Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two Missed Moves Will Haunt Mets

Hindsight is always 20/20. I realize that. But there are two missed moves that are glaring in the face of every Mets fan and will trouble our minds not just this year, but in the seasons to follow.

The names are familiar: Adam Dunn & Derek Lowe. These two players while not perennial All Stars are the pieces the Mets needed, but opted for other options. I'm not saying that having these guys would have changed the outcome of this season. Injuries played too large a role to salvage any part of 2009. But the mismanagement of not getting these guys will impact the moves that need to be made in this coming off season.

Instead of signing Derek Lowe, the Mets opted for the unlovable, inconsistent head case that is Oliver Perez. The reason being that Perez is much younger than Lowe. So instead of a solid, proven veteran who is a legitimate #2 starter behind Johan Santana, the Mets are now saddled to the $140 million mental patient.

Injuries and his psyche, now make you question whether Perez can be a reliable starter, let alone considered a #2 starter. And one year later the Mets will enter the winter months looking for more starting pitching. They'll be forced to spend even more money potentially on a Jon Lackey or force a trade for a guy like Roy Halladay or Roy Oswalt.

Not that any of those options aren't better than signing Lowe, but there's a chance the Mets might not even have the money or the pieces to get any of these guys. And the Mets will now have spent $140 million on a risky #4 starter and spend another $100 million on a #2. That's just poor money management.

Which brings me to Adam Dunn. The most glaring omission from the Mets lineup is a power bat. We expected to get that from Delgado, Beltran and Wright, but of course injuries and the curious case of David Wright have impacted that situation. But in the cavernous Citi Field, any baseball mind knows that you need a power guy who can just plain mash, which is what Adam Dunn does year in and year out. He's got 40 dingers and can potentially reach 100 RBI this year for the dismal Nats.

The Mets needed a left fielder, but they rolled the dice by going with a selection of tier 2 options that included Murphy, Tatis, eventually Sheffield, Sullivan, Evans and Reed. If the Mets had signed Dunn they would have had an extra power bat and a solid backup to Delgado at first base. Of course Dunn is a liability with the glove, but you can say that about pretty much every Mets player these days. When Delgado went down, Dunn could have slid over to first base or Murphy could have moved from bench player to first baseman rather than dancing around that option for a few months.

But the bigger impact of not signing Dunn is in this off season. Now the Mets will seriously consider signing Delgado for one year even though he hasn't stepped on a playing field for almost an entire season. They may get him cheap, but he's yet again a one year fix and the Mets will shop for a replacement again the following year.

If they don't sign Delgado, the first base free agent crop is cast of B-list players which don't quite fit the bill of what the Mets need. So the Mets may be forced to trade for a player or try and salvage a season with a roll call of backups or making Murphy fit into their first base plans for the future.

Instead the Mets could have had Dunn as their first baseman for the next two seasons and be in a position to sign Adrien Gonzalez or Justin Morneau when they are free agents and Dunn would come off the books.

There is little to be happy about this season when it comes to the Mets. But I hope the torture of this season and the missed moves of the last off season will cause the front office to think, not short term, but long term about the impact their moves have on this team for years to come.

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