While the Mets were frittering away another shot at the playoffs this September no part of their team came under more fire than the bullpen. Once Billy Wagner went down to an injury, closing games in Flushing became a thrill ride worthy of the world's finest amusement park. Unlike most theme park rides, however, most trips to the bullpen ended up in loss and depression. That rarely happens at Six Flags.
Naturally, then, it was assumed the Mets would be big bidders for Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod set a record for saes this season and is the top closer on the free agent market. Sure, the Angels never put him in any particularly difficult spots. Not in the regular season, anyway, but you might remember him blowing a game against the Red Sox a couple of weeks ago. At any rate, Rodriguez is going to cost too much for the three outs he's capable of recording for a team. Especially when you're still paying Billy Wagner $13 million to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
That's why it was refreshing to read Joel Sherman's column in the Post this morning which says the Mets are focused on Brian Fuentes of Colorado instead of Rodriguez. Although he won't come cheap, he'll cost less than Rodriguez and give the team a lefty capable of getting both sides out. His splits have also been better on the road, which makes it seem leaving Denver could push him to even greater heights.
It's harder to rationalize what Sherman reports the Mets are doing in the rotation. Johan Santana is the team's only reliable starter but Sherman says the Mets are targeting Derek Lowe as their top priority on the open market. Why not CC Sabathia? Yes, he's pricey and, yes, he may want to stay on the West Coast but why not shoot for him with Lowe as a fallback?
A new stadium, a hungry fanbase and your own cable network equals cash. Pitch him on forming the best 1-2 punch in baseball, stealing the thunder away from the Yankees and doing for the Mets what he did for the Brewers this year. If he doesn't bite, you gave it your best shot and fall back to Lowe but the Mets need Sabathia as much as any team in baseball.