Jan. 27.10: What would change?

Maybe this will be the summer in which the Mets fire Omar Minaya. It also might be the summer in which they get it all together.

Care to guess which one has a greater chance of happening?

MINAYA: Just how much power does he have?

MINAYA: Just how much power does he have?

At the end of last summer’s disaster, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and Minaya said there would be trades and free-agent signings. Nothing has happened between then and now to indicate there will be a real change – and, spare me Jason Bay.

It’s known throughout the industry that the Mets just don’t do it the way the model clubs do – and that includes the Yankees and Phillies. There is no definable budget, or at least one that can be easily recognized. And, there was no real setting of priorities.

How else can you explain the setting the goal as pitching at the end of the season, and yet having your key offseason move be a hitter who really had nowhere else to go?

It was reported Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis set the Mets as their priorities, but the Mets did not respond. No, neither is John Lackey, but either would have made the Mets’ rotation better and deeper than it is today.

The Met were more content to look at last season as an injury-plagued fluke, and ignored such factors as not improving their pitching depth in the 2008 offseason or building their long-criticized farm system as to provide replacements when a starter went down.

OK, the Mets have Bay, but with no other real bidders they coughed up a fifth-year option. … They got into a spitting match with Carlos Beltran, their best player, over surgery, which should have been avoided with surgery in November. … There were no decisive changes in their coaching staff. … And, their pitching remains the same.

Randy Wolf, Pineiro and Ben Sheets all went elsewhere for salaries that didn’t break anybody’s bank. The Mets by the way, had an ERA of just under five a game.

Minaya has made his share of mistakes, beginning with the Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez contracts, but truth be told, ownership signs off on those type of deals. They weren’t done without Wilpon’s blessing.

So, a miserable start – and with that pitching, who doubts that could happen? – could mean the sacking of Minaya. But, that won’t change anything because they are the same old Mets.

34 thoughts on “Jan. 27.10: What would change?

  1. I don’t understand why you think Omar might get fired. So many posters complimenting him for not getting the depth and the regular type guys necessary to supplement all those big names he has successfully gotten all these years. Obviously, every one of those guys was paid more than the market price. why? The Yankees were silent so why did they all get paid too much? Maybe, just maybe Jeffy was living in last year’s misread market and all the other teams in baseball, even the cheapskates like SD, KC,Pitt were all overpaying for their guys and the Mets weren’t. Right!!!!

  2. While I agree with the general premise about the dysfunction in the front office (Ken Rosenthal couldn’t even said it better), I do take issue with two things here: the idea that the pitching remains the same, and the Castillo contract.

    In terms of the pitching, we weren’t hearing a lot of complaints about the rotation when they were in first place in Spetember in both 2007 and 2008. Last year, though, saw the trio of Livian Hernandez, Tim Redding and Nelson “Don’t Confuse Me with Ed” Figueroa start more games and throw more innings that the trio of Santana, Maine and Perez. So, when contending that the pitching “is the same,” you’re essentially forecasting another year of Livian, Redding and Figueroa making more starts than Santana, Maine and Perez. If you want to argue that this trio is all coming back from injury and are question marks, so be it; but it’s disingenuous to suggest that the pitching staff will be the same.

    As for Castillo, that was a market-driven contract. The Astros were offering three years, so Omar went to four. He’s damned for doing that — and damned for not offering extra years to Piniero and Molina. If you want to bash the Castillo contract, then you have to give Omar props for not making the same mistake with this year’s free-agent class. Me, I don’t think the Mets misread the market so much as have just adopted a belt-tightening posture that likely reflects financial pressures from other business ventures gone awry.

  3. My problem with this assessment is that other than Marquis and to a lesser extent Dotel, I think the Mets management handled the off season moves correctly. None of the other players that went off the board made sense for this team in its current situation and so where we are is as good as I could have hoped for going into the off season. (I should say that Garland and Pinero made sense for the contracts they signed but we offered more than the Angels for Piniero and Garland would have taken a boatload of cash to leave the west coast)

    I was much more worried that we would spend GaGa money on a lesser FA this year to make a splash and I am comfortable with the Bay contract and what it will mean for this team. Its not that I am happy about where this team is today, but in terms of the moves that apparently were available I think we did as good as could be expected.

