Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Was Afraid Of This

So the Mets basically told Derek Lowe that if he thinks he could get a better offer somewhere else he should go for it.

He went for it, and apparently he's going to get it.

So I ask you this: What's the consolation if Lowe does indeed sign with Atlanta and the Mets don't budge from their initial offer? And I'm not talking about who the Mets sign in his place. I'm talking more along the lines of whether the fact that the Mets were

  • stingy,
  • frugal, or ...
  • responsible

whatever you want to call it with their money will help you sleep at night when Lowe is doing the tomahawk chop. Will you still think that the Mets played the market right and will you be content in the fact that the Wilpons didn't throw extra money around in this economy?

(Editor's note: I italicize "in this economy" because I'm about near the point of puking my guts up after the thousandth time hearing that phrase.)

This is why I was worried when the Braves struck out on A.J. Burnett (and Rafael Furcal). They were going to have money to spend on someone. And now their spending spree might cost the Mets Derek Lowe. So for that, I guess you can partly blame the Yankees for signing Burnett. (Now now Metstradamus, you learned about argument fallacies in college and now you're leaning on one yourself. For shame, wayward blogger.)

But this was a case where the Mets should have taken a page from the Yankees book. The Yankees blew everyone out of the water for CC Sabathia right from the beginning, and that's when everyone started grumbling about New York and how their irresponsible. And I'm not saying the Mets should have offered Lowe $60 million more than he was worth. But when Boras and Lowe said they were going to go elsewhere, an extra six or seven million over the length of the deal at that point might make a team like the Braves think twice about even making an offer, instead forcing them to grumble about the economics of baseball and about how New York is evil. But now they're firmly in the mix with the money originally earmarked for Burnett, and the Mets have to play catch up and pay more than they would have if they had just thrown in a little extra from the start.

Instead, they're sitting out in the cold in front of the building like Ralph Kramden was when he and Alice were kicked out of the apartment for not signing the rent increase, and all Ralph could say is "I've said it before ... and I'll say it again ... that man is bluffing." And maybe Boras still is bluffing. This could be the reverse New York theory. Instead of bringing in the New York team to goose up the price, he's using a New York rival to goose up the price for the New York team. Boras probably knows teams' needs as well as their insecurities as well as anyone. He's playing it like a fiddle and he knows it. I'm just saying that a little good faith ... not much ... could have avoided all this. Because you may think you're bidding against yourself, but with Scott Boras that's never really the case.

Now there are some who think that getting Oliver Perez back would be the better option anyway ... upside and age being the major factors. Besides, better the devil you know, right? More than fair. But if Perez becomes the play, I'm sure there will be fans who feel that the Mets didn't really move forward with the rotation. After all, Perez is kinda "been there, done that, bought the t-shirt". And if the Mets aren't going to get the discount on Derek Lowe because he prefers to play in the northeast part of the country, the Mets sure as heck aren't getting a discount on Ollie if he's the only option out there for a top flight pitcher. So then the choice becomes overpay for Ollie, or sign Randy Wolf and pray that he's the next Kyle Lohse.

(At which point whatever God you pray to laughs hysterically and points Pedro Martinez towards the Florida Marlins.)


Anonymous said...

C'mon, You and many other bloggers are way off on this. The Wilpons are not CHEAP. What about the $ paid to Pedro, Beltran, Santana,Wags, Piazza. They were smart chea, I guess, on Zito.
In this instance we are talking about Boros not cheap. He opened with l6 for 5....90 million for a 35/36 year old slightly above average pitcher.
Omar has done a great job and I for one am glad they will not piss away anymore than 42 for 3. Some times you have to let it go Mr. Testosterone.

Metstradamus said...

Hold on, cowboy. The jist of what I was saying was that the Mets should have gone 42 for 3 after Lowe and Boras said they were going to look elsewhere. 42 for 3 knocks a lot of teams off the perch for good and we're not even talking about the Braves. Instead they held firm at 36 for 3 and Boras called their bluff. That's my point.

And I wasn't looking at this from a big picture perspective either. I wasn't talking about history in this case. Yes, they've spent a lot of money on good players and that's great. Lowe is not in the class of the guys that you mentioned. But let's narrow the view here: in this specific case, yes ... the Wilpons are playing with fire. Especially when the six million we're talking about will be made back by the Mets in a second between selling out their new park, selling their luxury boxes, and the money rolling in from their network. The Mets have more financial muscle than they show ... don't let 'em fool you.

And yes, I thought 90 million was crazy ... I even said as much if you go back a few posts. But why did they have to wait to budge from 36 for 3 until the Braves got involved? That was the mistake.

You do get major points for "Mr. Testosterone". I like that.

Unser said...

Gotta say I'm not losing sleep over Lowe. I'm in the Ollie camp for the reasons you mentioned. The Mets appear to have made the decision that they'd rather have Lowe over Ollie only at or about the 36 and 3 offer.

But this of course assumes they will now get Ollie. Question for me is this: will Ollie now feel like the red headed step child either not sign with the Mets or sign and act slighted?

Metstradamus said...

Unser, I wonder about that. Ollie has said in the past that his desire lies in pitching in Southern California, which worries me if Lowe doesn't come aboard.

Also, don't discount a trade if they miss on Lowe and Ollie. Though I don't know who's available. (Omar doesn't return my calls after that "restraining order".)

850 said...

I don't think Lowe is worth much more than 3 years 36 million. And I have a feeling he won't be a frontline pitcher by the third year anyway. I'd rather have Ollie. Ollie's record against the Phils and Yanks, and his ability to come through when the Mets have needed at least 6 quality innings in a huge regular season or postseason game, speaks volumes. My only concern with Ollie over Lowe is the recent reports that Citifield may be more of a hitter's park than planned, and the sinkerballer may fare better. I still like Ollie over Lowe though.

