Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Either-Or

  • Stop complaining:

Mets fans wanted Omar Minaya out as GM; they wanted Jeff Wilpon's hand-print removed from any and all baseball moves; they wanted a new manager; they wanted a coherent long-term plan rather than simply flinging stuff onto the field and hoping it gained cohesiveness over time.

They got their wish.

The Mets dismissed Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel; the Wilpons have stepped back and are allowing the new baseball operations crew refurbish the decaying exoskeleton of a floundering and ridiculed franchise. The fans were happy and quiet....for a moment.

Now, we're getting the bewildered glances and rampant whining that the Mets are not in on any of the big name free agents; they've done nothing so far aside from offer arbitration to Pedro Feliciano (who rejected it) and re-sign minor league lefty Mike O'Connor. They hired a new manager in Terry Collins, who is either being cast as an inspired choice; a yawn-worthy retread; or a raving maniac.

If it gives you a thrill, they have kept Bobby Ojeda in the fold as the SNY in-studio analyst.

Apart from that, it's been what it's been.

So, which is it?

Do you want a headline-grabbing Minaya-style free agent signing to fill a hole and the expectation that this time----with Jayson Werth; Carl Crawford; Cliff Lee----everything will be alright? All the while ignoring that things weren't alright with the signings of Jason Bay; Francisco Rodriguez; Moises Alou? Or do you want a comprehensive plan? A plan in which the head of baseball operations, Sandy Alderson, hired people with whom he shares a rapport and similar beliefs to carry out his edicts as he wants them carried out?

This is not going to be an overnight turnaround similar to the type which was a short-term boon to the organization as Minaya crafted with his underappreciated skills and charisma; if the Mets are truly intent on building a stable and free-flowing pipeline of success as the Red Sox have, they have to start somewhere; and that somewhere is eschewing the easy way out and tossing money at their problems only to regret it 3, 4 and 5 years down the line.

As much as Minaya is lambasted for the disastrous final years of his reign, he did some important work in convincing ownership to cut ties with declining veterans Al Leiter and John Franco; spending money on Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran; and starting over with new faces and a different approach rather than give severance packages to veterans who were no longer of use while still having them on the roster.

Of course, it came apart in 2007 and beyond; but Minaya has never gotten enough respect for the good things he did.

So what do Mets fans and observers want?

Do they want a debilitating long term mistake? Or do they want the chance to be the Red Sox----stats and scouting backed up by big money----to build a championship team?

The hunger for them to do "something" is what led to the drastic mistakes and false headlines of the past. From the days of the "Mets sign Beltran", it descended into nothingness and the enticing carrot of "the Mets have an announcement to make" and then watching with abject apathy as the promised maneuver turned out to be Gary.....Matthews....Jr.

Now, the Mets are pursuing oft-injured righty Chris Young to bolster their rotation. I happen to like the idea, but know----from history----that Young is probably not going to be healthy; if he is, he won't give them more than 140 innings as a back-rotation starter.

Fans are waking up from the afterglow and realizing that Alderson's not going down the Minaya road and signing big names; nor is he going to be able to package Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo for Adrian Gonzalez.

It's "chaotic"?

What did you expect?

It takes time to alter a culture and it doesn't happen in the span of a month. Alderson and his crew are taking a radically different tack than the prior regime; that includes re-doing the scouting operation; examining the current contracts and checking around the league to see if the likes of Castillo, Perez and K-Rod are movable; if it's worth it to add a young player to sweeten the deal to get those players out of New York or wait out the contracts; to consider the risk-reward of dealing Jose Reyes or David Wright; to re-start the whole thing.

You have to make a decision as to what you want; you can't have it both ways.

Right now, with the Mets roster----as it stands now and the competition----is around a .500 team if the players perform somewhere close to their career standards. Could they push it to 87-90 wins with a little luck? With an early return from Johan Santana; big performances from Wright and Reyes; a blossoming of Jonathon Niese and Mike Pelfrey; unheralded and cheap bullpen pick-ups?


But they just as easily could fall to 75 wins if things go badly and they have to make the decision----with his free agency looming and the season spiraling----to deal Reyes at mid-season.

