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Mets Hot Stove: Benson Still a Met

Mike SteffanosWednesday, December 7, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

For jaded Mets fans, it was just another "slow" day at the winter meetings today. A couple of items that might interest you:

Journal News: Anna might not be going to KC after all
In his Reporter's Notebook, Peter Abraham imparts some interesting news to Mets fans:

The idea of the Mets sending Kris Benson to Kansas City seems too have cooled off. And Oakland will hold on to Barry Zito for now.

We passed along Ed Coleman's impression earlier that Billy Beane was testing the waters more than anything else, and apparently the Benson to the Royals deal fell through due to KC's unwillingness to part with both Jeremy Affeldt and Mike MacDougal.

Abraham makes an interesting observation about Omar Minaya when answering an email from someone that wanted to know what Omar's belief regarding holding onto young talent:

Remember this, Omar was the Mets' third general manager in a span of about 15 months when he got hired last fall. One of his mentors, Steve Phillips, was fired. One his friends, Jim Duquette, got demoted. If your bosses were that impatient, wouldn't you feel the need to produce right away? He certainly recognizes the value of young players. But he also recognizes the value of keeping his job.

I've been one to question some of Omar's moves, but I still need to see the sum total of what he does this off-season before I make my final determination. I can't really kill him for anything he's done so far, though, even though my philosophy is somewhat different than his.

Mets.com: Willie on the batting order
To satisfy our insatiable demand for Mets news on even the quietest of days, Marty Noble fills us in on what the batting order might look like in 2006. Other than admitting the likelihood of Delgado batting cleanup and Reyes leading off, Willie was unwilling to commit to much at this stage. He told Noble that he enjoys the flexibility that Paul Lo Duca brings to a lineup:

I like that about this team; we have guys that are very interchangeable, guys that can hit from the No. 2 to No. 6 spot. And Lo Duca, because he handles the bat really well and knows how to make contact, can hit second or he can hit sixth.

He's a guy who's not going to give you a lot of power, of course, but he's a good RBI guy. I like the fact that he gives you that added dimension of being able to put the ball in play.

Willie also opined that other players added to the flexibility:

David Wright is a guy you can juggle around a little bit. He proved he can hit in different spots last year. He's a young kid learning how to hit, and he showed that he can make adjustments and that he can handle different spots. Same with Cliff, even Carlos. Everyone talks about Carlos has to hit second because stats say he should hit second. You know, you just play. And each year, you mature, you get better at what you do, and he'll get more and more comfortable hitting in certain spots.

Personally, I like the idea that Willie isn't going to automatically move Beltran to the two slot, and is willing to challenge him to grow into wherever he bats in the lineup. He also mentioned that he has challenged Victor Diaz to concentrate on his defense; nice to hear that Victor is still in the running for some regular playing time.

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Correction on Benson

According to Ken Rosenthal, the reason that the Benson to the Royal trade fell through was that the Royals were unwilling to part with Mike MacDougal at all.

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