    Now, the whole Beltran debacle is a disgrace, but in terms of what we could do to improve this team this off season we have navigated it as well as I could have expected.

  4. The Mets have made plenty of mistakes. The Beltran fiasco is enexcusable. That said, I cant bash them for not giving huge contracts to mediocre pitchers. Is wolf worth 3 yr 30 mil? Is Lackey worth 5yr 80mil? Sheets? 10 mil guaranteed? all of them are injury prone and I am confident all will break down before thier contracts expire. Webb and Haren are coming to the end of thier contracts. Would you rather have one of these guys for 15-16 mil or Lackey? There is going to be much better talent available soon. I will give the benefit of the doubt to the mets for now. If they dont pick up any of that top talent then I will join the Delcos led chorus.

  5. This propoganda about all the talent that will be available is pure Met propoganda. Plenty of talent was available last Summer. The Mets had their excuse not to get any. We have guys hurt, so why do we have to get stars who can help in ’10!Remember who got moved? Guys like Lee and the second best catcher in baseball Martinez, both moved. Then fine you don’t Lackey ok, but Halladay went to Philly in a trade this Winter for barely more than Lackey made. He wouldn’t even sniff the Wilpon team. Suddenly the Mets will go and get somebody? The only get the Mets have anymore are they guys nobody wants. It turns out nobody really bid on Bay, the year before nobody bid on KROD. Well, I guess if nobody bids on somebody next year the Mets may get them. And do you really think guys better than Lackey are going for 15 mil? Next year we’ll hear the cry Met GM Jeffy was brilliant for not paying 20 some million for Lee or Mauer. Do you realy see the Mets having 2 pitchers with 20+ million salaries?

  6. Harry (5): Absolutely not on having two pitchers with plus-$20 million salaries. … Yes, talent was available last summer but I don’t think the Mets had the quality of major-league ready talent available in the minor leagues.-JD

  7. Ray (4): You make a good point on the value of those guys. Is any of them worth that much? Probably not. But, that’s the landscape. I’d be happier with the Mets keeping the status quo on their rotation if I saw faith for improvement.-JD

  8. 5.Since no team in baseball has 2 20 mil pitchers I dont expect it from the Mets. How can you say the 2011 free agent class being loaded is mets propaganda? every baseball wiiter is saying the same thing. Webb, Beckett and Lee headline the pitchers. free agents who said they wanted to play for the Mets included Piniero, Marquis and Odog so you cant say nobody wants to play for the metsies. Bay had interest from other teams, but the mets gave the 5th year option to get him.

  9. 8. If this was a team that doesnt spend money, I would agree. As you have said many times, they dont always spend wisely but they spend. We shall see.

  10. 5. As you said, Halliday who many consider to be the top pitcher in baseball got barely more than lackey. There is only so much money to go around. Teams like the Brewers want to clog up thier payroll with the likes of Wolf and Davis? fine thats less competition for the good pitchers.

  11. Ray (10): That’s true, I’ve said that more than a few times. I confess go a dilemma. I’m not so sure Pineiro and Grissom are the answers, but I have somewhat more confidence in them than I do the Mets’ options.-JD

  12. (12) Marquis Grissom? He’d be the right player at the right time!!!

    More to your point, though, are we faulting the Mets for not spending money on second-tier talent? I mean, that’s how I’d characterize the likes of Piniero, Marquis, et al. Even the most talented pitchers of this off-season, Lackey and Sheets, have injury issues.

    And here’s what we’re forgetting about Piniero and Marquis: They’re essentially league-average pitchers commanding $7-8 million per year; if healthy, I would expect league-average (if not better) performances from Maine and Pelfrey, each at a fraction of that cost.

  13. (5) The other thing to remember is that the Phils pretty much emptied out their farm system between the Lee and Halliday trades. I seem to remember them moving about 6 or so of their top ten prospects, and the reinforcements they received from Seattle are apparently raw and not as inspiring.

    That said, it’s a gutsy move by Amaro in trying to capitalize on the prime years of that Rollins-Utley-Howard-Werth nucleus. But they still have a lot of upcoming contract situations over the next two years (Werth, Howard, Rollins, Lidge, Hamels), and have made a few head-scratching signings this off-season.

