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To Sign or Not To Sign Him...

Joyce MandelkernThursday, December 14, 2006
By Joyce Mandelkern

The debate is raging on sports talk radio, in newspapers and blogs. It is raging in my mind and in my heart. Do we cave in and give in to the market and in this case to Scott Boras or do we sit tight and hold fast to what we have.

In truth I have been all over the place with the answer to this question. I am outraged by the contracts that have been given to mediocre talent, especially pitching, this offseason. I am outraged by owners such as Tom Hicks and general managers such as Jim Hendry who I believe are partly responsible for driving up the prices this winter. Much in the same way that I have always blamed George Steinbrenner for starting this whole out-of-control free agency mess to begin with (in terms of salaries).

Yet, I understand why they feel they had to do it. It wasn't too long ago that people were saying this about Omar when we signed Pedro and Carlos Beltran to what some considered outrageous contracts. Carlos seems like a bargain now doesn't he? I justified that by saying that we had to do that because no one wanted to play for us - we had to overpay to get them here and we needed players like that not only to give our team credibility but to attract other players of high caliber to want to play here. We had no choice. Especially given the fact that we compete in a market against/with a very high profile team that until now has exercised very little financial restraint.

Obviously, I don't have an answer as to whether or not to pull out all the stops to get Barry Zito. I admire Omar's restraint at the winter meetings and I trust him. I know we need starting pitching. I think it would be great to have Barry Zito in the starting rotation. However, I do not want the Mets to go overboard on a contract to get him. I know I am in the minority. I am concerned about going 6 or 7 years on a contract for lots and lots of money.

Last year we were one hit away from going to the World Series. We had a patchwork rotation for most of the year and the irony of the whole thing was that while we were all concerned that our pitching was going to doom us in the postseason it was our offense that did us in ultimately. We have young, unproven arms and a couple of old arms and our ace is Rick Peterson who seems to get the best out of everyone. Part of me just doesn't like being held at gunpoint by Scott Boras. Another part of me does not want the Mets to become the team that "buys" a team. I know I live in an idealistic baseball world that no longer exists but I just wish there was someway the Mets could help stop the cycle instead of perpetuating it. Wouldn't that be something?

About Joyce: I am an insanely passionate die-hard Mets fan since 1962 who is also a season ticket holder and usually can't bear to look and buries her head in her hands or starts pacing when I'm home when things get tense...   Read More -->

Comments (2)

To be brief:

I say yes. The Zito $$$ has been impacted by resigning Glavine, a signing reflecting more loyalty than team winning. Since Glavine is a one season signing, in effect Zito is being signed a year early to replace Glavine. In the meantime Maine and Ollie are asked to step up and Petey should be back by the end of the yr. The draft pick lost...you cant lose two first rnders anyway, could be picked up by trading away ..for example Maine for prospects.
Again El duque is no more than a middle reliever and could be as erratic over a season (or 1/2 season) as Maine or Ollie. In contrast...We know Glavine and Zito will be a given. Something we NEED.

I hear your pleas on Boras' $$$ gauging but that is no more deplorable than the gauging we have taken from Gillick (Kazmir), or stand to take from Ken Williams if we decide to go after Buerle or Vazquez. As 'Metropolitans speaks to (and I have long advocated), I'd like to see Humber (and Pelfrey) as Mets developing in the bullpen.

I also found support in that read for my take that Humber is a BETTER pitcher at this point than Pelfrey (who should bhe at AAA, but should he be promoted would be better in the BP). I

Ed - If I could jump in, since the last sentence seems directed at ME, I have no doubt that Humber is ahead of Pelfrey at this point of his career, and have said as much. My contention has always been that Pelfrey has a higher ceiling because of his fastball. He could be a number 1 if he can develop the type of off-speed stuff that Humber already has. That's a big "if", but you're always talking about "ifs" with prospects.

Because Pelfrey already has good command of his fastball, that's a good sign. His delivery is consistent, which should also help. There is no substitute for pitching in real games, which is why I think he needs to start in Triple-A rather than relieve in NY. Such a pointless thing to keep arguing, as neither you, I, nor Mike from the Metropolitans will make this decision.

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