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The New York Mets Don't Need Miguel Tejada, Either

Mike SteffanosSunday, December 11, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I mentioned earlier today how tired I am of how Mets beat writers work Manny Ramirez' name into every story about the Mets. That was probably unfair, the reporters are just doing their job in giving us what we want, and a significant number of us want Manny Ramirez -- come hell or high water.

Now a new superstar player appears to be available, and the inevitable has happened. Already Miguel Tejada and the New York Mets are being linked in print. In a story in today's Washington Post, Jorge Arangure Jr. states that the "New York Mets are rumored to be involved" in discussions with the Orioles concerning the talented shortstop.

Now Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal has a piece handicapping which team might land Tejada. Although he has the Mets at 15-1 behind the Cubs (3-1), Angels (6-1) and Red Sox (10-1), Rosenthal has this to say about the Mets possibly acquiring the Baltimore shortstop:

Why not? They're collecting every other high-priced player.

For starters, the Orioles would want back shortstop Jose Reyes and right-hander Kris Benson. If the Mets included a young outfielder like Victor Diaz, a deal might be possible. The Orioles could add reliever Jorge Julio to the package to get yet another player, preferably a pitching prospect.

First of all, though I like Ken Rosenthal as a baseball writer, I'm getting annoyed with his silly statements such as saying the Mets are collecting every other high-priced player. Upon what, exactly, do you base that statement, Mr. Rosenthal? You're too good of a writer to spout nonsense like that.

The package he suggests for Tejada sounds reasonable, though. That doesn't mean that it makes any sense. If Omar Minaya makes a move like this, he's completely lost me. Reyes has his warts, but he's fine -- and he's still cheap. With Tejada and his salary the Mets lose more payroll flexibility, and I don't believe what they gain in offense is worth it. It's time to concentrate on pitching if we're serious about winning.

I remember years ago, during the really dark days of the Mets franchise in the late 70s, I was into the Strat-O-Matic baseball game. One year I decided to make some "improvements" to the Mets team by basically replacing the sorry players they had with a bunch of the top players in the game. I think there was maybe 3 or 4 Mets left on the team when I was finished tweaking the roster. That team won a lot of games for a while, but I got bored with it. It wasn't really the Mets, it was just a collection of talent.

Well, real baseball, unlike S-O-M, is a little more complicated, and whether a team put together like that could really gel is a good question. And believe me, my pseudo-Mets had a way better bullpen than this one has. I know that any time I listen to local sports talk radio I'm going to hear plenty of Mets fans lusting after Miguel Tejada, hoping for a "can't miss" team to dominate the National League. Me, I lust for a team that can hold a lead late in the game, and is still competitive 5 years from now.

This team still has some real needs, and Tejada isn't one of them. Let's get real.

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