    Arguably, between the prospects the Mets have kept — and those the Phils have dealt — and the Mets’ ability to lock up their key pieces (and the uncertainty regarding a handful of Phils), the Phils might not be better off within a year or two.

  14. Sadecki: I’m not saying the class isn’t loaded. The FA class doesn’t even exist. But what I was s aying is that having faith in the Mets buying these guys is baloney. Why are thety going to get thse guys? Is nobody else bidding? That’s the history of the Mets signs and why is it going to change now?
    And Bay had interest. From whom? It turns out the red Sox only offered him two years. So how was interested?
    And the Mets are going to get Beckett or Lee or Webb? Right … The Mets are going to spend 20+ to get one of them. Guess what. They ain’t coming for 15 mil per. Maybe Webb if he doesn’t prove he’s still a star.

    17I do ike the way you twist all the possibilile negative/positives into all positives for the Mets and all negatives for the Phillies. Meanwhile 3 staight flags for them after one whole flag for us. Mets aren’t losing any key pieces in two years. Only Beltran and KRod. Not to worry. Jeff is the best GM/owner around. Took lessons from Daniel Snyder.
    16. Instead of praising the Mets for not spending $$ they need to be blasted for refusing to improve the pitching staff and for refusing to add some depth to it, both starters and relievers. But what the heck. Its good to know Jeff won’t starve this year

  15. 17. To your point, Kieth Law of espn.com now ranks the Mets farm system at 15th and Phils 7th from the worst. Like I said yesterday I dont think anybody here would be happy to give up Fmart, Ike and Mejia for Holliday and the give big bucks contract too. For the Phils it makes more sense. They have a world series team and now is the time to go for it.

  16. As to the original question, “What would change?” The answer is If they are in the race this summer, they have to be aggressive in the trade market. Chiti is correct that this regime has not got a good record of doing that. Maybe its becuase they didnt have much major league ready talent to give in a trade before. Now that the Minors are improving they will have chips to deal. Then we can can bellyache about how the mets traded away thier future.

  17. (18) Yes, Beltran and K-Rod could possibly leave via free agency in two years, but some believe that F-Mart and Mejia are being groomed as replacements right now.

    The Phils, on the other hand, are facing a financial crisis of sorts — and that’s not me rooting as a Mets fan. It could feasibly cost them more than $200 million to keep Howard, Werth, Rollins and Hamels around — and I think that’s a conservative estimate. And, with that storm looming on the horizon, they’ve emptied out their farm and have given guaranteed contracts to Danys Baez, Brian Schneider and Jose Contreras. As Sadecki pointed out, they really are in a win-now mode.

    As for the pitching, I’m not sure they haven’t taken steps to address the pen. They’ve added that Japanese reliever and Escobar, whom they’re supposedly very excited about. I don’t know whether that’s justified or just hype — time will tell. While I don’t want to see Smoltz in the rotation, I’d welcome him in the pen; if they were to add Smoltz to the aforementioned two acquisitions, that trio, along with Feliciano and Parnell, could make for a solid group, especially if their excitement about Escobar is warranted. And there’s some talk that Mejia could start his big-league career in the pen as early as sometime in 2010.

    Starters? I’d blast them if they didn’t look to upgrade their rotation, but I’m not sure Piniero and Marquis represent upgrades over their current selections. I’d love to see them pick up a Bronson Arroyo in a salary-dump move, but I don’t think I’d be willing to deal a prospect for him, at least until I have a better read on Pelfrey, Perez and Maine.

  18. The Mets ability to get the gems from the 2011 FA crop (Mauer, Lee, Beckett, assuming that they become FA next year,) is contingent upon how the Mets do in 2010. They need all the question marks to become exclamation points. If the Mets make a run at the post season or get into it, they automatically become a place where FA’s want to play. If they do lousy again this year, then they’ll have to get into bidding wars and overpay to get any big time FA to want to come here. I mean if the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets all offer the same money..I mean who would you really want to play for? So what would change? If the Mets play winning baseball in 2010.

  19. Tiffany (17) makes an excellent point about the Phils and their farm. Keith Law’s current rankings of farms have the Phils now at #24, followed by the Yankees at 25, while the Mets are right in the middle at #15.

    Omar is now fully in the “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” category—If he gets a big target, it’s because he “overpaid”; if he doesn’t, it’s because he “failed to go the extra mile”.

