Welcome to the Team, Boys
January 18th, 2011 by slangon

Overall, it’s been a deceptively quiet winter for the Mets. I say deceptively because they haven’t really made a whole lot of exciting trades or signings or anything, but really the whole culture of the team has taken a completely different turn thanks to bringing in Sandy Alderson as the GM. I personally am pleased with what he’s talked about doing so far and am happy to see that it looks like it’s not just talk. He’s identified specific problems with the organization (such as having a boatload of terrible contracts) and has identified pretty logical fixes to those problems (such as sucking it up and letting those contracts run out while at the same time not committing yourself to more potentially terrible contracts). I believe this is the right approach, but I can’t imagine it’s easy to stick to that approach in the New York market, especially since Mets fans in particular have suffered through 4 very disappointing seasons in a row.

Over the last few days, the Mets have signed a couple of players, which thanks to the restrictions they’re facing due to the afore mentioned terrible contracts, are nothing earth shattering, but to a fan who’s been waiting to hear about some sort of move other than bringing Mookie back are pretty welcome news.

First off, the team has agreed to a deal with former Padres All-Star Chris Young. Agreed is the optimal word here, since the whole deal hinges on Young passing a physical, which considering his injury record over the past few years, is not a sure thing. Assuming that he’s healthy (crossed fingers), he might be a perfect fit for the Mets. In 2007, which was the year that he made the All-Star team, his ERA at Petco Park was a minuscule 1.69. If healthy, hopefully playing at Citi Field will similarly help him out. Also, the fact that his base salary will be roughly $1 million with $2.5 million in incentives makes him a good fit for the teams pocketbook. Over the course of the winter, many of the rumors I’ve read about who the Mets might be going after, Young, Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis were the 3 names that I heard the most. Out of the three, I was kind of hoping for Young just because I felt, out of the 3, he had the greatest upside compared to what it would cost to get him. I think Webb might have more upside, but I think the $3M base salary and $5M in incentives that he got from the Rangers is a bit much for someone who hasn’t pitched in almost 2 years. The money that Jeff Francis will get from the Royals is similar to what the Mets are giving to Young, but I feel like there’s a bit more potential with Young. Plus, more of Francis’ salary is guaranteed. That might sound like I’m trying to color this deal rosy since Webb and Francis already signed elsewhere, but I really was thinking that Young would’ve been the best fit even before they signed their respective deals.

I just hope that no joker in the Mets clubhouse switches Chris’ eye black for pink lipstick like someone did for this Ginter card.

The other deal that I’m pretty jazzed up about is the Mets signing Willie Harris. Why would I be excited about signing a lifetime .239 hitter? Willie Harris is one of those dudes that over the years has absolutely killed the Mets with his defense. He’s killed more rallys than Jeff Francoeur, Mike Jacobs and Brian Schnieder combined. On August 9, 2007, the Mets were losing to the Braves 3-7 in the bottom of the 9th. They ended up scoring 3 runs to bring it to 6-7. Then Carlos Delgado hit a solo homer that would’ve tied the game, if Willie Harris didn’t jump the fence and catch it. On April 10 of last year, The Mets went into the bottom of the 9th trailing the Nats by 1 run. They had the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position when Rod Barajas hit a sure double down the left field line that should have won the game. Should have, except Willie Harris made a diving circus catch to end the game. I feel like there’s been a million other times that Willie Harris has killed the Mets with his defense, but those are the 2 that I clearly remember and I don’t feel like looking up any others. It would make me too mad. I was particularly glad to see the Mets sign Harris as a possible 4th outfielder because after seeing how badly he’s hurt the Mets over the years, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a very good defensive player. That and as long as he’s on the Mets, he can’t kill them.

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