contract, which pays him $7 million annually, so I expect the same sort of response now that Billy Beane has handed out an identical contract to Esteban Loaiza, who is basically the exact same pitcher as Benson, except for the fact that he's three years older. What compounds this move for Beane is the fact that, as we know all too well, his payroll constraints are far more of a consideration than are those influencing Minaya. Beane is a smart general manager who just made a surprisingly unadvised decision, regardless of whether or not it turns out to be some precursor to a Barry Zito deal.


Blogger David Arnott said...

A) The Loaiza deal doesn't even make sense as a precursor to trading Zito. If the choice is Loaiza at 7 mil plus prospects, or Zito at 10-12 mil, why not send Loaiza's money Zito's way?

B) IIRC, the pitching market is much much much thinner this year than last. I mean, people seem to see Brett Bombko as an exciting free agent pickup. Matt Morris could get four years from somebody. Kevin Brown looks more and more appealing every day. Look at the names on last year's list of free agents. I'd take a good number of them over this year's crop.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

That $21M probably would have been better served going towards a power hitter.

And I heard that the A's lost a 1st round pick by signing Loaiza. Which, if true, makes the signing even worse. We all know how much they love their draft picks.

6:44 PM  

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