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Mets Hot Stove: Olney Kidding?

Mike SteffanosMonday, November 7, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

Checking around through the New York papers and a couple of other places, there was so little new to talk about that nobody even had an article on the Mets today. Somewhat disappointing, but not unexpected. Hmmm... there is a reason why most people turn their attention away from baseball at this time of year...

Still, as a Met fan there is no reason to despair, because Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog has some fresh stuff up there everyday for maniacs like me that can't get enough. Shaking with withdrawal symptoms after coming up empty on the Daily News, New York Post, Newsday and the Times' web sites, I clicked over to MetsBlog, and breathed a sigh of relief. Matt had new stuff!!!!!!

Of most interest to me was a posting from last night about something Buster Olney had written at ESPN insider regarding his opinion as to what the Mets should do in the off-season. It was interesting, and I wouldn't have come across it anywhere else, since I am too cheap to subscribe to ESPN insider, though I was so intrigued that I actually signed up for a 30 day free trial to read the rest of it.

I know there are many Met fans that don't like Buster Olney. They feel he has sold his soul to the evil empire. For me, he doesn't bother me too much, but when he writes or talks about the Mets I often find myself unimpressed. The suggestions that he had in his column did nothing to change my mind. Olney feels that the Mets are in a position to win next year if they upgrade significantly this off-season, no shocker there.

Bullpen Buster is recommending that we sign the best closer available and at least 2 other middle relievers via free agency. I agree with the need to get a closer, and at least one set-up guy in, but I question whether the Mets can afford to bring in 2 other guys for the pen and still afford to plug other holes.

Catcher Buster feels we have to bring in either Bengie Molina or Ramon Hernandez. That's groundbreaking stuff.

Trade Cliff Floyd This at least has some argument. Cliff gets hurt a lot, and there are many who feel that after a season in which he managed to stay in one piece, his value is as high as it will ever be. I think that is a legitimate debate here. My problem here is that with the Mets desperately in need of another middle of the order bat, Buster thinks we should trade Floyd for "a couple of good hard-throwing arms."

Again, I think the Mets have to be creative with upgrading the bullpen, and it has occurred to me that they should try to bring in some young power arms that our own farm system has failed to produce. Still, when you need more help with the lineup, does it really make sense to trade a legitimate RBI guy for relief pitching prospects? I wouldn't do it.

Buster recommends bringing in Jacques Jones to replace Floyd in left. Jones isn't a bad player, but he's been in Minnesota, and that ain't New York. And that's the other part of this equation. Cliff has proved that he can handle the pressure at Shea, anyone you might bring in hasn't. Just ask Carlos Beltran about it. So yes, if you keep Cliff you run the risk of him getting hurt again, but don't forget that trading him has risks, too.

And finally about Cliff, Olney makes the statement that Cliff "never has fit in Shea Stadium, where outfield defense is very much necessary." Now this is one of my pet peeves. This is Mike and the Mad Dog stuff: you make a silly statement of "fact" that only proves how little you really watch the Mets, Buster. If Cliff proved one thing this year, it is that he is a solid left fielder when he stays healthy.

Beltran in Right? Buster makes the point that Cameron is a better CF than Beltran, and if they are both on the team nest season they should switch positions. Look, we all know he's right here, and we all know that with all of the money invested in Beltran for the next 6 seasons, versus the commitment to Cameron for one more year, there is no way in hell this move will be made. They are not going to crap on Beltran's ego. Life is like that, not everything that makes sense will happen.

You know what, Olney's primary job in writing his column is to get people talking, and he certainly accomplished that. My problem isn't really with him, it's with those who somehow feel that Buster's opinions live on a higher plane than the opinions of the rest of us. I actually know people that will start a statement with "Buster Olney says" and have the same hushed reverence in their voice that a Christian has when quoting sacred scripture. Anyway, I'm outta here -- hope I remember to cancel my ESPN insider subscription before I actually have to pay for it...

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