Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Mets and the Marlins pull a Freaky Friday

The Marlins signing Jose Reyes makes one thing clear:
The Mets have become the Marlins and the Marlins have become the Mets.

Like Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris (or Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis) they have switched places a la Freaky Friday.

For so many years the Mets were the big market team that seemed a bit insecure. They weren't as sexy as the Yankees nor did they have the stable organization as the Braves in 1990s or the Phillies in the late 2000s. But they kept spending, kept bringing in big splashy names (even if they didn't fit.)

And it resulted in big huge mongo unmovable contracts stuffing up the payroll.

And yeah... a lot of players played for the Marlins and ended up on the Mets.
Al Leiter, Cliff Floyd, Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield, Dennis Cook, Livan Hernandez, Moises Alou, Kurt Abbott, Braden Looper and Luis Castillo all played in the post season with the Marlins before finding their way to Queens.

And don't forget, Mike Piazza came to the Mets not from the Dodgers but after his brief cameo in South Florida.

Well now it is the Marlins who are making the big spending signings, even if they don't 100% fit.

Heath Bell arrived in Florida as a closer in his 30s making big bucks when all logic says "Closers tend to flame out when they reach that age" and "a decent inexpensive pitcher throwing in the 9th will pile up saves".

And now they spend $106 million on shortstop Jose Reyes. Keep in mind, they are ALREADY spending $16 million a year at the shortstop position with Hanley Ramirez. You'd think they'd spend $106 million on a position that wasn't already expensively filled.

So the Marlins are winning off season headlines trying to get fannies in the seats of their new ballpark and getting season tickets sold. Whether or not they will be winning in the fall is another question. And these contracts will no doubt be clogging up their payroll for a while. (Kind of like Jason Bay, Johan Santana and David Wright are doing with the Mets.)

And oh yeah, the Marlins management is under scrutiny for underhanded financial dealings. Maybe not as big as Bernie Madoff, but its not a good way to emulate a big market club.

Meanwhile for years the Marlins were a team that big name players left. They constantly cut costs and dumped players and gave feeble nominal attempts to resign them.

Guess who that is now?
The Mets have an advantage that only the Yankees have. They play in New York. They have the biggest media market to feed from. They should have national exposure for their players. Instead they are a nickel and dime organization going nowhere in a hurry.

Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and now Reyes are all gone. And no doubt David Wright, Jason Bay and Johan Santana could be acquired for the right price.

Their payroll is going to be significantly lower next year and a lot of players are going to be on the Mets next year who would normally be in AAA. (Sound familiar Marlin fans.)

Of course the Marlins would have DEALT Reyes at the trading deadline and piled up some prospects. But who knows? Maybe the draft picks will yield the next big Mets star. (Although it would have seemed smarter to get a big league ready prospect.)

Maybe a youth movement is exactly what the Mets needs.
Have low expectations and play all the young kids and they might build on the franchise's two total World Series titles.

That's the same amount of titles as the Marlins!

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