There's a school of thought that the Mets need to make a big free agent splash in order to placate their fan base and keep churning dollars through Citi Field.
While that's probably a good summary of the mindset of some potential ticket buyers, it doesn't make for all that compelling an argument to throw too much money at a guy like Jason Bay. He's a nice player, but not without his flaws and a serious case could be made for making smaller moves that strengthen the core and put the Mets on course for contention.
Omar Minaya might take some heat if he stood up and said that he thought the return to health of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez and Johan Santana would be bigger than any free agent acquisition. He might take a hit on WFAN or in the Post, but it's a totally defensible point of view if he married the idea to signings of second-tier free agents who will help in the short term and the long-term financial benefits of avoiding big contracts for players already at or starting to decline from their peak years.
The problem is that the Mets don't really appear to be doing anything. They made sure the whole world knew that they made offers to Bay and Bengie Molina, but then there was no follow-up and no way to know if the offers were serious or merely PR ploys to get people to send in their ticket deposits before December deadlines. Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't, but the message is the same either way.
From the standpoint of a baseball lover, it's hard not to like the Dickey signing. He's a knuckleballer, and the world is always a little brighter when one of those goofy hurlers is on the mound flinging thier rotation-less floaters toward batters. Sometimes they make batters look foolish and sometimes Aaron Boone blasts one into the upper decks, but it's always entertaining.
Let's put fun aside for a moment, though, and focus on the fact that Dickey does nothing to make this team better in 2010. That, in turn, shines a bright spotlight on the perceived inability of the Mets to make any moves that actually serve to accomplish that task.
That's not what they want to be telling their public right now, no matter what their larger plan for the offseason might be.