NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This is the kind of thing that has to drive the Mets fan crazy.
During the Mets’ spring training game against Atlanta on Sunday, Braves starter Kris Medlen was forced to leave with what was later determined to be a pretty serious elbow injury.
The Braves didn’t hesitate. They immediately went out and signed right-hander Ervin Santana, who was considered one of the better starters on the open market but had been biding his time for the right deal.
The move came as a shock to absolutely no one in the Mets’ dugout that day, especially manager Terry Collins.
“When we saw Medlen go down and then we saw (Brandon) Beachy was hurt, in our next coaches meeting, we said, ‘They’re going to be signing Ervin Santana,’” Collins said. “So I’m not shocked. What are you gonna do?”
If it seems like the Mets have been chasing the Braves forever, the signing of Santana for one year at $14.1 million doesn’t help, especially when the Mets sit in neutral despite needs of their own.
“No question about it,” Collins said. “What do you want me to say? It makes them a lot better. They were good before they lost those guys and now they just found another very good pitcher. You don’t spend that kind of money for a guy who’s not gonna help you.”
The Mets not increasing their reported $87 million payroll has been a point of contention with fans, media and, to a degree, the MLB Players’ Association, which on March 4 said it was monitoring “trends” with the club’s mid-market payroll.
And while it’s true the Mets did sign outfielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million deal, right-hander Bartolo Colon for two years and $20 million and outfielder Chris Young for one year and $7.25 million during the offseason, there are many who believe that’s simply not good enough due to the fact that the Mets play in New York and general manager Sandy Alderson reportedly stating that this team should be good enough to win 90 games this season.
Speaking of Alderson, when asked about the Braves’ smooth move with Santana in the context of the Mets being constantly linked to having interest in unsigned shortstop Stephen Drew, he told Newsday, “I don’t think it has any significant bearing on us,” adding, “You mean in terms of our shortstop situation? Were you going to ask that as the next question?”
That wasn’t the first time Alderson answered a question about Drew in that manner. When asked back in February by WFAN’s Mike Francesa if the veteran shortstop was a possibility, he said, “Could we sign Stephen Drew? Is that the question? I think the answer is yes under the right circumstances.”
Fans have to be wondering what the right circumstances are. Thanks to incumbent Ruben Tejada having a less-than-scintillating spring following a season in which he hit .202, the Mets have a glaring hole at one of the most important positions on the field.
And, apparently, the means to fix it.
Collins, for his part, is doing his best to defend what he has.
“You could say that, but we don’t think we have a hole at short,” Collins said. “We think (Tejada) is gonna be OK. We’ve just got to get him ready.”
The Mets have reportedly looked into trading for Seattle’s Nick Franklin and played Wilmer Flores at short during Tuesday’s exhibition game against St. Louis.
“I don’t worry about who we don’t have or who is sitting out there,” Collins said. “I worry about the guys who are here every day, who work to get ready to play.”
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