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Omar Must Work Harder To Earn Wallace Matthews' Respect

Mike SteffanosSunday, November 26, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Sorry I haven't posted more over the holiday weekend. There really hasn't been anything going on that has motivated me to sit down and write. When a Wallace Matthews silly rant is the Mets mainstream media highlight of that 4 day span, even the die-hards like myself take a step back. And no, I'm not linking to Wally's nasty little love letter to Omar. The worst thing you can do when a child throws a tantrum is to pay attention to him, and I think that holds true for columnists, too.

If you missed it, GC from Can't Stop The Bleeding had a pretty good answer for Matthews:

If Wally has a problem with the Alou deal, that's fair enough, and his points about the vet-heavy roster are well taken. But Mets fans should be giving thanks today that Omar showed no interest in bidding for Soriano's services. With the exception of Adam Dunn, Soriano made more errors (11) in LF than anyone else in the majors. As noted earlier, the Cubs have invested $138 million in a guy who struck out 160 times last season - anyone who believes Soriano is going to develop plate discipline at the age of 31 is kidding themselves.

Zito at $15 million+ per year is a risk, no doubt. But the Mets already made a major investment in "a comparitively young outfielder" while "banking on seven years of high-level production." His name is Carlos Beltran, and not only is he younger than Soriano, his all-around skills compare pretty favorably. Moises Alou will provide a fraction of Soriano's offensive production (at a fraction of the price), but he's clearly a stop-gap option rather than the foundation of the franchise.

Besides, a mixture of homegrown, younger talent (substitute Wright, Reyes, Heilman for Jeter, Posada and Rivera) plus a smattering of aging mercenaries sounds suspiciously like the formula that helped the ballclub across town win 9 consecutive division championships.

I couldn't have said it any better, so I won't bother. As regular readers already know, I'm going to begin taking content contributions from others for this blog. Dave "DaMetsman in Honolulu" has been a commenter here, and is thinking about contributing content next year. He emailed me an opinion on Matthews' column that's also worth sharing:

Wallace Matthews is once again entertaining, but a bit short of facts and circumstance. While Omar did sign Moises Alou, he has also picked up a young and talented right-handed hitting Ben Johnson to compliment the young and extremely talented Endy Chavez, who the Mets are expected to resign. Both outfielders, who play all three positions more than competently, are likely to platoon with the older corner outfielders and offer speed on the bases and late-inning defensive prowess, not to mention overall depth. And with Lastings Milledge and a couple of youths named Martinez and Gomez at least a year or two away, Alou is just the type of hitter who will keep opposing managers on their toes about whether to toss too many southpaws against the boys from Flushing next season.

The signing of Valentin and El Duque are similar situations. Two talented youths (A. Hernandez and Gotay) will be at Triple A. Either or both could push Valentin for the 2B job during the next two seasons, but Valentin is more of a sure thing and proved he is a good glove and baserunner as well as a potent bat. With Pelfrey, Humber, Bannister, Soler, Vargas all at Triple A, there is nothing wrong with El Duque holding one of their places for a year or two. Other Minaya pitching acquisitions since the end of October have been young arms like Adkins, Vargas, Bostick and Standridge.

Omar is smart like a fox and has a nucleus of terrific young players that should keep the Mets in contention for many years, but a few oldsters in the mix for a manager like Willie, who knows how and likes to use his entire roster, shows who knows best. And by the way, who said "knowledge is power?"

I can remember back to a time when it was generally acknowledged that professional sports journalists were the experts the rest of us looked to. Now there seem to be an awful lot of guys like Wallace Matthews who would rather shock you and piss you off than inform you. I find this quite ironic in an era when other journalists seem to delight in telling the fans that we have no class. Enough of this subject.

Actually, I find it fascinating in this wildly out of control, hyper-inflated free agent market to try to figure out what Omar Minaya might do to plug the team's holes without giving a terrible contract to anyone. Given the contracts signed by Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and Gary Matthews Jr. already, you wonder if Scott Boras might just not be able to pry a 7-year contract for Barry Zito at more than $15 million per. This is one of those off-seasons that seems to favor the creative over the free-spending, and Minaya would qualify in the creative category this year. If you missed it, I have a review of what Omar has done so far posted. I'm sure the rumors and such will begin to fly around again tomorrow. We had a nice, quiet weekend, but the stove will soon be firing again at high heat.

A note to writers who wish to contribute content
I've emailed back to everyone who has written to me expressing interest in writing for this blog. If you haven't contacted me yet but would be interested in contributing content, e-mail me at mikesmets@att.net, and I'll get you started.

Amazin' Avenue: Ben Johnson
Marc Normandin contributes a profile of the recently acquired outfielder.

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Comments (9)

Nice job not linking the article by Matthews, as it isn't even worth your time. The interesting thing about more and more writers now is that they actually have to write shocking things to get any attention from readers. With the advancement of the internet, the common fan has access to more and more information then they ever had before, so they look to the papers for less of that information. And even with blogs, like your own, they can even write and express their feelings. So they don't need the papers to do it for them. So it's articles like the one you mentioned that get the most attention from fans now, which is their intention from the beginning. It's why we see more and more articles on players personal lives and things of that nature.

