Alderson: Mets Unlikely To Sign Pitcher To Multi-year Deal
On Monday, Sandy Alderson told reporters that the Mets were unlikely to give a free agent pitcher more than a one-year deal.
The exact quote was this:
“We’d be hesitant to give a multiyear contract, but it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t.”
Well, that’s a bit more optimistic than how most of the headlines were interpreting Alderson, but, not exactly promising, either.
The argument behind not handing out more than a one-year deal is that Matt Harvey — presumably — will be out for only one year. So the Mets don’t need pitchers in 2015? Um … really?
This kind of communication, if believed to be true, should be upsetting to a Mets fan, for three reasons. First, it significantly limits the pool of available pitchers — with the very least-talented, and/or most risky, among those who the Mets will consider. Secondly, because of the first reason, it suggests that the Mets aren’t serious about contending in 2014 — that they’re simply looking for stopgaps until Harvey returns to full health in 2015. Third, it suggests that the Mets aren’t yet looking to improve their pitching in 2015.
It’s that third reason that should really irk Mets fans. It’s bad enough that the team has essentially put all of their eggs into Matt Harvey’s basket, and may be punting 2014. But if that’s the case, and assuming they’re gearing up for 2015, wouldn’t they want to start adding significant building blocks to surround Harvey?
I know the immediate reply from many Mets fans: the team has a bunch of lights-out prospects who will be ready by ’15 and smoking batters left and right. Maybe they will, but that’s a huge assumption — and moreover, an unfair one. Just because Noah Syndergaard today looks like he could be a stud, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Any of a dozen things could happen that prevent Syndergaard — or Rafael Montero, or Jenrry Mejia, or Jake DeGrom, or name-your-fav-phenom — from becoming solid MLB starters in 2015. There’s been much hype about the “wealth” of pitching prospects in the Mets system right now, but I’m not seeing that much of a difference between the number and quality of prospects they have now compared to the days of Kevin Mulvey, Eddie Kunz, Brant Rustich, Nathan Vineyard, and Brad Holt. People love to fall in love with untested prospects, but the reality is that stuff happens, and when it all shakes out, maybe one or two of any top ten prospects pan out.
But let’s pretend that at least 3-4 of this “new wave of Mets pitching prospects” turn out to be good enough to find their way to a MLB 25-man roster in 2015 — wouldn’t it be really, really nice to a) have a solid veteran innings-eater to take some of the pressure and load off the youngins’; and, b) have some depth to guard against injury and/or use as trade bait to acquire pieces needed elsewhere?
Why can’t, or why won’t, the Mets make a pitch (pardon the pun) for a hurler like Matt Garza? What’s wrong with locking in a veteran such as Bronson Arroyo — who’s tossed 199+ innings every year since 2005 (and done it pitching half his games in a hitters’ park) — through 2016? Why wouldn’t the Mets even kick the tires on Jason Vargas, Ricky Nolasco, or Scott Kazmir? Would it have been so terrible to have either lined up as a solid #4 for the next 3-4 years?
Yet here’s the kicker: of the free-agent pitchers available on a one-year deal, the best of them is Bartolo Colon — but according to reports, his price was too high for the Mets. Maybe the rumor that he’s looking for one year at $10M are erroneous, but if that is indeed the asking price for a pitcher who just went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts and 190 innings in the Adulterated League, and that’s too rich for the Mets, well, what DO they expect to acquire, and at what bargain rate? Granted, I’m not necessarily an advocate of going after Colon, but if the Mets are going to pigeonhole themselves to one-year deals, they’re not going to find a much better alternative for someone with the potential to fill one of the top three spots of the rotation. Instead, they’re in the market for fifth-starter, filler types, such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang. Hey, if you truly believe that the Mets starting rotation had the lookings of a playoff contender this past September, then OK. But I disagree with that opinion.
What’s your thought? Do you think the Mets are smart to only look at pitchers on one-year deals this winter? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.