After the signings of Fogg and Catalanotto, one must admit that Omarâ€™s offseason has not been that bad at all.
Another front-line starting pitcher was the biggest need, but there was only one real number two available, and he apparently wanted to play in Boston. Canâ€™t blame Lackey; the Red Sox are a very well-run team and Boston is a great city.
There were no other aces or number twos available; that is why top of the rotation guys are so valuable: there are very, very few of them in captivity.
The team clearly needed a presence in LF, and Omar signed Jason Bay. Bay will hit, will steal a few bases, and no matter what folks say about his fielding, a player who committed one error and had 20 assists in 199 games in one of baseballâ€™s most difficult outfield positions simply is not that bad of a fielder.
Omar signed a very live Japanese arm, and brought in the all-upside reclamation project Escobar. And now we have signed Josh Fogg. A quick look at Foggâ€™s career screams that he is potentially the second coming of Darren Oliver. Oliver was absolutely horrible as a starter for years, as was Fogg, but when Oliver finally found his role as a middle relief specialist, he began to excel. Foggâ€™s excellent numbers against RH batters after moving to the pen in 2009 show that he very likely is on the same path.
Frank Catalanotto is a versatile player who has been well-liked and respected throughout his career, and in addition, he hits and gets on base. Catalanotto and Tatis are a potentially outstanding 1-2, lefty-righty pair to have on the bench.
Yes, we are relying far too heavily on the return to form of Pelf, Ollie, and Maine, but at this point, it looks as though Omar has filled the rest of the teamâ€™s holes in a potentially solid manner.
Players like Oliver, Bradford, Chavez, and Valentin were a large part of what made 2006 far different from 2007 and 2008. Catalanotto and the same performance by Fogg against righty bats could very well provide the nucleus for a vastly improved bench and back end of the pen.
The media is having a serious field day trashing the Mets. From national outlets to local writers, we have been flooded with stories about how no players want to come to Queens, how the organization is a total mess, and even that it is time to trade Johan for prospects.
First off, which players did not want to come here? We heard one story about Pineiro supposedly telling the Mets he was looking elsewhere, but this was after months of no team giving him much of anything in the way of serious offers. If this is true, we are lucky. Pineiro was terrible every year from 2004-2008, and has a career path eerily similar to Oliver Perez. Except that Pineiro is older and has had several more terrible years.
Did Jason Bay really dread coming to New York? He sure has not said anything to that effect, even remotely. Are we to trust Massachusetts native, longtime Boston Globe writer, and lifelong Red Sox fan Peter Gammonsâ€™ totally unsubstantiated claim?
During Hollidayâ€™s time in the wilderness, Scott Boras made a very public plea for the Mets to consider signing his client.
The very mediocre Jason Marquis seemed to dream of throwing his customarily bad 6 innings regularly in Queens.
Legendary clubhouse king and postseason hero Gritty McHudson apparently spends all of the time when he is not getting bottom of the 9th game-winning hits praying that the Mets show interest in him.
The Pirates. The Royals. The Orioles. These are terrible franchises which are in disarray. Franchises whose fans would probably give anything to trade places with the Mets, our talent, our payroll, and our record the last five years.
But shameless windbags like Rosenthal, Klapisch, the proprietor of the childish and inane â€œcontestâ€, and their ilk will not get nearly as many hits to their sites and readers of their stories were they to accurately chronicle the woes of truly terrible franchises. So they go the easy route, and write spectacularly ridiculous articles trashing the Mets.
Is there really a serious movement among players to avoid the Mets? If there is, this space would welcome the unearthing of the first concrete evidence of it. Much to the chagrin of the venomous corporate media, one of their minions writing something that is then repeated by countless blogs and commenters does NOT necessarily make it so.
This writer lived in Seattle during the 1990s, and some media folk have accurately stated that the mid-to-late 90s Mariners achieved less with more talent than any team in recent memory. This trap does indeed seem to be one the Reyes/Wright/Beltran/Johan Mets are in danger of falling into.
Those Mariner teams had Griffey Jr., ARod, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson, guys like Mike Blowers driving in 90 and Russ Davis getting many clutch hits, and managed just two postseason appearances and one dramatic win in 1995 over the Yanks. And oh what a win it was, but we digress.
Those Mariner teams were largely doomed by horrific bullpens, and should 2010 turn out to be another year devoid of those elusive meaningful October games, we may indeed look back on these Met teams in a similar manner to how those Mariner teams are viewed, with the bullpen killing us in 2008, starting pitching dooming us in 2007 and 2010, and a spectacular core just not having enough support to win a pennant.
Kingmanâ€™s Korner is perhaps not the place to find the most objective viewpoint when it comes to judging the potential of an as-yet unplayed Met season. But the negativity coming from the fans and the media towards Met management is simply irrational and, at this point, ridiculous.
If we see meltdowns from Pelf, Ollie, and Maine, or even from two of them, the season will be in peril, there is no doubt about that.
But this writer must reiterate that we now have Jason Bay in his prime in LF, and Omar has picked up several bullpen pieces with huge potential. Tatis, Catalanotto, Cora, and Blanco make up a bench loaded with versatility, and by many accounts, solid leadership and clubhouse skills.
Barring a major surprise, it appears that we are close to completing the roster with which this team will go to war.
This space says it is time for the loyal fan to get behind this group and at least give it a chance to get through March in a healthy, fundamentally sound, enthusiastic manner before giving up on it.
If we are 25-35 come June 1st, and if ownership is clearly not working to put together a major acquisition or two, then it will be time for the Nabobs to wave their flag of Nattering Negativity.
But for now, King and Stickâ€™s Parade of Partial Positiviality shall continue to demand its rightful place at the head of the table of Met fandom.
Now please, let the damn games begin!