Sandy Alderson has not yet arrived at the General Managers meetings in Indian Hills, California – his flight was delayed out of New York, but he is en route and is expected to arrive late tonight, according to the Daily News’ Andy Martino.
As such, Assistant GM John Ricco spoke with reporters from the meetings and, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, said it was the Mets who approached Jason Bay about buying out his contract.
As far as short-term financial flexibility is concerned, Ricco said the buyout will grant them some payroll space in 2013, although not to a great extent – rather, the decision to part ways with Bay ends the speculation and avoids a similar scenario to that with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo during Spring Training in 2010.
“I think it’s safe to say it will help us [with payroll flexibility], but to the extent? I can’t really say,” Ricco said, according to Rubin. “But what it does do obviously is it clears up a situation . … in terms of there’s no lingering doubt as to, ‘Is he going to come back, is he going to be the player he used to be?’ We have some certainty that he’s moved on. Now we know what we need to do and we know who we have, and we’ll have to address that moving forward.”
In regards to extension talks with David Wright, Ricco said discussions were on-going, but couldn’t predict when a deal might get done.
Ricco said Wright’s contract situation is independent of R.A. Dickey’s contract situation, but they are negotiating with both of them at the same time.
“They each have their own timetable and neither one is dependent on the other, so one could happen and the other one might not happen, or they could happen at the same time,” Ricco explained.
Ricco wasn’t sure if Alderson had reached out to the agents for Scott Hairston yet, but noted they haven’t narrowed their list of outfield candidates down yet.
However, Ricco said they intend to bring more balance to the lineup by injecting right-handed hitters into the outfield.
“Certainly we’re going to be looking for some right-handed help. We were thin from the right side with Jason, and we’re heavy left-handed, so we’re going to need some right-handed help,” Ricco said.
Michael Baron, ContributorRicco brings up an interesting point about Bay. We all knew this had to happen, and I certainly never bought the team’s declaration they were going to bring Bay back next year. But that they ended the speculation, ended the discussion and created certainty in his future with the team now as opposed to letting this drag out through Spring Training was crucially important. Especially as they explore ways to improve the roster and in the outfield in particular.
The same is true for both Wright’s and Dickey’s situation. As they did with Bay, they need to move quickly with these situations and come to some sort of conclusion sooner rather than later. It would end the speculation and uncertainty which would undoubtedly surround them and the team; things they really do not need to experience after the situation with Jose Reyes in 2011. It would also go a long way towards changing both the tone and the perception of the franchise from the fans, and show them and the game they have the ability to invest and are in position and want to improve the big league roster.
For more quotes from Ricco, check out ESPN New York.