Mets’ Offseason: Shadow Puppets?

Updated: February 13, 2013
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The fact that the Mets lost out on signing Michael Bourn is not particularly newsworthy. Bourn is 30, a bit of a journeyman, a career .272 hitter with a .339 OBP, can play CF and steal a base. Most notable is that at 30 he’s joining his 4th big league club, and the Braves who should compete for a title let him walk and upgraded at CF (with BJ Upton?). The Rangers who also see themselves competing and need a CF monitored the situation but not seriously.

Not to disparage Michael Bourn, nice player and all. And he’d immediately become the Mets best OF by a factor of 3. But Michael Bourn? For $48M/4 years? (The Indians gave him a 5th vesting year at another $12M). A guy reliant on his legs past age 30 and you’re giving him 4-5 years? Alright you get the idea.

Despite all the very public appearances Sandy Alderson was never doing this deal. Losing the 11th pick in the draft was always a deal-killer and they weren’t avoiding that, the compensation rules are clear. But that was their way out if they were ever in danger of having the deal come their way. The signing was ludicrous and Sandy is more disciplined than that. Michael Bourn will be on the downside by any time the Mets might be in contention and certainly he wouldn’t be leading the way, he’s just a nice capable piece.

With no long-term money to commit the Mets were never players for a 2nd-tier guy. They were never players for Justin Upton…if they had the pieces needed to make the deal, they never would have parted with them…that is, solid (inexpensive) prospects and young major-league-ready (inexpensive) players.

Photo by dbking on flickr

Photo by dbking on flickr

So what were they doing? With no money to spend and wanting to hold on to your prospects, apparently you hang around the big boy blackjack tables looking like you’re waiting for a seat to open up. What they’re really doing is stalling for time with a crowd while waiting for their presentation to arrive, so they’re doing shadow puppets on the wall.

With a (rightfully) cynical Met fan base what else can you do? The Hot Stove League is all about hope, hope for better talent on the way. While never uttering the words the Mets’ actions scream “REBUILD”!…i.e., tear it down, let big contracts expire, trade big league talent for prospects, hope for the best, and wait.

The Mets are completely in Wait-Mode. They’ve done a creditable job in trading stars like Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey for good young prospects and replenishing the pipeline a bit. The problem is still that they haven’t done a great job of selecting their own prospects in the draft, even with the new Alderson regime.

Why can’t the Mets just come out and say they’re rebuilding with prospects? People can get behind that if they know that’s the direction, there’s an excitement in seeing the studs of tomorrow. A faint pursuit of Upton and Bourn just seems like more disappointment in what should be the season of hope. Then again with empty pockets and waiting on prospects, you can’t blame a guy for winking at a few sexy names.

This post was written by

Dave Graziano – who has written posts on Big Dog Sports Blog.
Short Hills, NJ USA


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