The Mets made it no secret heading into the 2015 Winter Meetings that they coveted second baseman Ben Zobrist over incumbent Daniel Murphy, and leave it to the Mets to lose out on their main offseason target. When we look back at this move, it will be an example of why the Mets are not willing to spend money and prospects, while the Yankees are very willing to do so, even when money is tight.
Zobrist and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a four-year deal worth $56 million. Zobrist will receive $2 million upfront and a $10 million salary for the 2016 season. The Mets had been rumored to be in discussion for a three year deal, some contradictory reports even said they were both willing and unwilling to go to a fourth year to get the deal done.
While Mets Assistant GM said that the Mets bid to sign Zobrist was close to what he got from Chicago, the reason behind Zobrist's decision rests with his comfort level with Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager. Zobrist played for Maddon during his days in Tampa Bay. So once again Maddon gets one up on the Mets.
Regardless how the Mets try to spin this, it is a major disappointment. They focused in on Zobrist and failed to bring him in. Now they have really no choice but to mend fences with Daniel Murphy and come to terms with him on a long term deal.
That means the Mets might be stuck with Dilson Herrera at second base. That may not be a bad thing, especially if he lives up to the lofty expectations and praise that has been put on him by the Mets.
The Mets have made it be known that they will not spend money to improve, which is a total oxymoron for any franchise that goes to a World Series. While the Mets will pound their chest and say it worked last time, let's get real, the Mets were 1) lucky Washington tanked in the middle of last season, and 2) needed to get Yoenis Cespedes in town before they ever started competing seriously.
Meanwhile, the Mets loss is the Yankees gain. Why? With Zobrist signing in Chicago it made second baseman Starlin Castro available, and the Cubs traded him to the Bronx in exchange for mediocre pitcher Adam Warren and prospect Brendon Ryan. In short an absolute steal.
Castro is only 26 years old, and will command only $7.1 million this season, and is signed through 2019 at a salary of $41.6 million. For a franchise that has been strapped for cash of late, this is a huge bargain for a very good player, who is a three-time All Star.
Castro is a lifetime .281 hitter with 62 homers and 300+ RBI. He can hit at the top of the order or down in the middle of it, and would be a great compliment with Didi Gregarious in the middle of the infield. Yankees fans can comfortably say good bye to Stephen Drew, who drew the ire of Yankee fans throughout the 2015 season, becoming the baseball equivalent of Mark Sanchez.
As for Castro he hasn't hit more than 14 homers and driven in 78 in a season, that will surely change in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium II which is basically Coors Field East.
So as the say in the trade on 1010 wins during sports updates: Yankees win, Mets lose. That is indeed the case here, as the Mets once again are left wondering what could have been.