And they seem on the same path this season. It couldn't be any more obvious that Johan Santana is not a guarantee for opening day, but I guess the Mets feel differently. Alderson stated something along the lines of "we are waiting for the prices on some players to come down" and that he is looking forward to that period of time. The prices have come down lower than what anybody could imagine, yet the Mets seem content with the depth that they have.
Pitchers Jeff Francis and Zach Duke have just signed minor league contracts and can be released in spring training if the Reds and Astros, respectively, do not need them. Juan Pierre, who I was not an advocate for, signed a minor league deal with the Phillies under the same conditions. Brad Lidge going to Washington for an Alderson contract (1 year, $1 million) is the biggest indication that the market has gone down.
But the Mets signed Matt Tuiasosopo to a minor league contract yesterday at around the same time the San Francisco Giants added INF Ryan Theriot to a non-guaranteed contract. Theriot signed for one year and $1.25 million, but could be cut in spring training and the Giants would only have to pay 1/6th of his salary. That balance of $208,333 is less than half of a minimum major league salary, something the average major league team wastes several times each season regardless of what kind of budget they are on.
To me, that is proof that is has nothing to do with dollars. Any player that the Mets either cut or DFA during the season that has spent one day on the 25 man roster will be guaranteed at least the league's minimum salary. If another team doesn't pick them up, the Mets are on the hook for whatever they were due to make. Every team will go through that more than once during the season.
Its not even worth mentioning Theriot's stats, which would obviously fit just fine on the Mets bench. Now that it was affordable, what's the excuse? I find it hard to believe that no free agent wants to play for the Mets. Maybe there will be some low key signings as the team gets closer to spring training. Right now, the depth of this team is terrible and, as usual, the Mets are one injury away from starting non major leaguers that belong in the minors. And Fred Wilpon wants the fans to give this team a chance.