Monday, January 10, 2005

$17 million per year?

I write this as a disheartened Mets fan.... So, I know they are trying to make splashes on the back page, but didn't we think that the A-Rod & Manny Ramirez fiascos made people realize that this kind of contract can just kill a team?

If Beltran turns out to be great and the Mets find that they can also build a team around them (and they better, because they are missing many pieces), so be it. But if he's not, this contract makes him absolutely untradeable (unless the Yanks take him or the Mets just suck up a bunch of the money).

Beltran is a great player but this reminds me a bit of Antonio McDyess. Back in the 1996 NCAA tourney, McDyess was a known but not superlative player at Alabama. But in the first round, I watched him throw down 39 points and 19 rebounds against Penn and thought "this guy just made himself a few million bucks in one night." After he put up 22 points and 17 boards against Oklahoma St. in a loss, sure enough McDyess left school early and was the #2 pick overall, signing a big contract. Compare that to Beltran's 2004 playoff performance. Beltran is a true "five tool" player, but it is hard to imagine the Mets overpaying by this much if he didn't make people drool over a two-week span in October.

Let's examine a couple of the flaws in this signing: 1) there will be a lot of pressure in home games, since last I checked, New York can be, oh let's say, a somewhat hostile place if you don't perform. Beltran hit (not a typo) .225 at home last year. Now he hit better at home than on the road his prior couple of years, but still, that is a shockingly low number. 2) While he does have good OBP numbers, hitting .267 like last year just will not get it done in the press and could backfire on Minaya. 3) Last year was a career high for him at OPS.....with .915, a nice number, but not a number that makes you say, let's get him to go for a long contract at a staggering salary.

I hope I am wrong, but I would hate to see this be the contract that keeps the Mets in the basement for the next 7 years.


At 2:20 PM, Blogger DM said...

Dexys, I think you are doing a fine job preparing for life in the low-rent district of the Nats, eschewing extravagance and all that. We'll all laugh at the Mets over our bowls of Ramen Noodles someday.

But, you know, while the A-Rod thing went sour for the former Senators, Manny and his Bosox brothers are wearing rings that took 86 years to make. So I think the track record may be mixed on this one. And the Baseball Crank, a sober, clear-headed Mets fan, seems slightly bullish on this one. You never know.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

I think Beltran will be good, not great, not worth the money, but good. I also don't think it really matters if he was average, good, or great. The fact is the Mets HAD to sign a bat - any bat, because their offense was anemic last year. Another Piazza injury (I know - crazy talk) and they'd be back to losing 4-2 games, and fighting us for last place in the NL East.

The signings of Pedro and Beltran have me thinking that Minaya is trying to run the Mets like the Yankees. The Yankees' strategy (worry about development only as a way to come up with trade bait) works not only on the field (if you discount the early 90's) but off. You got marketable stars, who generate income in ticket sales at home and around the league, higher cable fees, and merchandise. This gives you more money to spend on more players, etc. etc. As long as you don't make a series of boneheaded signings or get unlucky with injuries you should perpetuate a contender. If what they say about the Mets being in the Delgado stakes is true; I can't help think this validates this theory and we're going to end up with 3 Eastern monsters (Yankees, Red Sox, Mets)

So don't be disheartened. I predict years of overspending ahead for the Mets. They can't mess that up again can they?

(by the way - I've moved my Nats material. It's now)

At 3:05 PM, Blogger tmk67 said...

Don't get too upset, DM. This is not even close to the A-Rod deal in terms of long-term impact.

When A-Rod signed with the Rangers, his $20 million represented about 40% of league average payrolls at the time. That made him untradeable to all but two teams (Bosox and Yankees.) Since then, payrolls have gone from $50 million to an average of $70 million, so the Beltran contract represents a commitment of about 25% league average payroll today or so (and even less of the Mets's larger payroll). Over time, that "bite" will decrease significantly as league payrolls increase to $90-100 million during the course of this contract. In Year 5, a 32 year-old Beltran will be less expensive to the average MLB team than what Shawn Green and Jim Thome (also sluggers in their low-thirties) cost their teams.

This means that barring disaster, the Mets will not be "stuck" with Beltran and will have the ability to trade him or move him along once he decides he does not like seeing his picture and the moniker "SMELL-tran!" on the back of the tabloids.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger dexys_midnight said...

Well, I certainly agree that at least beltran has real promise. He isn't Mo Vaughn or *shudder, freakin shudder* Jeromy Burnitz, with whom you knew the deals were pure insanity the day they were signed. I just think that the Mets have so many holes that I would have rather paid $17 million on two or three solid players.

Hopefully, this won't be an early 90s Mets deja vu of overpaid divas who couldn't care less if they won or lost. I do hope the signings turn out to be great.

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SNV here. I don't know why I can't sign in today, but I can't.

My comment is- The Mets signed Bobby Bonilla?

Stats upon joining the Mets:

Bobby Bo: .283/.360/.472 - 116 HR, 526 RBI
Beltran: .283/.353/.490 - 146 HR, 569 RBI

Oh no, Bobby Bo! How did that turn out for the Mets?

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Randolph said...

Antonio McDyess? Thanks for bringing back painful memories for this Penn fan. That was an excellent Penn team, but they just had no answer for McDyess at all.

I think that the Beltran deal will be a good one for the Mets -- he's no Bobby Bo. He's a little younger, but more importantly he has a very different set of skills, particularly speed and excellent defense, that should allow him to age far better than Bonilla did. (And Bonilla didn't actually play all that badly for the Mets; he had a below average first year and that pretty much set the tone, despite a couple of very good years afterwards. Also, he's sort of a jerk, and as far as I know, Beltran isn't.)

And the A-Rod/Manny killer contract thing is just a myth (and anyhow, Beltran's contract is peanuts compared to those). The Rangers sucked because management made terrible decisions about how to spend their money, not because they didn't have enough of it. And Manny, whatever his mental problems, earns his money with his performance and the Sox finally won a championship. If I were a Mets fan, I'd be more worried about Kris Benson, Tom Glavine, and Pedro's shoulder than Beltran -- I imagine he'll be worth it for at least the first five years of the deal.


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