"The reason we haven't spent the money is not because of Fred Wilpon. It's because of me." -Sandy Alderson
Well, that's a fine sentiment. And I'm sure the Wilpons appreciate that GM Sandy Alderson is willing to stand in front of the season ticket holders and take the bullet for them. Not that I believe it for a second. Because I'd buy it if the decision revolved around big free agents like Michael Bourn, who would cost a draft pick (maybe), or a guy like Nick Swisher, who frankly isn't worth the money.
But when Sandy goes out and signs Pedro Feliciano, who hasn't pitched in two years, to a minor league deal, then signs serviceable yet injury prone 37-year-old Scott Atchison to a minor league deal, and now 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal ... all while Jon Rauch sits at home wondering what the hell he ever did wrong (unless he just plain doesn't want to come back, who knows) ... how the hell am I supposed to believe that the buck stops with Sandy? How am I supposed to believe that something else (finance) isn't at play here? Because well, here we go again with the Bargain Bin Bullpen Brigade ... throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping one of those strands doesn't wind up throwing meatballs all over the place. It's a "strategy" we've seen for years here. Many of your more prominent life style magazines say that Feliciano, Atchison, and Hawkins are merely the new Carrasco, Acosta, and Buchholz. Different law firm, same late inning fear.
Hawkins' upside is that he could be some sort of player/coach, passing knowledge to, and helping out the young pitchers whenever possible. Miguel Batista was thought to be that too. His lessons were more "See what I did there? Yeah, don't do that." Rauch actually had some usefulness last season and pulled together a very good season overall. But here's the rub, once a guy comes out of the bargain bin and is productive, he's immediately out of the Mets price range (see: Capuano, Chris). So Rauch is seemingly gone, but we're stuck with Frank Francisco another season. Seems about right for this part of the world, no?
I agree with the skepticism about the sincerity of Alderson's remark. But after we threw $13.8 million at Byrdak, Carrasco, Francisco, Ramirez and Rauch last year (and got a combined 0.4 fWAR) I'm quite happy that they are not sinking a lot of money into the bullpen in 2013.
@BrianJoura No doubt about it. And I don't blame Sandy for saying what he said. I certainly wouldn't expect him to go up there and cry about his bosses. I don't bemoan him as much as I bemoan the crappy situation he's in.
As for the pen ... I like Rauch, and am sorry he is going to be gone for three big question marks. Rauch isn't the surest thing either but he was a little under-appreciated at the same time. Perhaps the Mets will get Papa Coronary and spare us Frantsisk in the ninth.
Ya gotta admit.... They give you a never ending supply of story lines.... Btw, I read on Wikipedia that Manny Acosta is making 1.5 million playing in Japan.
The Mets are becoming the baseball version of Sanford and Son. Somehow I keep picturing the bullpen as the junkyard and the pitchers as the junk and Fred Wilpon (didn't even realize how that would work) clutching his heart saying "Hear I come Joan Payson! Here I come!" I need to start drinking less.