Now that the Season from Hell is over, with the added insult (Yankees World Series win over the Phillies) to (multiple) injuries having occurred, I can finally concentrate on Hot Stove Season and what the Mets can do to improve themselves.
So Happy Hot Stove Season.
We've been hearing quite a bit in the form of trade rumors and faux proposals. I do have to say that in light of previous years where we would hear some crazy-ass stuff on the table (including what was to me the improbable trade of Johan Santana to the Mets which actually did happen), this year the trade rumors seem to be reasonable. As an example, yesterday a pretty strong rumor verified by multiple sources came out that Luis Castillo might be going to the Cubs in a three-way involving Toronto (Mets would get Lyle Overbay) and Chicago (Chicago is looking to dump Milton Bradley). A typical garbage-in garbage-out deal. As I was saying to my Mets office buddy DiLo, this is the year to trade Castillo. He'll NEVER look as good as he did this year. Looks are deceiving. Like fly balls (yes, that still hurts months later). If that's all we have to do, I say pull the trigger and pull it yesterday. We'll worry about 2B when we have to.
Of course the free agent market is very thin this offseason, with the crown jewels unarguably being John Lackey and Matt Holliday. Ed and Joey at Studious Metsimus give us a sounding positive argument as to why the Mets should go all out for John Lackey.
I wouldn't mind getting Holliday. But it also raises the issue of how the Mets operate, why we've gotten into trouble the past few seasons and why, hoping beyond all hope, we'll get out of the mess called 2009 and move on with a strong team.
The current philosophy the Mets employ simply is not working. To move forward in not only a positive manner, but to get the fans back on the side of the team we need something to believe in.
What is the current philosophy? As someone put it to me the other day, the only thing Omar Minaya has demonstrated that he does well is plug in holes. But if you think about it, if there is a hole in a dam, and you keep plugging the holes, chances are more holes are going to pop up and cause more leaks and before you know it...leaks are everywhere and you are stuck with a bizillion dollar repair that could have been avoided SIMPLY if you had fixed the original problem, a good foundation, reinforcements and a game plan to keep that motherfucker tip-top.
I will say that I was a pretty PrOmar person when he first got on board. He got us Pedro Martinez (I was excited about it at first, I'll admit), Carlos Beltran (which is turning out to be one hell of a steal) and went hard after Carlos Delgado. He did what he had to do. That was, get the stars at what was then Shea, get the fans reinvigorated and get the Mets significant again. Then 2006 came and we thought - that's it! We have a foundation. But soon the leaks were exposed and the Mets are pretty much back to irrelevance.
But what a misfire that was. Look at what Frank Cashen and Steve Phillips demonstrated. They can build something strong, then easily dismantle it with one false move. With Phillips, it was a few false-moves that led to the demise of those exciting late-90s-going-into-2000 teams. The problem here I think is Omar Minaya seemed to really believe his hype. Throwing money at a problem doesn't necessarily FIX the cause of it.
What the cause is a lack of fundamentals on the ownership, the management and front office executives and the management of the field teams. It's a classic case of one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. And unfortunately, the root cause is the Wilpons who also believe that if they open the checkbook for overpriced and back-loaded free agents, the fans will get all excited, forget about previous years, and think all our problems are solved.
As long as they are in charge, nothing philosophical is going to change with the Mets. We could trade Castillo for a bag of cow flop, and I may be happy about it. Until they come out with a game plan and say - you know what, we're going to start paying over slot in the draft, we're going to go all out and the young studs of the future are going to WANT to play for the New York Metropolitans. Screw our "gentlemen's agreement" with Selig. Nice guys always finish last.
What I want to see is that they will no longer go after FOO's (Friends-of-Omar) as coaches, managers OR players, and will focus on young exciting players who have exhibited a history of health. Look at Jeff Francoeur. Never liked him on the Braves and he may be allergic to walks. But he is a decent defensive outfielder and can hit. No more Fernando Tatisses or any nonsense. I no longer want to see anyone old enough to be my grandfather playing every day.
Clearly, the issues over the years with the Mets hasn't been their inability to spend money. They can, do and will continue to do so, thinking that money solves everything. What we've seen is that it hasn't. Frankly, it's a little unnerving to me that businessmen like Sterling Enterprises can manage to stay successful in other areas of their business and make money...but fail to have the most rudimentary of business philosophies in tact for the baseball team.
Or maybe they do and that's the scary part. Which to me says -- stay profitable and relevant enough to get the fans invested in us again. Who cares if we don't make the postseason or put competitive teams up after the trade deadline.
As long as we make more money than we spend, we'll be golden.
That philosophy scares the shit out of me. Get better at running the baseball ops, and then we'll talk.