By Mike Steffanos
I've heard all of the jokes to the effect of "that loud sigh of relief you hear is coming from Omar Minaya", but I'm thinking that the news of Tom Glavine's return more likely brought a confident smile to our GM's lips. If Glavine had delayed his decision further or elected to return to Atlanta, Omar would have been a much tougher job in dealing from a position of perceived weakness at next week's winter meetings.
Opposing General Managers and agents for free agent starting pitchers would have negotiated with Minaya in the knowledge that the Mets' GM literally had to make a move to bolster the Mets starting rotation. There was no way he could chance going into 2007 with Orlando Hernandez and John Maine heading his rotation. We knew that, Omar knew it, and so did every other participant in the hot stove circus. In a conference call with reporters last night, Minaya admitted it:
If we didn't have Tommy, it would've definitely put us in a situation where we would've had to go in the marketplace and pretty much had to acquire a proven starter.
With Glavine's return, Minaya is now taking the position that the Mets would be comfortable heading into next season with Glavine and Orlando Hernandez heading a rotation filled out with John Maine, Oliver Perez and some of the team's youngsters. Although I see some disingenuity in Omar's stance, and I believe he will do everything in his power to add one more proven arm, I honestly believe that the Mets wouldn't be afraid to stand pat if they couldn't obtain a pitcher for a fair value.
For free agent Barry Zito, this could mean the difference between signing him to the 5-year deal that you could live with rather than the 6- or 7-year contract that Scott Boras is looking for. In trade talks, opposing GMs will now likely be more realistic in what they ask for in return.
I always felt confident that the Mets could find their way through next season if Glavine left, but it just got a whole lot easier. As a Mets fan, regardless of what you expect from Tom Glavine performance-wise in 2007, you have to appreciate the way his return strengthens the position the Mets can take next week and for the remainder of the offseason.
Mets will receive compensation for Roberto Hernandez
The Mets offered arbitration to reliever Roberto Hernandez after all, which means that his signing with the Indians nets the team a couple of draft picks. The Mets also offered Guillermo Mota arbitration, but passed on Steve Trachsel, Chris Woodward, Cliff Floyd and Darren Oliver. Changes in the rules will allow the Mets to try to bring back players not offered salary arbitration, but this is thought to be extremely unlikely with any of those four.
The signings of Moises Alou and Damion Easley sealed Cliff and Woody's fates, his playoff performance (and questionable intestinal fortitude in that NLCS game) did in Trachsel, and the Mets are obviously confident someone like Dave Roberts could take on Oliver's role for much less money.