Well, I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again. Let’s review. On November 6th I wrote of John Lackey:
I think there is a chance the bidding will not get as high as expected, because the Yankees and Red Sox will likely sit this one out, and with those two teams out of the bidding, the price may stay reasonable.
Then on November 16th:
I don’t think the bidding will get out-of-control. Despite media reports, I don’t think the Yankees or Red Sox will spend big for starting pitching this off-season. Both teams have enough pitching and other areas to address.
And on December 12th:
I only put $13 million for Lackey because that’s where I think he’ll end up.
Well, my ex-wife was right — I’m an idiot. Not only did the Red Sox reportedly sign Lackey on Monday, the contract is said to be 5-years, $85 million. That’s $17 million per year, a whole lot more than I thought he’d get.
If this indeed turns out to be the deal, I say the Mets made the right move not pursuing Lackey. A $17 million dollar a year pitcher should be a true ace — a Johan Santana, a C.C. Sabathia, a Roy Halladay (more on him in a moment). Lackey is a fine pitcher, and I’m not saying he won’t continue to enjoy some level of success, but he’s not in their class. In addition, Lackey has only managed to make 24 and 27 starts in 2008 and 2009 respectively because of minor injuries. The Mets don’t need that aggravation. This feels a lot like the smart decisions the Mets made when they passed on overpriced pitchers Barry Zito and Derek Lowe.
Back to Halladay, who is reportedly on his way to the Phillies. That’s bad news for the Mets, as their chief rival now has one of the best pitchers in the game. It’s not clear yet whom the Phillies will trade for Halladay, but reportedly they will send Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects, and then ship those prospects to the Blue Jays for Halladay. If they don’t have to send any of their own top prospects to Toronto, then Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is brilliant. He wanted Halladay at the trading deadline, couldn’t get him, then turned to Lee, whom he got from Cleveland for lesser prospects. And now he’s turning Lee into Halladay. An excellent move.
Another Monday move that could have an impact on the Mets is that the Red Sox have reportedly signed Mike Cameron. That would seem to signal the end of the Jason Bay era in Boston. The Mets have reportedly offered Bay 4-years, $65 million. A supposed “mystery team” has offered 5 years. It’s believed the Mets could win Bay if they go to 5 years. I say shoot for the moon (now the photo makes sense) and go for it. Just like they had to overpay and go longer for Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Billy Wagner, they’ll have to do the same for Bay. He’s certainly not the best slugger in the game, and his numbers will suffer in Citi Field as opposed to Fenway Park, but he’s very good, the best player the Mets can hope to get. Matt Holliday would be better, but they Mets will not spend the money it would take to get him.
Just sign Bay, and then concentrate on the starting rotation, which is still 2 pitchers short of respectability.