Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 29, 2005
BASEBALL: Billy and Tike

I have to like yesterday's moves by the Mets. I've been arguing for a while that they should prefer BJ Ryan over Billy Wagner, but they simply got outbid on Ryan, and Wagner was certainly the best remaining option. His contract - 3 years, $43 million, with an option of a fourth year pushing the deal to $50 million - is pretty overpriced for a 34-year-old closer with an injury history, but that's the market right now, and with the departure of Piazza and Cameron, the Mets have money to spend. As with Pedro, if Wagner's healthy for at least the first two years of the deal he will be worth it.

They also grabbed 29-year-old free agent center fielder Tike Redman, fresh off playing himself out of a regular job with the Pirates. Redman is a weak bat - he should remind Mets fans of Jermaine Allensworth - but he's reputed to be a good glove, and should spell the end of Gerald Williams' Mets career. Minaya has done a very good job of getting guys like this to upgrade the bench. Hopefully, with Redman and Nady, we shouldn't see any middle infielders in the outfield this season.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:52 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

And the Mets' left-handed closer tradition continues. Pretty amazing actually.

I have no doubts that if healthy, Wagner puts WINS in the books. But come September when he has to retire Berkman or Chipper or Burrell to protect a one run lead, I fear he may be needing the ole' neck-brace.

Armando, too, put wins on the board. But those homers in big spots have a way of equalizing things.

Posted by: Mike at November 29, 2005 8:21 AM

Outbid for Ryan? 4 years @ $43 million (with a 5th year making it $50 million) or 5 years @ $47 million...and when Ryan's contract is over, he'll only be a year older than Wagner is now. Whatever happened here, I don't think they were outbid - that extra year would have cost them $3 million or saved them $3million if they exercise the option.
As an O's fan, I'm sorry to see Ryan go but I have no problem with the O's not paying this kind of money.

Posted by: Trusader at November 29, 2005 9:22 AM

Yes, outbid. You are comparing different commodities. Wagner, right or wrong, was the premier talent on the board. Looking at the dollar amounts is misleading. If you look at expectations, and the premiums paid above; then factor that the Ryan contract set the market, they were outbid. Or more simply, were the mets offering Ryan 5 yrs at 9m per? No. Hence outbid. I agree, O's far better off without that contract on the books. i like Ryan, but that's a very risky deal.

Posted by: abe shorey at November 29, 2005 11:14 AM

Re-reading this, I have to agree with Trusader here. $47 M for 5 years on the 30 year old is too much, but $43M for 4 years on the 34 year old is acceptable?

Sheesh. More Mets Math!

To answer Abe's concerns, the Ryan deal is risky, yes. But so is the Wagner deal. He's 34, has injuries in his past, and has a history of giving up BIG homers. I wished they'd rolled the dice on Ryan.

Posted by: Mike at November 29, 2005 11:46 AM

I am pretty sure the deal is 4 years at 10.5 mil per with a Mets option on a 5th year at 8 mil with a $1 million buy out.

The Mets kind of look good on paper but doesn't it seem like a lot to expect Delgado, Wagner, Pedro, Floyd, Beltran and a couple of others to go the whole season without a breakdown of a serious (50 games +) nature? The Yankees had that look to them going into last year, had the breakdowns and were only salvaged by 3 guys (Wang, Wright and what's his name from Colorado) pitching WAY over anything anyone woud have reasonably expected.

I know with Wirght, Reyes and no doubt some other younger players that will be added between now and opening day that there is youth but it really seems like the core that is being counted on is high-mileage guys over 34 (especially if Piazza comes back as the catcher).

Posted by: jim at November 29, 2005 12:28 PM

I agree, Jim. Depending on guys in their mid-30's to carry a team is generally a losing gambit.

Even baring injury, Floyd, Delgado, and Pedro are all at that career point where guys can go off the cliff. Hernandez & Carter '88, anyone?

Posted by: Mike at November 29, 2005 12:42 PM

What you want is a good mix of young players, players in their prime, and older players. They may be slightly weighted toward older players, but still have Wright, Reyes, Victor Diaz(?), and Milledge (?) as young players, and Beltran and Benson in their primes.

