Mets

Mets: When you shop in the bargain basement, you get what you pay for

Just when I was beginning to have some hope for the Mets and Sandy Alderson, my dream was shattered by the team’s addition of Adrian Gonzalez to their 2018 active roster.

The Mets went shopping in the bargain basement where we can always find bargains and steals, right? Sandy Alderson saw the price tag reading, “Today only, 90 percent off” and apparently, he couldn’t resist since Adrian Gonzalez, bad back and all, is now the team’s first baseman of the future. You can’t make this stuff up.

Gonzalez had been a free agent since the Atlanta Braves released him on December 18, just two days after acquiring Gonzalez as a throw-in as part of a trade with the Dodgers.

That the Braves are responsible for the $22,357,000 remaining on his contract minus the major league minimum the Mets will pay him, puts the Braves a close second behind the Mets in the “Are you kidding me?” department. But at least the Braves had the sense to scrap Gonzalez before he even put on a uniform.

So, what’s bothering me? It’s not that the Mets have already given up on Dominic Smith because I give them points for that. And it’s not that the Mets will be lucky if they get 100 games out of Gonzalez because they deserve that. Instead, it’s the penny-pinching notion of a team that behaves more like a slum lord every day. Here’s what the Met’s payroll looks like today as compiled by Spotrac.

Mets 2018 Payroll (1/15/18)
Source: Spotrac.com

The roughly $4.6 million in deferred salaries goes to Bret Saberhagen ($250,000), who is now 53, Bobby Bonilla ($1,193,248), now 54, and the recently retired Carlos Beltran ($3,142,857). There’s also the generous sum of $1,792,000 reserved for Jennry Mejia if he can beg MLB to forgive him for his sins of the past.

In case you are wondering, the bottom line net of $130,762,000 does include Gonzalez and newly signed, Jay Bruce money. Which, according to my math leaves the Mets still without a second or third baseman and roughly $24 million to spend before they reach last year’s threshold of $155 million.

Roughly a month ago, I wrote a piece for ESNY titled, Say no to A-Gon and yes to Lo-Mo in which I pleaded with the Mets to take a look at free agent Logan Morrison instead of Gonzalez. Predictably, my prayers were not answered. But whether Morrison was the better choice or not, surely the Mets could have found a better fit for the team than Gonzalez, who will be turning 36 midway through the season.

Here again is a table put together by ESPN listing all of the free agent first baseman, including those who have signed.

Mets: First basemen free agents
Source: ESPN.com

As you can see, I’ve highlighted three names, including Morrison while adding Lucas Duda and Eric Hosmer as other opportunities the Mets could have pursued. Duda ups the ante causing the Mets to shop at Macy’s and Hosmer lifts them to a spree on Rodeo Drive, but isn’t this all about winning? I repeat that. Isn’t this all about winning?

Morrison, at 31, remains the most practical and rewarding choice for the Mets. His 38 home runs and 85 RBI are enough for me.

And for roughly a half-million dollars owed to Gonzalez, the Mets still have an opportunity to rectify this mistake by doing what the Braves did by releasing him on a moment’s notice.

Hosmer, I agree, is probably too big a jump for the Mets to make at this juncture.
But still, it haunts me that the Mets may be lying to us once again, and they have every intention of keeping most of that $24 million in their pockets at the expense of their fans, who for the most part, have not given up on the team – yet.

I said earlier I hate this team. I don’t. I love the players, who somehow manage to fight through the ineptitude of the front office that calls the personnel shots. Which leads me to wonder how newly recycled, Omar Minaya might have dealt with the idea of signing Gonzalez.

My last hope and a prayer for the Mets organization that brings on Minaya is the Wilpon team is quietly sending a message to Sandy Alderson to get back on his horse and ride as he used to when he captivated the baseball scene with the Oakland A’s.

Because pulling a stunt like the one with Gonzalez just isn’t cutting it.

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