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How you going to keep them down on the farm?

Mike SteffanosFriday, December 16, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I read an excellent article last week that I'd like to recommend to all of you, Mets: Not Ignoring Farm on FlushingsFuture.com. If you're not familiar with the site, Flushings Future is an independent web site that covers the Mets farm system. They started last year, and suffered a couple of glitches with their web site's content management. Everything seems to be working out for them now, and I look forward to seeing what they do in 2006. If you have any interest in learning more about the future of the Mets, you'll certainly want to bookmark FlushingsFuture.com.

I will not summarize Jordan Zakarin's article for you. I recommend you take the time to read it. One thing I will say is that, although I agree with much of what he says in the article, Mr. Zakarin seems to have more faith in the management of the Mets than I do. I guess I'm somewhat jaded after all these years of following this team.

I remember when Frank Cashen took over the team when I was in my early twenties I came to have a lot of confidence in the way he was running the club. He drafted and traded for almost all the players that formed the nucleus of the 1986 champions. For several years, most of his moves were good ones.

But Cashen was old school, and just couldn't understand the mentality of many of his own players. He started getting rid of the wrong guys and keeping the wrong guys. By the time he stepped down his legacy with the Mets had taken quite a beating. His two lieutenants that followed him, Al Harazin and Joe McIlvaine, didn't help that legacy, either.

Since the time of Frank Cashen we've seen the farm system seriously devalued, to the point where it's often ranked as one of the worst in baseball. The farm system has bounced back in recent years in quality of players produced, but not quantity. The farm system is not deep in talent, and that needs to be changed.

Omar's short track record in Montreal was more about trading away young talent than developing it. Granted, he was in a unique position with Les Expos, trying to turn around a dying franchise. However, nothing he's done so far gives me strong confidence that he's going to be the man that will finally develop a top farm system for the Mets. I like Omar, and I respect him, but the only way he will earn my trust is to produce, as Frank Cashen did once long ago.

Anyway, that's where I'm coming from -- a bitter, cynical old bastard, to be sure.

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