Posted by: Al at November 29, 2005 1:24 PM

Kris Benson?! Are you serious? Dude is 57-61, has 2 winning seasons in his career, blew up at the end of last year and has never shown anything to make you believe he is anything but a #4 or #5 guy. I like Seo but was the 2nd half last year the real deal or a motivated guy on a hot streak?

Hey, I think the Mets look OK but at this point it looks like they are expecting to get numbers guys put up in the past that they may no longer have in the tank. On top of that if due to injuries or whatever this goes south everyone is SO expensive that it could be pretty bleak. If they don't get results this year or at worst the next they are going to have a ton of guys over the age of 35 making more than $10 million/year. In the NL where things are kind of soft this could be a good club if things break (or don't break) their way.

Posted by: jim at November 29, 2005 2:04 PM

Benson is in his prime. It's just not much of a prime.

The Mets have the kind of pitching that hitting teams win with, and the kind of hitting that pitching teams win with. I expect they should be fine in the regular season, but if they expect to go deep into the playoffs, they will need to further improve one or the other.

Posted by: Jerry at November 29, 2005 2:16 PM

Benson is in his prime - for a #3 starter. (Seo is in his prime; Zambrano too (have we gotten rid of him yet?)... but we need #4/5 starters, you know.) The problem is, of course, that we have one #1 starter, one #3 starter, four #4/5 starters, and no #2 starter.

Hey, maybe we'll convert Heilman back to a starter and he can be the #2 starter.

Posted by: Al at November 29, 2005 5:45 PM

I really don't think that if you view the Mets as a playoff team that you would view Kris Benson as a #3 guy. He won 10 games last year and that was one of his best years in his whole career. He's 30-31; he is what he is and the odds of him being a 15 win guy (seems reasonable for a playoff team's #3) seem pretty slim. He also does not seem very durable. #4 at best, probably a #5. In the #2 spot you pencil in Kazmir...oh, right.

Posted by: jim at November 29, 2005 6:20 PM

Ouch.

That hurt, Jim. The Zambie doesn't quite get us there, does he?

Posted by: Mike at November 29, 2005 9:54 PM

Nothing I like better as a Braves fan than to watch the Mets have to pay for what the Braves grow naturally - TALENT - and then STILL underachieve.

Posted by: JB at November 29, 2005 10:11 PM

Mike, I was hoping we'd land Ryan as well. I do not like either contract, was simply pointing out the highest offer made to Ryan came from up North, not Flushing. An aggressive offer to open The FA period might have done it. But Omar is a headline hunter now, playing to the Sherman/Heyman crowd. He was not going to get serious with Ryan until Wagner was off the board.

Posted by: abe at November 30, 2005 8:27 PM

Hate to break it to you, Crank, but Tike has far from a "good glove". Having witnessed Redman's CF antics first-hand, I was relieved to be rid of the king of unintentional comedy in the outfield.

Tike's speed has always been tantalizing but, the guy simply doesn't get on base enough (.312 career OBP) to take advantage.

Seems like a nice enough guy--and I do wish him well--but I have to believe Pirates pitchers are relieved to see this glove leave town.

Posted by: Scott at December 1, 2005 1:41 AM

Word is Kris "In His Prime" Benson is on the block for Jorge Julio. Lots of stuff but owns an 11-24 career record and gives up a lot of HRs (14 in 71 innings last year) as well as walks (24 in 2005). Seems like a salary dump unless there is another player involved.

Posted by: jim at December 1, 2005 11:05 AM

I'd almost rather cut Benson than trade him for Jorge Julio.

2005 was, in my view, Benson's last shot to be something more than a mediocrity. But even after starting the season a month late, he ran out of steam over the final 5-6 weeks, and his K rate fell off the table down the stretch. I guess you give Rick Peterson credit for helping squeeze a few months apiece of real good pitching from both Benson and Zambrano, and I can live with them as the back of the rotation, but I no longer see either of them as having any significant upside.

Posted by: The Crank at December 1, 2005 11:17 AM

Please take Jorge Julio....otherwise the O's might consider making him their closer again...besides, it might act as a wonderful trip down memory lane, recalling all those magical moments with Benitez!!

Posted by: Trusader at December 3, 2005 12:22 PM
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