Minyana Closing in on Molina and Surveying Pitching Options
Are The Phils Unbeatable Now?

Mets Offer Contracts to Molina And Bay But What About Lackey?

The New York Mets have made initial contract offers to both Bengie Molina and Jason Bay but it makes you stop and think whether the Bay offer is an attempt to gauge the true interest that John Lackey has in pitching at CitiField.

Signing Molina is a no-brainer because he will help a Met pitching staff get better with his superior ability to manage the game from behind the plate and he will also provide a little offense in the lower part of the team's batting order--which was severely lacking a year ago. The offer to Bay is a bit confounding and you really start to wonder if this serves a few purposes. First of all to float an offer to Bay in the wake of Scott Boras' comments about the Mets might hurt the chances of his client, Matt Holliday, getting the Mark Teixiera-type money he desires as the Mets might of actually set the market for the leftfield position with this initial offer.

More importantly, this may indirectly gives Omar Minaya a true indication on whether John Lackey wants to pitch in New York or if he intends to use the New York suitors to increase the contract offer he may get from the incumbent Angels. It is clear that the Mets have adjusted their budget in wake of the insane money given to both Brad Penney and Randy Wolf but the question remains how much they have adjusted it.

My sense is there is enough Wilpon money in the new budget to sign either Lackey OR Bay but it is hard to believe they could sign them both and I would think Lackey's agent, Steve Hilliard knows that as well. That being said, I would think the Met braintrust would rather rope in Lackey since they have made starting pitching their top priority this winter. And so that leads me to believe that this offer may be designed to gently nudge the Lackey camp to come clean with their client's true feelings about pitching in the Big Apple.

Once Omar finds that out for sure, he can make a firm offer to Lackey in the 5 year $90 million dollar range which would be a bit higher than the contract the Yankees offered AJ Burnett a season ago.


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