Even though he’s moved on from ESPN, Steve Phillips is still doing the goofy “pretend I’m a real-life GM” thing. Only now he’s not at a podium taking scripted questions from fake press, he’s sitting in front of a bookshelf talking to a webcam and showing a healthy dose of bare chest. The big reveal, of course, is that Steve Phillips owns books.
To his credit, Phillips’ objective is to fix the Mets for 2011 and not necessarily beyond. But the two major pillars of his offseason plan are trading Ike Davis for Prince Fielder and shelling out for Cliff Lee. Coincidentally, I have specifically argued against both of those moves in this space.
Both moves would inarguably make the Mets a better team in 2011. But Fielder is slated to be a free agent after 2011 and will require a hefty long-term contract extension to stick around, whereas Davis will be inexpensive and under team control until the latter part of this decade. Lee is awesome, but he is a 32-year-old pitcher likely to command a massive paycheck that could ultimately hamstring a team. Also, given what we know about the Mets’ payroll commitments for 2011 and their lack of flexibility, signing him seems completely infeasible.
In other words, Phillips’ plan to fix the Mets seems a lot like a reasonable way to further break the Mets. Yes, adding Prince Fielder and Cliff Lee (and Orlando Hudson) would make just about any team a lot more likely to contend in the short term. But it is the GM’s job to consider the future as well.
Really, there’s an almost stunning lack of insight in the video, considering Phillips is an actual former Major League GM. Every decision he suggests has been beaten inside out in the comments section of every Mets blog, and he appears to approach the team’s needs in terms of labels — No. 1 starter, “true cleanup hitter.”
At least he’s willing to keep Carlos Beltran around, though, despite his wholesale lack of “game-winning plays” and tendency to “lock up in a critical situation.”