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I Don’t Want Manny!

Mike SteffanosMonday, August 29, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

Giants 4 - Mets 1

I spent some time thinking about what I would write about yesterday's stinker by the bay. I still don't know what to say. I think, along with the Mets, I just want to turn the page on this weekend and look to what's coming up.

One thing the Mets proved this weekend is that their lack of consistent offense has a decent shot to sink their playoff hopes, running neck and neck with their bullpen. And I know as well as any Mets fan that the lack of one more consistent middle-of-the-order bat that is their most pressing offensive need. I know there is a lot of buzz that the Mets can get Manny during the off-season. I should probably be excited by this, but I think it would be a huge mistake.

Don't get me wrong, unlike Alfonso Soriano (let's leave him for another day), I think Manny would actually dramatically help the offense. He'll take a lot of pressure off of Floyd, Wright and especially Beltran. He hits good pitchers. We'll score more runs and endure fewer dreary games like the last two. Pedro will have his sidekick back. It's all good...

Well, except that he's going to be 34 next year and he's not exactly devoted to physical fitness. You're betting a lot of payroll against Father Time that Manny is still worth anything close to what he's getting over the remaining years of that contract. We've seen with Piazza how dramatically fast the fall-off can happen when the bat slows down.

Except that Manny is a terrible outfielder. The Mets pitchers don't throw a lot of strikeouts. They rely on their fielders a great deal. Not only is Manny a much worse fielder than Cliff Floyd, when you moved Floyd to Right Field to accommodate Manny you hurt the team in 2 positions. You're going to be giving back quite a few of those extra runs you score.

Except that even if the Red Sox eat a lot of the money, the Mets are going to have a lot of payroll tied up in Pedro, Beltran and Manny. We're not the Yankees, after spending that much money on 3 guys you're going to have to do it on the cheap in other places (see the Florida Marlins). Don't look for much help from your minor leagues, as you have traded top prospects to acquire Manny.

I've seen this before, folks. Too many times the Mets give lip service to growing their own talent and then spend it on other teams' problems. Forget about building from within, even though that's the only sustainable model for success in any place outside of the Bronx - and where would they have been during that run without Jeter, Bernie, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte? Let's keep chasing those big names so we can repeat the success of the past 15 years.

Or could we maybe find creative ways to improve our offense next year without Manny or Soriano? Could we look to acquire players that don't hurt our defense, and that we don't have to overpay to get. Then maybe being in the playoff picture could stop being a rare treat and be the norm instead.

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