Fresh off their wildly successful 2008 seasons, both the Mets and Yankees rewarded their respective general managers with sweet new contracts to head into this crucial off-season with lots and lots of job security. But even though we’re currently in the off-season’s quiet period, where free agents can’t be signed — some other teams like to call this time the “playoffs” — both Omar Minaya and Brian Cashman are giving slight indications of what’s coming up.
What’s coming up, naturally, is lots of money. But Cashman, for one, wants fans to curb whatever enthusiasm they may still be clinging to. So while he's widely expected to offer a monster contract to pitcher CC Sabathia, one that will likely be in excess of $20 million plus all the candy he can eat, he had this to say: "As our fan base, I would not have high expectations on certain guys because, just because you put certain guys on the top of your list doesn't mean you're going to be on the top of their list."
Then there’s Minaya, who's a bit more optimistic, vowing to leave no stone unturned. But considering his team could benefit more by subtraction than addition, it can’t please Mets fans that even the most obvious changes might not happen. Luis Castillo, for example, may very well not be traded this winter, despite injuries, fan disapproval, and general underachievement. See, according to Minaya, “When they boo, they just want you to do good because they are so passionate about baseball." He left out the obvious part about them never stopping the booing if you never actually get better. And though Minaya says money isn’t an issue, there’s speculation that it sort of is, meaning good-bye to bringing in Francisco Rodriguez, hello to carrying "one or two or three [older] 'risk' guys."
So recalibrate your hopes, fans. This off-season may not go quite as well as you might imagine. But hey, lowering our expectations can only make the inevitable disappointment far easier to take. It’s a time-tested strategy, better known by its technical name, “being a Pirates fan.”