Mets GM Omar Minaya was in full defense mode last night on SNY, saying among other things, he still has full autonomy, but sometimes decisions are a collaborative effort and he doesn’t care as long as the right decision is made.
Sounds good, but I didn’t expect to hear anything other than that on that topic. Anything other than that is a sign of weakness.
Most curious was his stance on the pitching.
John Lackey was the only difference maker in the free agent market, and I don’t believe the Mets were even in that game. Everything else in the market, he said, wasn’t significantly better than what the Mets already have.
The Mets’ three question marks – John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez – when healthy are as good as what was on the market. In theory, if you take the best years of those three, Minaya would be correct.
So, the Mets’ pitching plans really were to hope they improve and stay healthy. Rarely, when a team has as many pitching questions as the Mets, that the answers all come up roses.
A significant key, and one I believe might be the most important this season, is the development of Pelfrey, who regressed after a good season in 2008. Even so, Pelfrey still managed double-digit victories.
“If we can get Mike Pelfrey to be the Mike Pelfrey of 2008,” Minaya said. “There’s upside there.”
Minaya also spoke well of Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi when speaking of the bullpen.
“Minaya said. “We’re going to have question marks coming off of last year. I think it’s fair to say we’d like to reduce the ifs, but if you looked at the free-agent market, a lot of those free agents are ifs.”
Fair enough, but not hardly comforting.
What was interesting was an admission Carlos Beltran did the right thing and Minaya was informed about the surgery. He didn’t say why he didn’t admit to that initially. Might as well practice damage control on that as much as possible.
The question will invariably be raised again upon Beltran’s return.
After last season’s disaster, Minaya said he wanted to build the Mets around pitching, speed and defense. Minaya believes his outfield corners of Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur are better defensively than Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church. He also believes Gary Matthews Jr. and Angel Pagan will perform adequately in place of Beltran.
He’s right there, but if the injury news coming out of Boston on Bay is true, that becomes a problem. For now, we have to look at Bay as a positive. And, he is an upgrade offensively, but again, his projected numbers simply replace that of a healthy Carlos Delgado.
Murphy, he said, will improve defensively as he learns the position. With more experience and knowledge of the pitchers, Murphy could also improve at the plate and hit for more power. However, he won’t provide what a healthy Delgado might give them. Then again, Murphy and Fernando Tatis together might not equal a healthy Delgado. But, that’s moot because Delgado isn’t here or healthy.