At this point in the offseason when a position like closer is put out on the market, the race becomes less about strictly money and more about simply who needs a closer.
The teams that appear seriously interested in closers appear to be the Mets, Indians, and the Cardinals. (Maybe include the Padres, Angels and Tigers, too.)
When it comes to the issue of picking up a closer in this offseason, especially for the New York Mets, there is more to discuss than simply who is the best closer we can pick up.
Here's some other factors to consider when making this decision...
Keep in mind while reading these factors that the Mets interest level is probably limited to Huston Street, K-Rod, J.J. Putz, Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes and now Trevor Hoffman)
FACTOR 1: Money. Of course, in baseball money is important. Usually, the Mets are one of the high-market teams that do not mind dishing out large sums of money in return for a player or pitcher. This specific offseason, the Mets are dealing with the salary of Billy Wagner and the salary of Luis Castillo. While K-Rod may be the best of these choices he is demanding many years which means lots of money, more than all of the other candidates.
Factor 2: The Risk. When deciding to sign a closer there is lots of risk in signing a multiple year deal. In this day in age, it is rare to see a closer be dominating in the league over a long time-span (Like Rivera of the Yankees and Hoffman).
The New York Mets know about risk. The took this same risk on Billy Wagner and it did not work out. What if we spend a large sum of money on K-Rod and he gets hurt and never recovers. How likely is it that he will be dominating over the next five years?
Factor 3: The INTERIOR game plan. Although, personally I think a guy like Fuentes would be a good fit for the Mets at this particular time, what is the Mets strategy really? Maybe, they are looking for a cheap closer for a one or two year deal max to pave the way for someone in the Mets system who might be a closer soon (Kunz). If this is the case, go after Hoffman and have the all-time leader show him the way. (That may be a biased opinion because Hoffman is a friend of my uncle.)
Blend these three factors whichever way you wish, but they do matter. The best closer out there at the current time is not always the best decision for the future of the ball club.
Hopefully, Minaya will weigh the decisions and whether he dishes out money over years on K-Rod or spends less on the other candidates and make the best decision for the Mets. All I ask is that the decision does not leave us in another ugly situation in that horrid ninth month of the year. Agree? Comment your opinion.