Hi-yo, folks, Coop here again with the second installment of 2009's Coop's Keys To the Season. Brought to you by...The Coop.
This week's installment is going to focus on not a person, not a position but a "theory" -- and that's what has been the Mets' fanbase go-to explanation for a lot of things explained away as..."Well..it coulda been a LOT worse."
And that, my friends, is the theory of "the deal not made." Names filed under this particular category would be: Barry Zito, A-Rod, Manny Ramirez. Some Mets fans might have been up in arms about certain deals not being made, but in reality, turned out to blessings in disguise, with 20/20 hindsight.
This season is a little bit of an anomaly in that department, because there are quite a few deals that could have been made with the surplus of free agents out on the market that could have impacted this team right away. Although we have to give credit where it is due, Omar Minaya did in fact eliminate some of the problems (OK, most) of the last two seasons is by addressing our needs for a closer and strong-middle-reliever-who-can-be-a-closer-too in Francisco "K" Rodriguez and JJ "Don't call me a" Putz. I was pretty psyched about that, and wondered what was next. Though little to nothing was done except bringing back Oh Pea to "solidify" the rotation, there was a ton of stuff that you can no longer call the pink suede elephant in the room that absolutely needed to be addressed by Mets management.
In an offseason where there was a surplus of free agents, there is absolutely no excuse why the Mets could not have made an offer for the following: AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe, Pat Burrell (yes, I know, I need a shower), or Manny Ramirez.
Now, I agree right off the bat, Manny is a stretch. He is pure luxury and probably would have only been one of those "steal-the-headlines-away-from-the-Yankees" kind of splashy signing. And judging by the last few offseasons where that HAS been the case (Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, and some dude named Johan), Manny would have been like that. So you know what, I will totally give a pass to not going after Manny. Cause I am not sure I would have been jonesed to do that either.
But judging by the team's sorry state of affairs a.) not only in the outfield but 2.) after the 5th batter in the lineup, that leads me to D.) Omar Minaya did not give much of a chance to guys you could have gotten away with one-year contracts for, such as Pat Burrell. I know - eek. Ew, ew, ew. OK, after you've taken a shower, think about it. Honestly, I think Pat Burrell would have been a fine signing, we could have used his pop (OK, home run/strike-out artistry) in the bottom of the line up. I doubt Daniel Murphy is going to be the offensive threat we think him to be for the entire season, though many Mets fans have fan boy crushes on him. Burrell would have been a nice buffer. That's all I'm sayin'.
As for the pitching rotation, I've caught a lot of flak for suggesting otherwise on other Mets fan boards, but Pedro Martinez is NOT THE ANSWER TO OUR ROTATION WOES. If you ask me, this was the pink suede elephant in the room concerning this team. You'd think, OK, a rotation with Johan Santana as the ace is the least of our worries. Oh I beg to differ dear Mets fans. No, I would go so far to say that it only puts more pressure on Johan to take more of the burden.
So behind Jo-Jo we have Big Pelf, along with Maine and Oh Pea who just two seasons ago shared the title of "Co-Aces." After the sure thing, we are relying on a dude who pitched the most innings of his career last season, a guy who was injured and nibbles the corners (whom I still *heart*), and well, a headcase with a million dollar arm/ten cent head. I mean, THIS is what we have another season lined up for? A mysterious fifth starter and all of a sudden Pedro Martinez is going to magically appear healthy and carry the team - you know, something he was supposed to do in 2006 and 2007, and did not.
But here's my issue - there was NO REASON why the Mets should not have been in the race for one of the following: AJ Burnett, Jon Garland, or Derek Lowe. Granted, the Mets were in the race for Derek Lowe, but my gut instinct tells me that there was a reason the Mets passed on him. The Braves do not, in my most humble opinion, take the NL East with their rotation with or without Lowe and hey - at least he's not a Phillie.
Most fans laugh at my insistence upon Jon Garland. While his numbers were somewhat lackluster in the AL, bordering on OK to the very mediocre, I think a switch to the NL would do him right. Especially on the Mets where he would get some run support. The problem with the rotation the last few years are the lack of depth pitchers. Big Pelf and Jo-Jo were the ONLY pitchers to have complete games in 2009 and routinely make it into later innings. John Maine, even when healthy, rarely gets out of the 6th inning. And let's not go there with Oh Pea.
The issue with the Mets not getting an innings eater like Garland or Lowe pushes to the forefront, despite getting K-Rod and Putz... it does not address the fact that in getting Putz, the middle relievers who were actually decent were traded...and that besides Pedro Feliciano (a LOOGY, no less), we got no one besides Putz and K-Rod in the 'pen (besides a bunch of retreads who are trying out for a job in spring training)....All I have to say is, we gotta get to the 7th/8th inning in order to reap those rewards of having those two strong guys in the 'pen.
Unless Maine and Pea take a longevity pill, this could prove problematic.
Most of the Mets fans in blogdom know one thing about me: that I am a PrOmar blogger and fan. However, I think he really f'd up in not being more aggressive in improving those perceived problems. It's one thing to have bid and lost - but to have never bid at all, that would be the problem.
Then again, I would say the reason I am so PrOmar - a main reason, not THE reason - is that he is the master of the deal "not made." So for all the Johans he falls into, it's the one-that-got-away that matters. And in that, the one that got away in 2007 was Barry Zito, every-trade-deadline in Manny, potentially Derek Lowe this year...depending on how those that got away fare this year, we won't know. But passing on these guys, ultimately, could be a blessing in disguise.
But I will say this - the biggest deal that should NOT be made is Pedro Martinez, even for a year. Do we remember the heartache he's put us through these past few seasons? Just say NO to Pedro.
Join me next week for the next installment of Coop's Keys to the Seasons...her opinion is shit, but let's see how much of it sticks to the wall.