Reliever Grant Balfour has returned to the Tampa Bay Rays on a two year $12 million deal. Why do we care? We care because according to Ken Rosenthal, the Mets, out of nowhere, made an offer to Balfour that was reportedly better than what the Rays are going to wind up paying him. A Mets official took time out from trashing former Mets for various indiscretions to deny this report.
Since Balfour's deal with the Orioles fell through, I've often wondered if it would make sense for the Mets to go after Balfour. I actually did this yesterday to distract me from the fact that I was outside in 11 degree weather buying lunch. The answer always came back "no", but only because the Mets have more pressing needs elsewhere. Balfour would have taken a halfway decent bullpen and made it very good … although with injury concerns with Balfour's wrist (if you believe the Orioles) and Parnell's neck.
But the Mets apparently went for it. If you're a Mets fan, this is actually encouraging news. If you're Stephen Drew, you're thinking "damn, I thought they weren't going after me because they had no money … maybe they're not going after me because they don't like me." If he's thinking that, he might be right. And this makes changes the fulcrum of the organization from "do they not have money" and "why are they so cheap" to "are they spending their money wisely" … by going after players that wouldn't necessarily fill huge, gaping holes but would fill lesser holes.
(I suddenly want a doughnut.)
But good for the Mets, I guess. If the Mets' ninth inning was available, and if New York was closer to Clearwater and didn't have state income taxes, perhaps the Mets get this done. (Now they know how we feel when we constantly get told "If everybody has a career season the Mets could be the road team in a 5 vs. 6 wild card game). So now, no matter how many times a Mets official might dispute this report, we know the Mets have a little more money. So the question now becomes this: Why not a stick? If not Drew, then trade all the first basemen for some seeds to plant the trees to replace the ones that Chipper Jones burned down, and go get a first baseman somehow? Perhaps it's because the Mets are afraid of screwing that situation up even further because they can't keep their mouths shut?
The excuses are dwindling. This isn't a bad thing.