I'd love to see the Mets throw 2 years 50 million at Manny too.

Anonymous said...

$42M for 3 years wouldn't have gotten it done and won't knock out the Braves. Boras knew that the Mets would not open with their best offer. They never do. The Mets are simply being smart. Lowe wants to be paid like a top 10 starter in baseball this off season and he's not. Sabathia was. Burnett wasn't and that deal will haunt the Yankees when he goes down with his inevitable annual injury in 3 or 4 of the seasons he's contracted for. He's Carl Pavano all over again. It's simply crazy to pay that much for a 36 year old sinker baller or to go more than 3 years when Oliver Perez is sitting there capable of putting up similar stats for 5 or 6 years and then some from the left side. Lowe can be choice #1 and Perez #2 and we can argue whether that's even right, but Lowe's only choice #1 if he's willing to accept 3 guaranteed years and something close to $12M or $13M a year otherwise how is he the definitive choice 1?

Metstradamus said...

To me, Lowe is the definitive number one because I'd rather sink $42 million into a guy who's had an ERA of under four consistently over the last four years than sink that money into a guy who has not only has had stretches of awfulness and has been very erratic on a game to game basis until Warthen, but to somebody who has to have every little thing be perfect to be on his game.

Yes, he's great against the Phillies and Yankees and Braves. But this isn't a guy a look at as a guy who's on his way to being a rock over the next five, six years. I see him as a guy whose next walk can turn his brain into mush and start him on the road to being the next Steve Blass. That's how I look at Oliver Perez when I watch him pitch, whether he's ten years younger than Lowe or not.

Consider also: the last time Lowe had a WHIP over 1.26 was his last year in the AL, when it was a horrible 1.61. But that was also the same year he was the winning pitcher in three clinching games. Ollie's WHIP was 1.40 last year, a year widely regarded as a GOOD year for Perez. Now granted, he had a very good last half of the season in '08. So you're either shelling out $42 million over a body of work the last four seasons, or over a body of work for three months. I myself am for consistency.

Now, that's what I say when I compare the two with each other. Fact is, both are good options. I just prefer Lowe. If Lowe goes elsewhere, they had sure as hell better sign Perez or else that improved bullpen may not have the impact it should. Ollie does have very good stuff and if the last three months was the rule and not the exception, the Mets are in great shape.

Here's the next question though: How come you hear nothing ... and I mean nothing, about any Oliver Perez rumors? We haven't heard as much about anybody this season as opposed to seasons past ... but it's interesting that everyone else is waiting for Lowe to set this "mini-market" before talking to Perez. Does it mean that Lowe is the definitive number one choice amongst baseball people as well as the bloggers? I wonder. It may not mean they're right, but I wonder.

schneck said...

I am in the Lowe camp for similar reasons. People talk about how Lowe isn't worth whatever amount for some number of years but it is impossible to generalize a pitcher's value. What Lowe is worth to the Mets is different than he is worth to, say, the Washington Nationals. For the Nationals, if he adds 4 or 5 wins, incrementally, over the next best pitchers it really makes no difference to them. For the Mets, who (we hope) should be competitive throughout the season, 4 or 5 more wins can be the difference between making the post season or making post season reservations at a sports bar to root against the Phillies once again.

GM-Carson said...

I had no idea Wright and Reyes were this close-

850 said...

I just think Perez may give you a better chance at the 4 or 5 extra wins than Lowe - I have a lot of confidence in Ollie pitching well against the Phils and those are obviously huge games. I'm honestly not as confident in Lowe.

But the Mets need one of them. Metstra is right about the pen - if we don't make the starting staff at least equal to what it was last year, the revamped back of the bullpen won't matter. We'll just have shifted the problem.

LadyMet said...

Careful, Metstra, you've been infected by GM Carson...Lysol disinfecting wipes are good for this sort of thing

Metstradamus said...

Lady Met, unfortunately that's nothing compared to what we're in for if the Eagles win the Super Bowl. You think Philly fans are feeling their oats now? Would you want to live in a world where Philadelphia is the new "City of Champions"? Think about it.

LadyMet said...

I shudder at the possibility.

Rickey Henderson said...

Eh, did we really want him anyway? Dude kind of looks like Dane Cook. And really, who wants that?

Geoff said...

I liked Lowe a lot, but not at the 4/$60M that the Braves were willing to pay. That is the kind of contract that will leave you kicking yourself at the end that in the past we were the ones giving out. We need to now start talking to Sheets and Garland and let Boras know that we want Perez but not going to overpay. Regardless of how it works out, we're going to have some money left over vs what we would have paid for Lowe, and can use that to fill in other holes. Maybe missing out on Lowe and saving the money means we can pull the trigger on a trade for Nady or finally dump Slappy McCreakyknees.

Or maybe we can re-sign Moises Alou.

Anonymous said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! MUTTTTTTTT$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!

Demitri said...

Ughh. Bad times to be a Mets fan in Philly if the Iggles win. And hey, I considered myself an Eagles fan, but after the Phillies WS win, I decided I needed to take a break. I'm not a very good Eagles fan.

Anyway, its Ollie time now. Unless they do the Wolf / Garland / Sheets thing I keep hearing about.

TW said...

Much like the Yankes did nothing but replace a 20 game winner with Sabathia and a Yoeman Lefty with Burnett, the Braves did nothing but replace a groundball pitcher, Hudson, with a groundball pitcher, Lowe. Would it have been nice to have a guy with the stuff, ability and experience of Lowe, of course, but the Braves aren't any better for it. The are still a third place offense. No one on the West Coast needs a pitcher and the rest of the league is waiting until we sign our guy first anyway. I say screw it and offer Sheets 1/10 with an option and incentives.