Just Let It Sink In
According to MLB.com, the deal will pay Lee $11 million in 2007 (plus a $3 million signing bonus), $12 million in 2008, and $18.5 million for each of the last four seasons. The contract runs through the 2012 season.
$18.5 million in EACH of the last four years and over $15 million in average salary annually. This is flat out the craziest off-season I have ever seen. Never have I seen so much money go to non-top tier players, but I have never seen just about every top player off the market by December. I use the term 'top player' loosely though. It is an interesting time in baseball and with the Cubs now looking at Vincente Padilla and the always surprisingly competitive Astros who continuously lack offense picking up a big time run producer, it is clear that the National League is a bit more competitive in terms of teams that could have stepped up their overall level of play significantly.
The early returns seem to be that the Phillies, Astros (if they bring back Clemens and maybe make another move or two), and the Cubs may indeed be the Mets biggest threats next season, but the Mets are not done. If Omar does succeed in tweaking the rotation to add a stud, you have to still believe the Mets are still in a class of their own. I just thank the baseball gods that the Mets are not the ones laying out contracts that are plainly going to strap their organizations in the not so distant futures. While some teams do seem to be operating in the short term, Omar is staying the course and looking at the long term when considering his options to improve this current Mets team. We should all be thankful for that and be confident Omar will do the right thing this off-season.