Mets Shopping for Halladay?


The New York Times is reporting that the Mets may go after Roy Halladay, if in fact the Toronto Blue Jays make him available this winter.

As MetsBlog notes, the fact the Mets have little in the way of near-ready prospects in their farm system may not matter, since few teams will be able to handle the financial commitment that is required to keep Halladay away from free agency. In other words, it could be another Johan Santana situation — whereby the Mets acquired the star lefthander more because the deep-pocketed Yankees and Red Sox walked away from the table rather than because the Mets had the best package of players.

If indeed the Mets make a pitch for Halladay, and pull of a Santana-like trade-and-sign deal that totals over a hundred million dollars, it will be another case of the Mets using their same old shortsighted, knee-jerk strategy of “building a winner”.

Getting Halladay would be great, no question (as Jerry Manuel likes to say). But it’s just another band-aid that will send the Mets backward over the long term.

The Mets had the opportunity to obtain one of the top three pitchers in MLB last winter — and would not have had to give up a single player. We discussed right here on MetsToday last November that the Mets should go after C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia wound up signing a 7-year, $161M contract — about the same deal that Halladay is likely to get. The big difference, however, is that Sabathia was only 27 when he began that contract, and Halladay will be 33.

Maybe they would have not have been able to top the Yankees (even though Sabathia preferred the NL), but that’s not the point — the point is that the Mets never even sniffed Sabathia’s way. They were completely satisfied to bring back another young lefthander at a much cheaper cost, and to rest on the laurels of the “big splash” they made in the bullpen (signing K-Rod, trading for Putz).

Last winter the general consensus was that the Mets needed to fix the bullpen. The PR message built was, “address the bullpen problem, and the Mets will go to the World Series”. So once they signed Frankie Fantastik and obtained J.J. Putz, there was every reason to buy season tickets.

In the end, they overspent on K-Rod, overspent on Oliver Perez, and both overspent and over-traded for J.J. Putz — a total expenditure of $96M and 7 players for band-aids to stop the bleeding. By spending all that dough and emptying their farm system, you couldn’t say they weren’t trying — and it’s now easy for them to look back and say “hey, we did what we had to do, we fixed the bullpen”.

Fast-forward one year and the Mets have new wounds opening … with more band-aids on the way.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. gary s. October 7, 2009 at 11:45 am
    the biggest band aid in the world won’t solve this organizations problems.that being said the wilpons will go that route to keep selling the overpriced tickets ..
  2. isuzudude October 7, 2009 at 12:01 pm
    Well, if Wilpon is serious about there being ‘no financial restraints’ then perhaps a Halladay trade, as well as a Matt Holliday, Victor Martinez, and John Lackey signing could be in the cards, which would change the band-aid mentality to the Yankee mentality – aka, buying a championship team. And since the Yankees get so much love here, I would imagine that would be a highly lauded route this offseason. Yes?
  3. joejanish October 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm
    ‘dude – first, the Yankees do a mix of buying and developing. They didn’t “buy” Robbie Cano, Melky Cabrera, Mo Rivera, Derek Jeter, Joba, Hughes, Posada, nor Coke — and all made significant contributions to their 2009 success.

    In contrast the Mets developed Wright, Reyes, Murphy, Pelfrey, and Parnell. Did I miss anyone who contributed significantly to the Mets in ’09?

    An overhaul like that would smell similar to the offseason prior to 2002. Robby Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, Mo Vaughn, Pedro Astacio, etc.

    That offseason definitely sold tickets … so you may be on to something.

  4. isuzudude October 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm
    Developing your own players, not developing your own players. Who cares? In the end it’s all about spending the most money on the best available talent. Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixeira went the Yankees’ way last winter, and they had a great season and were praised for reinvesting into the team. So if the Mets do the same thing this winter, they should, by all accounts, deserve the same accolades.

    Also, remember the Mets still haven’t given away FMart, Niese, Holt, Ike Davis, Mejia, Bostick, Havens, Tejada, or mic’s favorite, Niewenhuis yet, and some/all could have an impact on the big league club next year or 2011. So if the Mets go spend-crazy this offseason without conjunctively trading the farm, they would appear to be on track with developing the team ‘the Yankee way,’ i.e. as you state, doing a mix of buying and developing. So if we can hold Jeffy boy to his word (which is a whole other subject to discuss in and of itself) it seems to me the Mets really aren’t that far from 1) being a playoff contender, or 2) emulating the formula for success as put forth by the superlative Yankees.

    The offseason prior to 2002 does certainly have its similarities to the offseason currently facing the Mets, but, with the exception of Robbie Alomar, all of the Burnitz, Vaughn, Astacio, Estes, Roger Cedeno, Jeff D’Amico crew were not exactly of the ‘can’t miss cornerstone players to turn a franchise around.’ They all had significant flaws and were thrust together without any care for chemistry by a desperate and haphazard Steve Phillips. Not to say Omar may not be ask desperate and haphazard this winter, but let’s judge him on that after he starts making desperate and haphazard transactions. But if a Halladay trade transpires, or Holliday, VMart, Bay, or Lackey are signed, we’re talking about primo, proven, class-A talents who have all succeeded on big stages and still appear to have plenty in the tank. So, in that sense, I don’t see how their additions would be similar to the cast of nincompoops Steve Phillips acquired prior to 2002.

  5. Mic October 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm
    Go to MLBtraderumors for a run down on type A& B free agents. There clearly is a good group to ‘retool’ with.

    in addition there are several players the Mets can trade AND keep the core of developing players which includes those on ‘dudes list AND a couple 3 omissions like Wilmer Flores and Jeurys Familia.

    For example The twins traded Matt garza for Delmon Young last year. I wonder could mike Pelfrey net BJ Upton? (i say could)

    – The cubs may non-tender Rich Harden.
    My fav is Ben Sheets. I also like Eric Beddard. But health is a question …but no more than whether Mike Pelfrey or Ollie have their heads on from strart to start.

    Lots to talk about but as Dude says we can put together an all-star team (circa 2002) but who knows what it will look like on the field. Personally I want to start with Jason Bay in LF…hands down. I’d trade Pelfrey, Castillo, Krod and even Francoeur in the right deals.