After nearly a month of handwringing, Jason Bay has reportedly accepted the Mets offer, and will be in left field in Flushing when the season opens in April. The contract is said to be 4-years, $66 million, with an easily reachable vesting option for a fifth year at about $14 million.
The deal is not yet official — the Mets won’t make any announcement until Bay takes a physical. And according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the physical may be more than just a formality. He writes:
There has been a lot of talk in the sport that the Red Sox were hesitant to do a long-term deal with Bay because they were concerned about the health of his shoulders.
Assuming everything goes well with the physical, except for whomever they sign to catch, the Mets lineup is pretty much set. I would still like to see one more bat in that lineup, but that seems unlikely unless Omar Minaya is working on my Brandon Phillips/Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang for Castillo/Pelfrey/Parnell/prospects trade. Boy, that trade would address so many of the Mets problems.
So now the focus turns to pitching. Minaya has been busy signing mid-level relievers all winter when he should have been concentrating on the starting rotation. The Mets need two reliable starters, one of them preferably a true number two. With John Lackey off the market, there are no number twos available in free agency. Ben Sheets (left) would fit that bill if he’s healthy — a big if. I would take a chance on him, but not for the $12 million he is reportedly demanding. I’d offer him the same type of contract Andy Pettitte signed last year — $5.5 million guaranteed, plus incentives based on innings pitched and time on the roster.
Otherwise the Mets would have to trade for a big name starter, and that is not likely to happen. Not many are available, and the Mets don’t have much to offer. Carlos Zambrano can reportedly be had, but he makes around $18 million a year. As well as he pitches, he also brings a lot of baggage with him to the mound. And the Mets have had bad luck with pitchers named Zambrano.
As far as free agency, the Mets are said to be interested in Joel Piniero, but not for three years. Jon Garland (left) is still available. He’s a solid if unspectacular pitcher, but he’ll give you 200 innings every year, virtually guaranteed. Who else in the rotation can you say that about? I was hoping the Mets would have signed him last year, and I hope they finally do it this time around.
My guess is Minaya will only sign one more pitcher, and go into 2010 with Johan Santana, the mystery pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez. That rotation looks all-too-familiar for my liking. There are way too many question marks in that rotation (three, not including Santana coming back from injury) for comfort. But hey, at least Tim Redding won’t be on the team.