Hey, everyone, it's good to be back! I sure did enjoy my one day of vacation. I feel like a new man.
Nah, given that this will be the Mets' biggest acquisition of the winter, I figured I might as hop back in, to check in.
My thoughts? Not terrible. Jason Bay is a high-impact player, at least on the offensive side, and the Mets are guaranteeing him the same number of years and just a few more dollars than did the Red Sox, a team widely and deservedly regarded as one of the best in the business.
The vesting option for the fifth year? Let's see the exact bar Bay has to clear to get that fifth year. In general, however, I don't think vesting options are killers. If the player hits the option, that means he has performed well enough to stay in the lineup/rotation. And once he vests that option, he puts himself in a walk-year situation, in which - quite often - the player improves his performance.
The key, now, is for the Mets to stick to their notion of fiscal responsibility. Don't guarantee Bengie Molina two years (the current offer stands at one year and an option - ignore the inaccurate reports that the two sides are closing in on a two-year deal). Go nowhere near Joel Pineiro, as long as he's asking for four years and $40 million.
With Bay aboard, if Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and David Wright are healthy, this can be a playoff contender. I know you're all sweating out the starting rotation. The Mets will get someone to help, whether it's Pineiro (at a lower price), Jon Garland, Doug Davis or a higher-end rehab guy like Ben Sheets. It just depends upon asking price and the Mets' valuations.
But with Bay aboard, the starting rotation becomes slightly less of a concern, because, again, it's all about run differential. And the Mets' offense is now better.
--Mailed in my Hall of Fame ballot today. I'll post it tomorrow, giving us a day to discuss the Mets and Bay.