Omar Minaya is Stealing Christmas

Another target signs elsewhere

Let's get this out of the way up front: Jason Marquis isn't a world beater. Signing him would not vault the Mets to the top of the list of World Series contenders. Despite the regal nature of his name, Marquis is a salt of the Earth type who earns his money by being solid and unspectacular. 190 or 200 innings of slightly above average work for teams that have made the playoffs in every one of his 10 big league seasons.

That last bit is an entertaining quirk, but the other stuff should make him quite appealing to the Mets. Unspectacular though he may be, Marquis is still better than anyone on the Mets staff who isn't named Johan Santana and his presence would undoubtedly make the Mets a better team in the coming season. On top of that, Marquis is from Staten Island and did everything short of fly a banner from the Verrazano to let the world know that he wanted to pitch for the Mets.

Despite all of that, the only time Marquis will be at Citi Field next season will be when the Washington Nationals come to town for a visit. He signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Nats, a price tag that must have been the issue that kept Omar Minaya from adding a player who was begging to come to the Mets. That's something to think about while Jason Bay and Bengie Molina are waiting for MLB to expand so they have options other than the Amazins to call their home next season.  

Like it or not, decent pitching costs money. Heck, bad pitching costs money. Minaya learned that last year when he passed on signing good pitchers in favor of spending $12 million a season on Oliver Perez. But a solid, veteran pitcher is going to cost the Mets and it is impossible to figure out why the team thinks that they don't need one.

It's not really the lack of Marquis that's the issue with the Mets. It's the lack of anything to show that they've got a real plan of action for this offseason. Quibble with the moves made in the Bronx, Boston, Philly and even Seattle if you like, but those teams know what they want and they find ways to make it happen. The Mets sign Alex Cora to a $2 million contract and then sit on their hands.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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