Let's not fool ourselves. The Mets have conceded the season.
Don't get me wrong. I know they are not mathematically eliminated (yet...) and I also realize that Jeff Francoeur is hardly a make-or-break player. He was a good dude by all accounts but couldn't hit worth a damn and couldn't adjust his approach to the plate after so many years, his cannon of an arm in the outfield wasn't going to save him from any criticism.
However, trading him for a dude with a worse OBP than his after four partial (operative word here) seasons in the majors in Joaquin Arias, coupled with most of the lineup being young guys suggests to me two things.
One is that they are saying without saying "wait till next year." The pink elephant in the room this season is outside of two road series in Interleague play and a rain shortened series in Pittsburgh, the Mets weren't going to do anything but mail it in for the rest of the season after not winning any road series.
Two is that...the farm system is not as depleted as we thought it was. However, with names like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in the lineup now, there are no future Strasburgs or Heywards there, but the good news is there is depth.
I've had some conversations with some people in the past about Omar Minaya, specifically, and how he has handled this time. Perhaps Ted Berg said it best the other day and suggested that the Mets "core" isn't so much fractured as it is that Minaya has done a poor job of building around them. And that's true. Paul LoDuca and Carlos Delgado were good pickups, but it was a misconception to think of them as long-term plans, which I think after the Mets went on a tear in 2006, Minaya started to kind of believe his own hype. He certainly wasn't alone. I certainly drank a lot of the Omar-ade back then too. Moises Alou was awesome to watch when he was healthy for the 50 or so games he played in 2007. Having him with no plan B suggests to me that Minaya got a bum deal when he was named GM in 2004. He kind of had to start from scratch but needed to jump at deals when he had them.
This is by no means a glowing report of Minaya, nor is it an indictment. It's just that I think right now his time is done as GM of the Mets. His scouting and drafting could be better, but we can't deny he has a good eye for talent. If I were Jeff Wilpon, I'd just "reassign" Omar Minaya within the organization, not demote him or fire him. As I think he might have some value left to the Mets. He's just not a GOOD GM for what he's been given. That has been established.
As for now, well, with the trade of Jeff Francoeur and the seeming loss of Jason Bay for the year (I doubt he'll return this season, and I won't blame him if he does not attempt a comeback), we got what we wanted. As of today, our starting lineup is Angel Pagan, Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Mike Nickeas, Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia. Mejia is making his first major league start today against a team that's had it worse than the Mets have this year, his personal catcher is making the start over another young dude named Josh Thole. In other words, five out of the starting nine are "rookies" this year, and the Mets are playing the kids.
We are getting what we asked for, yet Omar Minaya is still damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Of course, we know now officially that the Mets aren't going to do anything except show up for the month of September, but it's the albatross of Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran that have his handwriting all over it that make his legacy as Mets General Manager memorable, for better or for worse.
As I said, this isn't a recommendation nor an indictment on Minaya. Just something I've observed. Carry on.