Changing the culture isn't a matter of hiring people from the outside with different philosophies; nor is it a rapid process. From the days of haphazard dysfunction (that wasn't all his fault) under Minaya to the chain-of-command, all-for-one style of Alderson, it's a totally new entity overtaking the Mets organization. Those that are growing impatient a month into the new regime have a rude awakening ahead of them, but the sooner they accept it, the better.

A restive fan base isn't going to make the reconstruction happen any faster.

It's the choice we make.

  • Viewer Mail 12.2.2010:

Matt writes RE Troy Tulowitzki:

I don't think anyone would question the logic of locking up a player like Tulo long-term, but he was already locked up! The level of risk that the Rockies just willingly took on for a near-term reward they were going to get anyway is one of the most curious business decisions I have ever seen.

That's the thing!! They didn't even tear up the contract he'd signed after his rookie year----they extended the extension!!! He's not making an absurd amount of money through 2013 ($5.5 million in 2011; $8.25 million in 2012; $10 million in 2013); then it escalates to $16 million in 2014 and $20 million per through 2019; finally, it's $14 million in 2020 and a $15 million option (with a $4 million buyout) in 2021.

Plus, who's to say they're not going to tear up this contract in 2015 or whenever?

Now there are rumors the Rockies are avidly pursuing Lance Berkman. Where he's going to play is a very good question especially since they also extended Todd Helton's contract through 2013 (which, in fairness, was done to get them some salary relief for 2011 after Helton's bloated extension).

I have no clue what they're doing. Or why.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Brian Cashman (AKA Flyin' Brian):

I wonder if Brian Cashman has a no rappelling clause in his contract. If so, the Yankees could void it after his stunt as a daredevil elf. Very Aaron Boone-like.

I'm thinking one of the bosses (probably Randy Levine) screamed at Cashman: "You're an elf who repels!!!"; and Flyin' Brian took it as a suggestion rather than a criticism.

Joe writes RE Derek Jeter:

How about we make a deal...Since you are so adamant about Jeter staying a Yankee -- and rightfully so. Then if he leaves for another team, you must fly out to Hollywood and try out for a role in 'Moneyball.' You could probably play Jeremy Giambi.

Two things: I'm too good looking to play Jeremy Giambi and I'm probably a better hitter.

I'd love to be in the Moneyball movie!!! There's a perception that I want to destroy Moneyball----I don't want to kill it!! What would I do without it?!?

I do want to be in the sequel; or the catalyst of the sequel in which the whole things comes crashing to the ground.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Troy Tulowitzki:

On a follow-up to the Tulo thing...

In a post-signing MLBN interview with him yesterday, Tulo said:

"I want my legacy to be here in Colorado."

Are you... f***ing... kidding me?

"MY LEGACY"?????

I think that before a player is allowed to speak of "his legacy"; he needs to, er... I dunno... HAVE ONE??? Look, he's good and all, but he's also been a walking disabled list. The Rockies might get screwed... it's happened before (Helton and Neagle come to mind offhand, but I know there are others). Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore... those guys are similar in talent to Tulo... guys who've been hurt too much to have a "legacy"... I don't think I heard Longoria (Tulo's brosef) ever mention "a legacy"; in his long term deal.

Who does Troy think he is???

With the "legacy" line, I'm getting a Sean Salisbury "brand" vibe.

Dan O'Dowd is having a regression to years past and it's not a good thing.

Since you mention Evan Longoria, the Rays are too smart to do something this ridiculous. They'd trade Longoria first.

I was on with Sal at SportsFan Buzz eight days ago talking about the Hot Stove; the Mets; Derek Jeter; post-season award winners; and other stuff. You can click on the link here directly or here for Sal's site to listen on I-Tunes.


She-Fan said...

Your assessment of the Mets is very rational. Why should they go down the same road with the free agents when the last regime got blasted for it?

Jeff said...

It's a New York thang, Prince. No offense, but New Yorkers (in my experience) are never satisfied. And they complain a lot... not as much as Bostonians, but still, it's a lot.

Chicagoans on the other hand... we just tend to be fat and loud (as a whole, not myself, of course)... except for the loud part. I am loud.

mike fierman said...

not to be bitchy but how is the roster of the 2011 Mets so different from the 2010 version that you predicted would win the NL east in your book? aside from Santana. is his injury enough to make them a .500 team? Have you no confidence in Bay? I think he will have a bounceback year.