As Mets fans sit with their head in hands and breathe deeply, wishing and praying for their GM to do something--anything--you cannot help but wonder why it takes them an eternity to do nothing. When the season ended in extreme disappointment in 2009, Mets fans were assured by the owner and Omar Minaya that they would be very active in the off-season to improve the team. They have been very active. The only problem is they didn't improve the team. As fans we listen and have big hopes and dreams. The difference here is the definition of "very active." To fans this means signing players that will actually help the team win. To the management of the Mets, that means signing a bunch of backup catchers and backup players to minor league contracts. Ok, throw in the Jason Bay signing to keep the fans somewhat happy. What you really have is a disaster and a team that, if fans are lucky, will win about the same number of games they did last year. The big difference is the payroll will be about $25 million less. Good for Mets owners, maybe, not good for the fans or a team that wants to win.
Going into the off-season, one of the big questions for the team was the pitching. Their ace, Johan Santana, had surgery as well as Maine and Perez. Mike Pelfrey regressed and they don't have a number five starter. We can start there without even getting into, for the moment, who they are going to throw to. John Lackey was available and the Mets lost out to the Boston Red Sox who didn't exactly go right after him. Why does it take so long for the Mets to make a decision and then lose out on some talent that can help the team? Lackey could have given the Mets a bona fide number two starter. How about Joel Piniero? Rumor had it that he wanted to come to New York but got frustrated about how long it was taking to get something done so he went and signed with Anaheim. Those are just two names to throw out there. Oh yes, I forgot, they did sign Josh Fogg to a minor league contract and Kelvim Escobar to help in the bullpen. Major moves? I think not! Hopefully, Maine and Perez can hold it together and Pelfrey can step up this year. That is a lot of hope. And let's not forget that they will have to throw someone on the mound every fifth day. Can you say Chien Ming Wang? Seems like a no-brainer to me. The Washington Nationals seem to think so. Come on Omar, step up to the plate. Or should we be saying Jeff?
The Mets do have one thing going for them. They have the market cornered on backup catchers. What is going on with the organization when Bengie Molina signs with another team for less money and you cannot land Yorvit Torrealba? Somehow Chris Coste and Henry Blanco don't add up.
Don't worry Met fans. Management has done some good things this off-season. In an effort to make you happy and keep you buying tickets and overpriced beer they have done several things for you. They are lowering the fence in center field by eight feet. Now Carlos Beltran can make it look good by leaping when he gets to the fence, giving the illusion that he can catch something that is going to hit the home run apple. Yes, the home run apple is out there. You just didn't see it much last season. What else are they doing? They are bringing in Keith Hernandez to work with Daniel Murphy at first base. This announcement comes one day before they sign Mike Jacobs to a minor league contract. You can bet that if Keith can not work some magic with Murphy, Jacobs will be getting a good deal of playing time there. The only problem there is Jacobs is a below average fielder as well. I am not sure Hernandez really knew what he was getting himself into when he agreed to be a tutor.
One more thing the Mets have done is bring back fan favorite Mookie Wilson to be a minor league base-running and outfield coach. Perhaps he can start with Angel Pagan who the Mets signed to a one year deal.
What the Mets really need to do is look in the mirror and place the blame squarely on their own shoulders. Do not blame opposing teams when their doctors check out your players on the road. Do not get on your player's case when they have surgery to repair a knee. Take responsibility for the team. Go out and do what needs to be done to win. Address your needs. If Omar really thinks he has done this in the off-season then he may not be the GM the team needs. If his hands are tied by ownership then maybe they are not committed to winning. It has been a long time since the Mets have won a world championship and just surrounding the team with players from 1986 alone will not make the 2010 Mets a winning team.
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