Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
Team-fan disconnect, starring the Mets and Bengie Molina
Spoke with a couple of Mets officials yesterday, and disappointment coursed through the organization that Bengie Molina chose a return to the Giants over joining the Mets, even though the Mets offered slightly more money (a little over $5 million, compared to $4.5 million).
"We're just gonna get hammered for whatever we do right now," one official said.
"Um, no, not for this one," I said. "As far as I can tell, most of your fans are thrilled that you didn't get Molina."
Does any baseball team have a bigger team-fan disconnect than the Mets? It's pretty darn big. It speaks, of course, to the profound lack of faith fans have, understandably, in the club's front office.
Shoot, this Mets offseason, so far - with plenty of work remaining, let's make clear - has been a pleasant surprise for many fans. "Hey, we didn't go crazy trying to sign Molina." "Hey, the Jason Bay contract isn't great, but it isn't as horrible as I feared it would be - and look how much more St. Louis gave to Matt Holliday."
"Hey, we didn't spend a lot of money on relievers this offseason."
These, of course, are all faint-praise damns. The Mets' past mistakes - moves that were generally and rightfully crushed by the fan base at the moment they occurred - will still be around in 2010. Yes, we're talking about you, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.
No team is immune from such fan unhappiness. I've heard from plenty of Yankees fans this winter who are unhappy that the team didn't bring back Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, and want no part of that alleged choking dog Javier Vazquez.
With the Mets, though? It speaks volumes that their fans are relieved when the team fails to acquire one of its primary offseason targets.
--With Felix Hernandez signed long-term with Seattle, that's one less pitcher we'll be hearing linked to the Yankees and Red Sox for the next few years. It is amazing how few ace-caliber starting pitchers actually make it to free agency at precisely the right time in their careers, as did CC Sabathia.
Look at next year's free-agent class, and at the starting pitchers, in particular. You have intriguing options like Rich Harden, Javier Vazquez and Brandon Webb, but the only guys who are "ace-caliber" at the moment are Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee. And the Red Sox figure to try to re-sign Beckett in the coming months.
Hence the increasing need for teams to develop their own young starting pitchers. The pickings aren't as good as they used to be.
--The Yankees did not have a representative at Ben Sheets' throwing session yesterday.
--Great piece by Tom Verducci on the best and worst spenders of the last decade.
--Joe Posnanski smacked down Carlton Fisk, after Fisk made some silly remarks about steroids.
--Thanks to those who nominated me for a Shorty Award.