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Maybe Flushing is Beirut

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why it took Jason Bay so long to finally sign on the dotted line with the New York Mets.

It had been known for about a month that they clearly had the best offer on the table. Peter Gammons even went as far as to say that Bay would rather play in Beirut than play in Flushing.

Regardless of what Bay may have said when he was finally introduced well over a month after the offer was tendered, the only reason it took Bay so long to put pen to paper with the Mets was that he was hoping anyone - be it the Washington Nationals or the Hanshin Tigers - would come close to the offer that they were making.

Of course, Bay put a nice little spin on things when he was finally introduced with the Mets. He denied the Gammons comments and stated that the Mets were always at the top of his list.

Perhaps Bay was telling the truth, but judging by the way things have gone for the Mets this offseason, I tend to agree with Gammons. And unfortunately for the Amazins, it does not appear to be an isolated incident, as it seems each and every one of their potential free agent targets would rather play anywhere else on the planet than at Citi Field next season.


Jason Bay was hoping that anyone would come close to the offer that the Mets were making.
You name them, they have all turned down the Mets. Joel Pineiro, Ben Sheets, Jon Garland, Bengie Molina, it doesn't matter. Things are so bad at this point that signing 42-year-old John Smoltz is being viewed as a good thing.

I think Mets general manager Omar Minaya can probably kiss his chances at winning Executive of the Year goodbye at this point. Unfortunately that is what happens when your offseason consists of overpaying for a backup infielder and the likes of Clint Everts, Kelvim Escobar, R.A. Dickey, Elmer Dessens, Ryota Iragashi and possibly a washed-up Smoltz.

For the record, there is no way Smoltz signing with the Mets works out, right? I mean why stop at Smoltz? Bring Tom Glavine back while you are at it. Supposedly he still thinks he can pitch.

There are not many people who have had a worse couple of months than Minaya. The Mets clearly went into this offseason with a few goals. Add an OF, get some pitching help for Johan Santana, sign a veteran catcher, and bring in a first baseman.

Well, they have struck out on all but one of those fronts. And let's be honest, it was by default that they landed Bay. They have to add another pitcher via trade, be it Gil Meche, or Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang. The Mets need another arm, and Smoltz is not the answer.

Plus, let's not forget the whole Carlos Beltran fiasco. Depending on who you believe Beltran had knee surgery without the team knowing and will be lost for at least the first month of the season.

Can you really blame Beltran for not wanting to take a chance with the Mets' team doctors. Keep in mind this is a staff that had players flying cross- country while concussed.

From that perspective, is it really a surprise that players don't want to play for the Mets?

A'S MAKE BOLD, BUT RIGHT MOVE WITH SHEETS

I love the Oakland A's signing of Ben Sheets. Sure $10 million is an awful lot for a guy who did not pitch last season, but he has ace stuff when healthy. Plus it is only for one year.

Not to mention Major League Baseball will likely get off Oakland's back for not spending any money. The league seems intent on cracking down on teams for not putting the revenue money they receive back into the club. With Sheets getting $10 million, you can cross the A's off that list.

Speaking of that, I read an article over the weekend in which Pirates owner Robert Nutting stated that one day he hopes to spend the way Milwaukee and Cincinnati do. Wow! Big expectations. Things don't seem to be getting any better in the Steel City any time soon.

Sheets, though, was a no-brainer. Combine him with another one-year signee who did not pitch last season in Justin Duchscherer, and blend them with youngsters like Brian Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Dallas Braden, and you have yourself a pretty decent staff.

Don't be shocked if the A's are right in the thick of things in the West this season. Then again, don't be shocked if Billy Beane is shopping Sheets to teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox in exchange for prospects at the trade deadline.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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