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.