Mets Taking Page Out Of Yankee Book
In the span of four days, the Mets acquired slugging first baseman Carlos Delgado from Florida and signed ex-Phillie closer Billy Wagner to a king's ransom of $43 million over four years- making him the highest paid closer in baseball.
You have people touting Mets GM Omar Minaya as some sort of genius with these moves. Oh really? But it had nothing to do with taking advantage of unlimited resources available. If Minaya is such a bright executive, how come Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran wasn't enough last season? The bottom line with bringing in Delgado and Wagner is this. If they get the Amazins back to the postseason, only then will it be considered a success.
Who's to guarantee that Delgado and Wagner automatically put the Mets at the top of the NL East when every year, Bobby Cox's Braves always find a way to finish first? Oh, I forgot. The Mets are doing things differently now. They are now big time and challenging all sorts of payroll records Steinbrenners' Yankees have set. And what does it mean exactly when you've seen the past five Yankee ball clubs fail miserably when it counted? Well, at least they got to October. Something which remains to be seen with the new Mets cashcow.
Nobody can predict how good they'll be. In 2005, Pedro nicknamed his new team "The New Mets." Unfortunately, nothing changed at Shea Stadium unless you consider finishing over .500 some big accomplishment. As if that's some sort of measuring stick.
One thing is certain. Minaya means business. After making Wagner higher paid than the best finisher in the game Mariano Rivera, who will he overpay next? They're rumored to be after free agent catchers Bengie Molina and Ramon Hernandez. No doubt, both are solid backstops who are younger than Mike Piazza and would be welcome additions to this Win Now philosophy. But at what cost?
Will Delgado work out for the Mets? He adjusted well to the senior circuit, finishing with 33 homers and 115 RBI's in Florida. Don't you find it ironic how when the Mets introduced him at Monday's press conference that he indicated that he felt the Marlins gave him a better chance to make the playoffs last winter. So what changed? Well, for one thing, the usual Florida firesale. And for another, the Mets were looking to upgrade at first base and get some extra protection for Beltran in the lineup cause they sure as heck didn't need it for the team's best player, David Wright.
He certainly should give New York a solid middle of the order with the aforementioned Beltran, Wright along with Cliff Floyd. The question is how will he handle New York? Delgado has already said that the whole protesting the Iraqi War during "God Bless America" won't be an issue. What the Mets are hoping for is that he doesn't turn into another Mo Vaughn. Though unlike Mo, Delgado should stay on the field long enough to make an impact.
As for Wagner, he's been an elite closer for a decade pitching for Houston and then Philadelphia. The small town country boy from Tannersville, Virginia insists that pitching for the Phillies the past two seasons will help him prepare for New York. Philly might be a tough town but it's not The Big Apple. And if Wagner thinks he won't get anymore phone calls at 3 AM, he better reevaluate the situation. He's here not because he wanted to be a Met but because they were willing to guarantee a fourth year at an astronomical figure. That's why suddenly Wagner changed his tune over the weekend about it becoming a "one-horse race."
Now that Wagner is on board, he's here with Delgado to help get the Mets back to the postseason for the first time since 2000. The flamethrowing southpaw has been reliable in the past and can get it up to 100 MPH. He'll be asked to do the same thing here, making Mets fans forget Braden Looper. Hopefully that includes taking the ball in big games before huge crowds.
After the Mets suddenly gave up on Mike Jacobs along with pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit to get Delgado, how much are they willing to trade for Alfonso Soriano? There's not much separating the Mets from the Yankees these days. Pretty soon, you won't be able to tell the difference.
One thing isn't for sale though. You can't buy team chemistry.