    I wanted his #1 target this Winter to be Lackey, though he would’ve fallen into the “overpaid” category. Ditto for Wolf and Marquis. After Lackey went, I didn’t see any SP worth what they eventually got.

    Instead, Omar got one of the clear Top 2 offensive FAs, and kept all of his chips for possible mid-season deals, if needed. If there were a Webb, Lee, Mauer, Pujols, et al, out there, and he passed, I’d be upset. But regardless of who will be available next Winter, money spent on most of this year’s crop would be wasted.

    Why will the Mets be better than they were in ’09? Health!This is virtually the same team that was picked by many “experts” to win the NLE (and beyond)last year, except we’ve added Bay, improved the pen, and have a Castillo coming off a .302/.387 season instead of the miserable ’08 one.

    If we’re healthy, we contend.

  20. 21 Win now mode. Gee, isn;t that the fake line that Jeffy Minaya has been spewing for the last four years. Well, I thik the Phillies have done a heck of a lot better job of it than the Mets. 3 divisions, 2 pennants, one WS championship vice 1 divison and two chokes. As for the players, they have already said Werth is leaving after the year, and I’ll take your word for the others.
    As for the Met pen, getting a guy who has been hurt for two yearsa and Japaneses releiver of little merit who is recovering from TJ is a pretty pathetic attempt at bullpen improvement. Plus, Japaese pitchers aren’t used as much as pitchers in the US. Less gamesa and more days off, and they are certainly not used as heavilt and stupidly as Manuel does to wear out his pen. Sounds more of the type fo false hope spewed out in Western PA every year. At least they signed a real releiver in Dotel. But maybe this was genius. We will know someday. I’m sure if its wrong for his career, Mejia will be in the pen this year. We wouldn’t want to end the Minaya led tradition of rushing every prospect we have would we?

    Almost every starter the Mets supposedly had on their alphabet plan would have been an upgrade. Most here are looking for stars. Yet they were happy the small market Wilpon wouldn’t take a risk on the one guy who could have become a star. No risk no gain. If Jeff’s puppet’s job is really on the line then Sheets was the one risk he really had to take. Paint the Mets yellow on the Sheets endeavor.

  21. 22. Steve O; As usual lately, you are 100% wrong. The Mets performance will have nothing to do with the FA class. You are living in fantasy. If your theoiry had any semblance of substance then after the NYY failure to make the playoffs in ’08 FAs like Tex and CC etc wouldn’t have come. you must have spent the holidays with Jeffy. If you or him think that players are rushing to come to NY without getting better pay, then yopur posts next winter will be the same as this yearr’s. I didn’t want x or Y or Z for that price.
    23. Why should Omar give a hoot if he gets beaten in the press. His job is to win games, and divisons and pennants and World Series. Since he’s been a failure with a giant payroll he gets attacked. Cashman was attacked in 08 every day. Now he is the boy genius. Wonder why!

  22. the answer is our problems start at the top.

    change ownership

    that won’t happen but that is ultimately what needs to be done.

    beltran – a disgrace. no wonder no one wants to sign with us.

    castillo – we overpaid for an aging player who has been injured. matket rate was not 4 yrs at 6 per.

    perez – see castillo

    we had a huge hole in power and the OF. we solved both with bay. did we overpay? perhaps. but i am not upset about the signing. he is the right player at the right time. who is to say we will get any of the players next year? he helps us now and for the next few years. if we get one the OF’s next year we can always move someone. if FMart ever becomes a player we can always move someone.

    The other need was pitching. It seems to me we could have had a pitcher for 5/6 million for one year who would have helped us. I have no faith in ollie/maine/pelf until they can prove they can pitch. and our ace has been hurt two years in a row and we have no #5 and depth has been an issue for 4 straight years.

    ollie is a ten year pro who needs to be babied because he does not know how to pitch.

    maine is always injured

    pelf doesnt trust his stuff.

    we have a rotation of one and we did not go out and get pitching help.

    good job minaya.

