New York Mets: No Roy Halladay...No John Lackey...No Problem?

Paul SieversAnalyst IDecember 16, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Starting pitcher John Lackey #41 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

O.K. that’s a bad title. There are plenty of problems. In fact, it’s safe to say that until Omar is replaced and the Wilpons sell, there will always be plenty of problems.


That said, I’m not ready to start looting and rioting now that the Mets missed out on the two top pitchers of the offseason. 


My fellow Met fans please help me understand your logic. I spent three hours yesterday afternoon listening to caller after caller on WFAN and ESPN Radio bemoan how the off-season was already a failure because neither Roy Halladay nor John Lackey will be suiting up in the blue and orange next April.


While I certainly would have loved to have seen either guy on the Mets next season, I can’t convince myself that these guys were make or break players for an already broken organization.


If we learned anything about the Mets last season (oh boy did we learn a lot), we learned that the Mets' roster was very top-heavy. Once their star players went down for the count there was nobody left to pick up the slack. The Mets lacked depth. Even when the Mets were healthy, the bottom half of their lineup and rotation were routinely outclassed by their rivals.


So if we established over the span of 92 losses last season that the Mets biggest issue was depth, why is it all of a sudden necessary to “make a splash” this offseason? Why not spend the money on five or six solid players as opposed to one or two superstars? Aren’t Met fans savvy enough to realize that star power doesn’t necessarily equate to winning?


In the insurance industry, we have a concept called "spreading the risk." If an insurance company has a choice between insuring a group of six or a group of three with the same gross benefits and costs, the company will choose to insure the group of six because there is less of a negative impact if something goes drastically wrong with a member of the group.


If the Mets have the theoretical choice between six $5 million players or three $10 million players and three replacement-level players who, in a perfect world, would add the same amount of wins, they should spread the risk and go with quantity. Too often, Omar Minaya and the Mets have gone with the more expensive big names, and last year it came back to bite them.


The Mets are set at shortstop, third base, center field (even if Beltran will never be the same, Pagan proved to be a capable replacement), closer, and at one spot in the rotation. In fact, the bullpen is probably good enough to be ignored in this article so lets do just that.


That leaves five spots in the lineup and four spots in the rotation that could use an upgrade. If they could upgrade six of those nine spots this offseason (newsflash, they can’t) they’ll be back in contention, frankly I would settle for upgrading three of those spots.


The most baffling thing I heard yesterday was that the Mets should have done “whatever it takes” to sign John Lackey, a pitcher who by many accounts wanted no part of New York.


Now I don’t want to compare Lackey to guys like Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo but isn’t overpaying free agents and tying up money in bad contracts exactly how the Mets got into this mess in the first place? How is doing the exact same thing that led them to a 70-92 record last year a good idea?


Why should the Mets continue to throw around cash like a drunk guy at a strip club? Why shouldn’t they be more careful?


The bottom line is that this roster has holes that are probably going to take more than one off-season to fix and the organization has internal issues that need to be resolved before this team can be the consistent winner the fans desire. There is no quick fix, there is no one guy, not even Roy Halladay can fix this franchise.


Why should the Mets disproportionately allocate their resources towards one or two players when they have more than one or two needs?


I beg you Mets fans, please answer my questions. In the meantime, I’ll remain calm until they pay Bengie Molina $10 million more than he’s worth. Then I’ll begin looting and rioting.