"The reason we haven't spent the money is not because of Fred Wilpon. It's because of me." -Sandy Alderson
Well, that's a fine sentiment. And I'm sure the Wilpons appreciate that GM Sandy Alderson is willing to stand in front of the season ticket holders and take the bullet for them. Not that I believe it for a second. Because I'd buy it if the decision revolved around big free agents like Michael Bourn, who would cost a draft pick (maybe), or a guy like Nick Swisher, who frankly isn't worth the money.
But when Sandy goes out and signs Pedro Feliciano, who hasn't pitched in two years, to a minor league deal, then signs serviceable yet injury prone 37-year-old Scott Atchison to a minor league deal, and now 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal … all while Jon Rauch sits at home wondering what the hell he ever did wrong (unless he just plain doesn't want to come back, who knows) … how the hell am I supposed to believe that the buck stops with Sandy? How am I supposed to believe that something else (finance) isn't at play here? Because well, here we go again with the Bargain Bin Bullpen Brigade … throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping one of those strands doesn't wind up throwing meatballs all over the place. It's a "strategy" we've seen for years here. Many of your more prominent life style magazines say that Feliciano, Atchison, and Hawkins are merely the new Carrasco, Acosta, and Buchholz. Different law firm, same late inning fear.
Hawkins' upside is that he could be some sort of player/coach, passing knowledge to, and helping out the young pitchers whenever possible. Miguel Batista was thought to be that too. His lessons were more "See what I did there? Yeah, don't do that." Rauch actually had some usefulness last season and pulled together a very good season overall. But here's the rub, once a guy comes out of the bargain bin and is productive, he's immediately out of the Mets price range (see: Capuano, Chris). So Rauch is seemingly gone, but we're stuck with Frank Francisco another season. Seems about right for this part of the world, no?