  23. 23. “Why will the Mets be better than they were in ‘09? Health!This is virtually the same team that was picked by many “experts” to win the NLE (and beyond)last year, except we’ve added Bay, improved the pen, and have a Castillo coming off a .302/.387 season instead of the miserable ‘08 one.
    The ’09 team was supposed to have the great4st 8/9th inning duo in modern times. Putz and KROSD. Nobody but a few Met fanatics think this bullpen is improved. Yes, we added, Bay but gee we lost Delgado who carried the team singlehandedly for two months in 08. Wash at best. And most people said the Mets were one offensive force short going into ‘098. Still one short then Castillo was better last year, his defense is worse. We have no center fielder for XYZ amount of time. The catching is actually worse than the one rthat started ’09. Seems impossible but it is. The starters cannot be trusted. Maine has been hurt or mediocre since May of ’07, Pelfrey has deteriorated too much to have confidence in and OP, has lost the faith of even his most ardent supporters. So, its easy to say if everybody’s healthy, which of course is already not the case, then they have to be better. Doesn’t make them contenders.

  24. (24) I agree the Phils have done a better job with the win-now mode, but that’s also reflective of the ages of their players. Their core of Howard-Utley-Rollins are all the same age — and that’s about four years older than Reyes-Wright. As such, there are different windows for these teams, based on different places in the lifecycle of their core players. If the Phils don’t win in the next 2-3 years, it might not make sense to throw more gobs of money at mid-30s players; in contrast, the Mets should, theoretically, have another a longer lifecycle for their core of Reyes and Wright.

    It’s worth noting that the 2006 rotation that took the Mets a game from the World Series was composed of aging veterans like Glavine, Pedro, Trachsel and El Duque; the average age of this quartet was 37. In 2007, the Mets replaced two of these with a 26-yr-old Maine and a 25-yr-old Perez, each of whom won 15 games and performed above league-average; in 2008, they broke in a 24-yr-old Pelfrey who posted an above-average season and added a 29-yr-old ace in Santana. In other words, in the span of two years, the average age of their starting four went from 37 to 26 — a huge differential, as the Mets got remarkably younger in a very short period of time. Indeed, last year, the Mets as a team, were about two years younger than the Phils. Different windows mean different plans.

    As for any of the alphabet plan being an upgrade, I don’t agree. Lackey would have been an upgrade, but I’m not sure he’ll be healthy enough to warrant a five-year deal at $83 million. Sheets? He hasn’t been healthy in years. Piniero? Wasn’t he released not too long ago? Marquis and Garland? Consistently mediocre — their advantage, if any, seems to be that they’ve remained healthy. I think in each case, outside of Lackey and Sheets (who pose health risks), the Mets are likely to get similar production out of their current rotation, if said rotation is healthy.

    You mention in (27) that Maine hasn’t been good since early 2007; I would probably put it at 2008, when he and Ollie both slumped down to league-average performers. I think when this duo is healthy and doing poorly, they’re league-average; when they’re healthy and doing well, they’re above-average, as they showed in 2007. I don’t see Piniero and Marquis as having anything over them, except possibly health.

  25. (27) I don’t know if I qualify as a Met fanatic when I say I expect a healthy Escobar to be more productive than an injured Putz.

    To be sure, though, Escobar and the Japanese import (I’ll learn to spell his name someday) are likely replacing the likes of Stokes, Green and Elmer Diddy.

  26. (26) Just a point of clarification: The right player at the right time is Gary Matthews, Jr., not Jason Bay.

  27. By the way, it looks like the Mets are going to re-sign “Can You Hear the Drums” Fernando, meaning that Delgado is not likely to return.

  28. i have lost 95% of my confidence in Omar, Jeff, etc.
    I just dont think they are innovative or even proactive when it comes to this team
    epstein, cashman, beane…all think about the move now and the next 2 or 3 moves…all u hear on the mets is they are in on one player, if that works out maybe abother
    there is no long term plan or commitment

    if speech reading was all a President had to do, Barack Obama would be one hell of a leader

  29. “Because in the United States of America, going to college should not make you go broke.

    Here Here

  30. (25) Harry: I said that if the Mets do LOUSY AGAIN THIS YEAR the free agents will not want to come and the Mets will have to overpay big time to get free agents to come here. I’m certain that if the Mets go 89 and 73 like the 2008 Yankees then they’ll be back in play for premium free agents. So sorry, i’m 100% correct. Might I suggest a reading comprehension course for yourself to take?