Overpaying as a strategy
Well the Mets got their man... a 7 year, $150m + contract will do that it seems.
3 years ago, the Mets overpaid for Pedro , which was justified by the Mets organization because Pedro made the Mets "serious" to other free agents in the market... the Mets seem to believe that it worked - I seem to remember that Beltran made noises that Pedro helped sway his mind (although he only came out with that after his agent was rumored to have offered the Yankees a discount) and I think Delgado made similar noises, although after a .258 / .333 / .448 line in 2007 for $14.5m, maybe the Mets would rather he hadn't.
So 4 years later - I think the Mets have overpaid again.
They traded away four prospects to obtain the opportunity to pay Santana as much as he would have gotten in the free market, and included a signing bonus to make sure he doesn't feel underpaid this year. The only argument against this is that he might have gotten marginally more in free agency next year - which is a maybe, if he had a fully healthy, no question mark year in 2008, but don't the Mets prospects outweigh that additional $x a year?
Will over-paying in 2008 have a better outcome than in 2005?