Over the past few years, Mets General Manager has received much criticism from not only the New York Met fan base but also the media. And from his public relation disasters to his failed trades and signings, he was certainty deserving in many cases. But I have to say, after listening to Omar speak on the Boomer and Carton radio program early Thursday morning, I had a change of heart. As uneventful as the offseason was with the exception of Jason Bay, Omar Minaya more than made up for it by greatly improving the Mets over the first three months of the season. From Ike Davis to RA Dickey to Hisanori Takahashi, think about how much this team has changed since Opening Day. And then when you consider all of those questions that the media was saying would not break the Mets way, you really have to give Omar credit. He stuck with Angel Pagan who has quite frankly turned into one of the league's better players. He proved many wrong by believing in what used to be seen as a poor catching tandem between Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco. And he brought up a homegrown first baseman in Ike Davis, who has quickly turned into a fan favorite, to replace the injured Daniel Murphy. I could go on for hours about the improvements that Minaya has made to this roster, but unfortunately I only have a short blog post. Did I mention that the "fifth" starter, RA Dickey, is 6-0?
I wrote three months ago that whether you wanted to believe it or not, the Mets are a playoff team. Along with factors listed above, their "core" of Jose Reyes and David Wright are each at the top of their game right now, with Carlos Beltran supposedly returning sometime in the next couple weeks. As of Thursday, the team is eleven games over .500 and is on pace for about 94-95 games. All the pessimistic fans are now going to try and explain to me why they won't be able to keep it up through September. The injury bug will hit them again, the bullpen will collapse, and Omar won't come through at the trade deadline and will fail to acquire a big-name player to help the Mets get across the finish line.
Believe what you want, but the wild card leading and nearly first place Mets are really here until the end. I think there are a lot of good teams in the National League and it is certainly not guaranteed that they will make the playoffs, but for the first time since 2007, I'm putting my trust back into Omar's hands. I did say at the beginning of the season that the Mets have the potential to be a playoff-bound team, but I didn't envision anything like this. They are a truly enjoyable team to watch. They hit the ball to all parts of the field, they run the bases well, and they play sound defense.
Yes, there are still some issues, but there is no team in baseball that doesn't have issues. I will be very interested to see what Omar does at the deadline. Based on his discussion on the radio this morning, it seems as if he is envisioning Carlos Beltran as his mid-season acquisition. And if that's the case, so be it. I believe Oliver Perez and John Maine have pitched their last days in Met uniforms and that Dickey and Takahashi can help carry this rotation through the end of the season. And I believe the lineup is strong and will become that much stronger when Beltran returns to full form. Between those two factors, the Mets certainly have the ability to win at least forty more games and make themselves a 90+ game winning team. So for now, I am going to say thank you, Omar, you have made me proud to be a Mets fan again.
Follow Steven Hirsch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/StevenEHirsch