The Mets Finally Dodge a Bullet - NBC New York

The Mets Finally Dodge a Bullet

Molina won't be a Met, but Sheets might come to Queens

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    Tuesday was shaping up to be one of those days for the Mets. Morning broke with Peter Gammons reporting that the Red Sox reneged on a four-year offer to Jason Bay because their team doctors had concerns over what MRIs of his knees showed when they were taken last summer. That caused them to drop their offer to two years with two more years contingent on his continued health.  

    Good doctors can and will disagree on diagnoses, but recent history makes you a bit dubious when it is the Mets physicians giving a clean bill of health for the next five years. You can almost see the awkward Omar Minaya press conference in the distance, but the Bay report was quickly forgotten as the day unfolded to become one of the best days of the offseason for the Mets.

    Bengie Molina, the mediocre catcher that the Mets pursued as if he possessed the formula for cold fusion, decided to re-sign with the Giants instead of coming to the Mets. He made that choice even though his one-year, $4.5 million contract paid him less money and came without the vesting option that the Mets were offering. Normally a player choosing to play somewhere else for less comes as a negative, but not this time.

    Molina is a glacially slow 35-year-old who isn't very good defensively. Whatever power he brings at the plate could potentially be missed, but it is hard to see how the Mets are really worse off without having him on the team for the next two years (Based on Bay's contract, we're assuming that vesting option won't be hard to reach). They could sign Yorvit Torrealba or just go with Henry Blanco and Omir Santos, although the latter choice would certainly be met with disgust by the portion of the audience that demands a "name" player at every position.

    Not signing Molina means there's money to spend elsewhere and the Mets may have seen the man to use it for on Tuesday. Ben Sheets, the oft-injured and much talented righthander, held a throwing session for several teams and reports have him looking very good indeed. The Mets need a good starting pitcher a lot more than they need a crummy catcher, and Sheet's injury history means he'll be signing an incentive-heavy contract that will either be a win-win or a low-cost losing gamble.

    It seems odd that everything listed above could happen on a day that was significantly better than most other ones this offseason, but that's the way they roll in Queens.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.