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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll get you started.
Amazin' Avenue: Ben Johnson
Marc Normandin contributes a profile of the recently acquired outfielder.