Sunday, February 7, 2010

Random Musings: Met Indecision

Darryl Strawberry was interviewed by Matthew Cerrone at this past week.  Later in the week, Cliff Floyd was on Mike Francesca’s show on WFAN.  They come from different Met eras and different times of Met success.  Strawberry was the premier power hitter on the great Met teams of the 1980s.  Floyd was one of the power sources for the Mets of the middle part of this past decade.  Both have seen New York when the Mets win.  They understand what makes Met fans go crazy.  Confidence.  Swagger.  Cockiness.

Strawberry was there for one of the two greatest moments in franchise history: Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  Floyd almost reached a World Series in 2006, but was there for one of the greatest single plays in team history: the Endy Chavez over-the-wall catch.

In his notes on the interview, Cerrone said if the current downward trend for the Mets continues, the situation may become irreparable.  I might disagree with Cerrone on whether that has already happened.  I believe this situation may already be irreparable.  Let's look at the low points this franchise has had since that Endy Chavez miracle catch.

·       2006: Carlos Beltran strikes out looking to end Game 7 of NLCS
·       2007: Mets do not re-sign Floyd
·       2007: Mets have historic collapse in the East, allowing the Phillies to take the division on the last day
·       2008: Mets do not re-sign Paul Lo Duca
·       2008: Willie Randolph fired at the beginning of a West Coast trip
·       2008: Mets collapse again, dropping a division lead and allowing the Brewers to take the Wild Card on the last day
·       2009: Bad signing of Perez
·       2009: Bad trade for Putz
·       2009: Injuries affect every part of the Met roster
·       2009: Keystone Cop-like operation of the franchise

It has already deteriorated quickly.  This franchise, as it is currently constituted, may already have its best days behind them.  This latest round of incompetence stems from the players' health.  If they were healthy, there would be no mistrust with the medical staff.  But, they were hurt, and the medical staff, front office, and ownership botched it beyond belief.  Now, there is no trust in the medical staff. 

Beltran sought a second opinion, which happens all of the time, but right after getting that second opinion, he went under the knife.  That shows little trust in Minaya or that shows that he knew the front office and ownership would try to talk him out of it.  Beltran is not the only with little trust in Minaya having any kind of autonomy in the front office without the meddling of ownership.  Jose Reyes did not seem all that happy with the rehabilitation course, as the Mets opted to rehab his leg injury instead of opting for surgery.  Did Johan Santana pitch too long without having surgery on his elbow and jeopardize himself to a more severe injury?

This irreparable damage has not been the results of bad trades or players walking away for more money elsewhere.  Omar Minaya and the Mets re-signed people I did not think they should have re-signed in Carlos Delgado and Oliver Perez, did not re-sign players I thought they should have kept in Paul Lo Duca, fired people that should not have been fired in Willie Randolph, and kept people on that should have been shown the door, such as the medical staff and now Omar Minaya himself.

Save for the Johan Santana trade that fell into their laps, the Mets are seemingly doing the exact opposite of what they should have been doing.  The Mets should not have had to rely on Gary Sheffield or Daniel Murphy for long stretches last year.  Even though the Mets injured list read like a phone book, Sheffield and Murphy were supposed to be in the lineup most of the time when the season started.  The Mets did not have a solid second starter behind Johan Santana entering 2008, let alone last season.  To date, they still do not have that second starter. 

The Mets fixed their left field situation in the offseason by signing Jason Bay, but they could have signed the right player last season.  Does Minaya learn from the 2009 injuries?  Already, you can tell he is not planning well for possible failure at first base if Murphy and Tatis do not hit well enough.  They are still paying for a bad contract to Castillo, which stopped them from signing Orlando Hudson, who has a much better glove and could be a better fit in the lineup. 

Yes, Santana might not have agreed to the trade that sent him from Minnesota to Queens if Castillo was not already a Met, but by now, Santana is a Met and Castillo could be benched, released, or traded with the Mets eating a large portion of the contract.  Met upper management is treating the 4-year/$24 million contract like a 6-year/$100 million contract by the way they are unwilling to eat some or all of the remaining money.  Look at the Los Angeles Angels.  They ate $21.5 million of the remaining $23.5 million of Gary Matthews, Jr.’s contract to ship him off to the Mets.

Quite frankly, I am surprised the Mets have not traded away Reyes, David Wright, or Beltran at this point because that would be the opposite of good management.  At least they have had enough sense to hold on to them.  But, that has given the Met fans just enough hope to hold off on pushing the button that blows everything up and starts over again.

As I write this, not only did Ryan Garko sign with Seattle, who is trying to win now, but Kevin Millar just signed a minor-league deal.  Millar might have only hit .223 and had 4 errors in 46 games at 1B, but he has grit and fire in spades and he would prove a workable platoon player while the Mets bide their time for Ike Davis to arrive.  Millar knows how to win.  Maybe he could have taught the Mets.

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