The Winter Meetings are six days away, but one would’ve thought they not only started today – but that general managers around baseball were all taking speed as well.
Apr 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view as baseball fans line up to enter Citi Field before a MLB opening day game between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Today (if the moves are done) was one of the most ridiculous hot stove days ever.
First, three high impact relievers changed teams (or were on the verge of doing so). The Orioles dealt Jim Johnson to the Athletics, the Dodgers inched toward a deal with Brian Wilson, and the Tigers were on the verge of a two year deal with Joe Nathan. Mets fans aren’t pining for relievers (the pen is actually in pretty good shape), so these moves didn’t cause a panic, nor did the trade later in the day that sent reliever Luke Gregerson to Oakland and outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego.
The Rangers and Athletics then struck a trade that sent outfielder Craig Gentry to Oakland and outfielder Michael Choice to Texas. The Mets need an established power hitting outfielder, so this move also failed to send a ripple through #MetsTwitter.
Then, all hell broke loose.
First, the Marlins signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three year deal worth $21 million dollars. Even though the Mets have Travis d’Arnaud, some Mets fans were angry simply because the Marlins spent money today and the Mets didn’t.
Then, the Rockies traded outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Astros for right handed pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. The Mets are likely set at two outfield spots – with Chris Young in a corner and Juan Lagares in center. Their need is for a power hitting corner outfielder, not someone like Fowler, who has virtually no power, doesn’t hit for a high average, is a poor base runner, and a butcher in the outfield (and who would’ve cost prospects and close to $8 million). That didn’t stop many Mets fans from flipping out over the fact that the Mets didn’t land Fowler.
To cap it off, the Yankees (seemingly out of nowhere) swooped in and handed a seven year, $153 million dollar contract to Jacoby Ellsbury. With that, Mets fans approached the edge and prepared to jump (even though the Mets were never linked to Ellsbury), and started to bemoan the “failed offseason” on December 3rd.
Here are two thoughts that should sum today up:
1. It’s aggravating to watch tons of teams make moves in the same day while the Mets do nothing, and it’s semi-infuriating to see the Yankees hand out $153 million to one player like they’re giving away candy.
2. It’s December 3rd and the Mets still have tons of time to improve their club, with roughly $30 million available to spend on external acquisitions.
The Mets have had five straight losing seasons, ownership has emerged from a dire financial situation but has yet to prove to the fanbase that they’re financially stable, and there have been mixed messages sent all offseason (some that are likely driven by incorrect or planted information).
All of that is enough to make Mets fans antsy. It’s completely understandable to be antsy – skeptical even. However, a bunch of teams doing a whole bunch of moving and shaking in one day in early December does not mean the Mets are a mess. It doesn’t mean their offseason is a failure, and it isn’t a reason to have a collective flip out session.
At the same time, many fans feel that the Mets don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt at the moment – and that’s completely fair.
Tons of moves went down today, but the simple fact is that none of them had a negative impact on the Mets. The moves angered a fanbase that’s thirsting for action, but didn’t take any Mets targets off the board. The Ellsbury signing should actually help the Mets, since it likely eliminates the Yankees as suitors for Curtis Granderson – who the Mets are being linked to (that’s positive news, though, so most are ignoring it).
The Mets need to make a number of moves. Their top priorities should be landing a power hitting outfielder (which they’re trying to do with Granderson), upgrading the shortstop position (Stephen Drew‘s market is thin, and the club should also explore trades), and firming up the starting rotation.
Until the Mets make the above moves, many fans will continue to be skeptical and predict an offseason devoid of anything major. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t make it so. Nor does one crazy day in early December render the Mets’ offseason a failure.