Keep up the good work on the blog

Your comment on Wallace, that he seems more interested in shocking that in informing his readers, led to a thought:

Could this tendency be a product of the explosion of baseball informtion on the internet? Could all the insight we web surfers have at our fingertips leave some of the traditionl sports columnists thinking that they have but one place to take their reportage, that being the sensational, the confrontative?

It's not such a stretch. The Post and the News have competed for the low ground in celebrity news and politics frequently since I moved to New York; often they both seem to think that the low road is the way to sell papers. Of course newspaper reading is generally in decline nationwide. Sports news is not the only news available from the internet; the pressure is really on the papers to figure out a winning strategy, and quickly.

Said premise also provides grounds for understanding some of the incomprehensible things that pass for sporting news on WFAN, such as that nonsensicle "Sandman" business.

What it does for me is reinforce my preference of getting my sports news from the Guys Who Care, the internet writers. There are so many good ones, why should I bother with hyperbole from the tabloids?

If I am even somewhat representative of the greater reading public, then those newspaper columnists are making a fatal mistake.

I hate Wally Matthews.
The man is like Mike and the Mad Dog in print. Looks to roil the fans.
And of course, it works, as noted by the posts here, and elsewhere.
I keep telling myself to not get all worked up, but then he writes again, and I respond.

ED and others hooked on people like Matthews, you have to go cold turkey like some of us, myself included, from Mike and The Mad Dog. When they get to you that your foaming at the mouth in rage its time to kick the habit.There are much better things to read, like this blog and others like it.One day at a time. It will lead you to relaxed information.

Hojo4Life - I think the best writers avoid doing that type of thing, but Matthews doesn't qualify as one of those.
dd - As I said above, I really believe the best writers avoid that type of article. I think it really is the ones who have the least insight to offer who choose to go this route.
Ed - exactly.
Rev - Maybe I should call the site "Zen Mets".

You actually update more than most. The off season has usually been a vaccum.

To paraphrase/use someone else's cliche; Omar is assembling alot of goo and seeing what sticks. Lindstrom has been slow in progressing and Vargas has shown Dontrelle-esque glimpses and is insurance for Ollie. Heck, dare I compare to Kazmir in his projections.

The comments about Valentin (as per last off season) designate him a supersub. Does that mean that Gotay/Ahern are the real 2B candidates?

On Ben Johnson: There is talk that Green could go as Omar now has the OFer he has long desired. That leaves Gomez/Milledge/Johnson and Endy vying for the remaining slots. ...Not bad. Plus the way the $$$ are looking Omar can really outbid anyone for Zito, especially if Glavine walks. The situation is now looking eerily similar to Al Leiter's removal without the Acrimony. Again there was a buyout then a new (lowball) proposal (based on the buyout money being included in the new salary). And Leiter took money from Luria instead. I think Glavine could go to a non NY, not Atlanta team...possibly the Phils or Boston. Just some thoughts.

Ed - Lindstrom will turn 27 in February, so he's not exactly an old timer. Plus you can't teach guys triple-digit fastballs. I actually liked Owens better. We'll see how it turns out. I think you'll have the scoop of the off-season if Glavine plays anywhere besides Atlanta or NY.

Ollie just turned 25 this past July, Maine is similar. Lindstrom at 27, Owens at 28 are still projects , who (and this is MY major issue) would be exposed in the rule V draft if not on the 40 man. Both may (but most likely) would not help the big club. I think Vargas is akin to Maine and will be a find...a victim of the fact the Marlins have such a glut of high ceiling young pitchers.

Hear about Bradford? (see Metsblog). I take the picks.

We signed Bradford after the non tender deadline for free to get two picks is a scoop. Plus I still think the Mets in Vargas, Pelfrey and other potential FA could pick up more BP help.

As for the O's it seems other teams are using the game shortening strategy. But they are paying dearly. Baez, and Walker were expensive. Plus that drives up the price/value of an arm like Heilman. No I'm not running him away.....but i'm considering selling high.

Here's my arguement; 12 man staff. possible 18-20 man pool counting AAA/AA. Pool:

Zito (?)
Glavine/? (Meche?)/
El Duque
Humber/Bannister/Vargas/ alay Soler/Victor Zambrano/Pedro

Relief: Mota, Heilman, Sanchez, Wagner, Pelfrey. (add Vargas, Humber). Juan Padilla, Pedro Feliciano, Jason Standridge, Dave williams.

1.Humber or Pelfrey will be a big factor. I think either or both comes out like John Maine did last yr. I think a combo of these two starting plus Dave Williams and Vargas keeps the seat warm for petey.
2. I'd like to see Pelfrey in the mould of Brandon McCarthy starting the season in the pen. Humber was also bright in his short stint in the pen. Standridge was an astute pick up. I dont know much about Adkins.

In short I'm not losing sleep over Chad Bradford.

I'm not interested in debating the trade any further. As for Bradford, I think they'd like him back if possible, but if someone gives him a 3-4 year contract they should say goodbye and take the picks.

I'd like to see Humber and Pelfrey start the year in New Orleans and come on later in the season. I could see a scenario where Williams starts the year as a starter and then gives way to one of those guys and moves to the bullpen. Because they want Pelfrey to develop all of his pitches I think it's unlikely, but possible, he is used as a reliever. Humber might work in that role at first as he already has polished secondary pitches.

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