The New York Mets are over two days removed from losing their star shortstop Jose Reyes to the Miami Marlins for six years and $106 million. Upon speaking to reporters the following day, general manager Sandy Alderson admitted that the franchise lost $70 million last season and that the team would have around $15 million to spend this offseason.
It's a bit confounding, then, as to why the Mets would be linked to one of the better free-agent -- top-three, at least -- starting pitchers on the market, Mark Buehrle. The southpaw is expected to land a deal that would pay him in in the mid-$10 million range, for at least three or four seasons. Buehrle will also be 33 years old on Opening Day.
Nevertheless, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported earlier Tuesday (citing an industry source) that the Mets "are one of five teams" on Buehrle's "list of finalists." Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman backed up the report, tweeting: "Mets are in on Buehrle. He is a very popular pitcher. Mets do have spending $ now."
Still, it all doesn't add up: the left-hander would conceivably fill the Mets' entire offseason budget.
The general manger refuted the notion that the Mets would be in play for the top pitchers this winter, lefties Buehrle and C.J. Wilson, saying, according to Metsblog.com:
"We could be, if we decided to pile all our money up and move it to one share. But, I don't think we're going to do that. The other things that's involved here is not just the amount of money involved for 2012; it's the obligation we would incur going forward. For us to say ‘we want payroll flexibility' and then to turn around and sign someone for a three or four year deal would probably not be consistent with what we're trying to achieve."
There's no doubt that Buehrle would be a nice addition to the rotation. You can never go wrong with rotation depth. But, the Mets are not in the position to add mid-rotation fillers. Buehrle does not make them that much better in a very tough division and doesn't seem like money well spent. Besides, half of the league would want a reliable, workhorse like Buehrle. New York could not compete with other teams financially at this point, anyway. Only time will tell if the general manager is bluffing or if the Amazin's were really never in play.