- tkfj says:
Consensus is the move made no sense, no surprise. Lets move on to the next botched move Omar.
I spent all day yesterday responding to things like this, so before I agree with you TKFJ and move on to the next botched move, I’m going to one last time lay it out the way I see it.Â I am not asking you or anyone else to agree with my perspective, I do it simply to dispute the notion that “consensus is the move made no sense” because I consider that to be a false statement.
Yesterday Mr. North Jersey, who has made his disdain for Omar in general and this move in specific well known, published a series of links to Met-specific blogs and their reactions to the trade.Â There was hardly a consensus to be found in those.Â So even someone with strong negative feelings about the trade was able to find, accept the existence of and publish links to people with opinions that did not jive with his own.
There is a cottage industry in the blogosphere built around The Contest. What The Contest involves is a essentially a running commentary by those who know better about New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya and Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore, and how long either can abstain from making a bad move, and how long after one does the other will be unable to resist topping him.Â You can read more about The Contest here.Â It is certainly a ripoff of the plot of an episode of Seinfeld, ironically a Met fan, and a man who has a greater sense of humor in one drop of his perspiration than a roomful of sabermetricians.Â It is my opinion that in an effort to extrude fun from this contest, the reaction to an otherwise run-of-the-mill, unspectacular, uninteresting player move has gone berserk.Â But I digress.
I personally feel that prior to this trade the Mets had depth issues with the center field position.Â You can believe or not that the Mets had bullpen depth.Â I believe they did but I respect your right to disagree.Â I think that trying to assemble a Major League bullpen of 7 guys from a pool of Frankie Rodriguez, Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano, Ryota Igarashi, Nelson Figueroa, Pat Misch, Eddie Kunz, Tobi Stoner, Jack Egbert, Bobby Parnell, Kelvim Escobar, Clint Everts, Arturo Lopez, Jay Marshall, R. A. Dickey and Fernando Nieve is a task that can be accomplished with or without throwing Brian Stokes into the mix.Â If anyone feels that Stokes separated himself from this group in any real, positive way, well let’s just say I respectfully disagree.Â In that context I consider Stokes expendable.
Now back to the issue of center field depth.Â One may in my view rightly complain that the Mets non-tendered Cory Sullivan and Jeremy Reed.Â They are both useful reserve outfielders capable of playing center field.Â I do not dispute that.Â But the fact remains that when they were non-tendered, Carlos Beltran was the healthy starting center fielder for the New York Mets, Angel Pagan was his back up, and Fernando Martinez was the third option.Â Currently there is no fourth option that I am aware of unless one is particularly enamored with Jesus Feliciano.
You may disagree with this notion as well but I believe the Mets are best served by having Martinez play every day in AAA, proving that he can stay healthy and perform against that level of competition.Â It would be hard for anyone to deny that he was over-matched in 2009 against Major League competition.Â So it would seem best for all parties if Martinez is not once again summoned to the Majors prematurely due to injuries.
After the likes of Reed and Sullivan were given their walking papers, lo and behold, a Met player had a health setback.Â Right around the same time Beltran’s knee surgery and the bizarre circumstances surrounding it were unfolding, those same two players were signing contracts with other organizations.Â Â Thus a sudden unforeseen opening for depth on the roster and the last two guys who filled it were otherwise employed.
So what is Omar Minaya, the laughingstock GM of the laughingstock New York Mets supposed to do?Â Perhaps sign an available free agent, you say.Â Why of course, why didn’t Omar The Fool think of that?Â Perhaps he did.Â Perhaps he also noticed that he’s had a little difficulty attracting free agents recently.Â Bengie Molina took less money and no option for a second year and stayed away.Â Joel Pineiro took slightly more money and didn’t bother to consider that the Mets might have simply made an opening offer and been willing to increase it.Â Since the Beltran fiasco, merely the latest fiasco in a string of fiascos, the Mets have an image problem.Â Proponents of The Contest should be well aware of that.Â Try attracting a person capable of providing marginal performance in center field on what appears to be a rather temporary basis (assuming Beltran’s healthy return, whoever fills the role will be immediately demoted to 5th OF at best).
So having a job opening for a 4th OF job that, should things go well for a change, will quickly turn into that of 5th OF, I can imagine Omar glanced at the list of available free agents.Â Surely at least an office intern did this for him.Â Even his greatest detractors must admit that he is probably at least peripherally aware that Reed Johnson is without employment.Â Maybe Reed would agree to come to the Mets, team turmoil, for the fair market value of a 5th OF?Â Maybe Randy Winn might?Â Rocco Baldelli?Â Ryan Freel?Â If other recent free agents recently spurned fair market value offers from the Mets for jobs that actually involved playing time, why would any of these fellows come here to sit on their asses for 5th OF prices?Â They might just risk the mortal injury that often seems to come with playing for the Mets, but surely they’d require a premium for doing so.Â That would be wasteful spending, something we often criticize Minaya for.Â Suddenly we are begging him to do it for a 5th OF?Â Are the same people who wailed and moaned about $2 million for Alex Cora seriously now requesting that Omar shell out that kind of money again for another reserve player?
Maybe Alfredo Amezaga or Endy Chavez would dare to take on such a task.Â Personally I think Chavez would.Â He might actually be the only professional baseball player on earth who has some positive feelings about playing in a reserve OF role with the Mets.Â Alas, he is injured and will not be ready when needed.Â Neither is Amezaga expected to be ready, so he’s out.
So Minaya, faced with the need for a 5th OF capable of minimal performance in CF for what is hopefully a temporary period between a potential injury to Pagan and the return of Beltran made a couple of wise (gasp!) decisions.Â He decided to make efforts to keep Martinez in the minor leagues where he belongs, and he decided not to pay more than should otherwise be necessary for the services of a 5th OF.Â He pulled out his bullpen depth chart and determined that he could spare one of sixteen guys, one who didn’t particularly distinguish himself from the others, certainly not enough to merit the number of exclamations of horror that have permeated the blogosphere in the last 24 hours.
Another fear widely noted has been that which suggests that Matthews Jr. is a clubhouse cancer and that surely he will make demands to start and in doing so disrupt the fragile child-like psyche of the Met roster.Â I cannot dispute that Matthews Jr. may cause some turmoil.Â He may very well make some demands.Â He has stated for the record that he wanted out of Los Angeles because he wanted the opportunity to start.Â Little Sarge needs to wake up and smell the coffee.Â He’s in no position to make any demands.Â And thankfully the Angels wanted to rid themselves of him so much they sent along $21.5 million dollars, meaning the Mets only owe him the fair market salary of a 5th OF.Â If he proves to be a disruptive influence with demands to start, much like so many feared that another Gary, Gary Sheffield, would do last year, he is easily cut with little financial loss.Â This is win-win for the Mets.Â They take a chance that a veteran major leaguer, if lots of other things go wrong, can play a little bit for them, and acquire him by finding one of sixteen guys in a pool of bullpen candidates to send away for him.Â Classic change of scenery deal we’ve all witnessed countless times before, with an easy out should it not work.
Instead of being praised for (finally) making a wise decision, Omar Minaya is drawn and quartered by those who know better. All for the sake of a few laughs at another chapter in The Contest.