The Mets made an offer to the free agent closer before he ultimately signed a 2 year deal worth $12 million dollars with the Tampa Bay Rays. Sources have said the Mets offered the 36 year old right-hander an identical contract, with Balfour citing Tampa’s proximity to his home as the determining factor.
Usually the consensus opinion amongst outsiders is that the Mets fail to land the players they covet because they are unwilling to pay them the salary that other teams are. This is not the case in the Balfour situation. This is much worse, and much harder to swallow for Mets fans; a pitcher would rather go to the American League East to do his work than come to the Mets. He would rather pitch in front of crowds at at Tropicana Field, a place that routinely feels like an away game against the Yankees and Red Sox, than toe the rubber in Orange and Blue.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.; not in this city. Players are supposed to be drawn to the allure of the big city, they’re supposed to be enamored with the prospect of becoming a fan favorite under the brightest lights, becoming a hero in the Big Apple should be every players dream. Heck, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere, right? Apparently not.
The Mets inabilty to dole out $100 million+ contracts irks the fanbase. It’s understandable when a player chooses another major market team over the Mets; but to not be able to draw a player to New York over Tampa? That’s embarrassing. This is a new low, even for the Mets.