According to various reports, the Mets are interested in LOOGY Joe Beimel, but not for the $2M he wants. Further, the team is also looking into Kiko Calero, but he prefers an MLB contract rather than the minor league deal the Mets want to offer.
Without question, Beimel is the best lefthanded specialist available on the free agent market. The Mets have been seeking such a LOOGY to pair with Pedro Feliciano ever since Scott Schoeneweis crapped the bed. Two million dollars is not a huge commitment for someone with Beimel’s skill set and experience — compare it to the 3-year, $10.8M insanity-driven deal handed to the aforementioned Schoeneweis. Considering that Beimel would likely appear in 70-85 games, the Mets will get more value on the dollar for him than for the $2M given to utilityman Alex Cora. So the question is, if the Mets need Beimel, and Beimel is interested at a fair price, what’s the delay?
As for Calero, I can understand the trepidation — sort of. When Calero is healthy, he can be “lights-out”, but staying healthy has been a problem in the past few years for the 35-year-old. With the Mets already dealing with injury issues this spring, they’d ideally sign a more durable pitcher.
At the same time, Calero was outstanding in 2009, appearing in 67 games and setting career bests in innings (60) strikeouts (69), and ERA (1.95), while posting a stingy 1.10 WHIP and allowing only one homerun. There’s no guarantee he’ll repeat those numbers, and he did spend 15 days on the DL in June with a shoulder inflammation. But you tell me what makes more sense: giving $1.25M guaranteed to Kelvim Escobar — who threw 5 innings last year — or Calero?
What’s hurting the Mets in these negotations, of course, is Escobar’s status (and the fact that Brian Stokes was dealt to the Angels). Both Calero and Beimel deserve MLB deals regardless, but have the upper hand as long as the Mets have neither a legitimate setup man nor a reliable second lefty.
It is at this point that I would like to hear from all the people who, back in November, didn’t think it was a “big deal” that the Mets wasted $2M on the aforementioned Cora. Additionally, I want to hear from those who supported the Stokes – Gary Matthews trade, which cost the Mets another $1M – $1.5M net. The argument was that a measly $1M or $2M shouldn’t make or break the Mets’ season. Yet here we are in a situation where the Mets are desperate to plug holes in the bullpen, there are two worthwhile, fair-priced solutions available, but the Mets don’t seem to have the financial flexibility to get the deals done.
Put it this way: if Matthews and Cora get on the field often enough to truly earn their pay in 2010, then something (once again) went horribly, horribly wrong for the New York Mets. In contrast, if Beimel and Calero are signed and earn their salaries, two roles in the Mets’ bullpen were filled quite efficiently and effectively. You tell me which is more likely to have a significant impact on a successful season — overused bench players or effective relievers?