By John Strubel
Editor's Note: This is John Strubel's first submission to this blog. Many of you will remember John from the popular MetsDaily.com web site. - M.S.
This month Mets GM Omar Minaya has signed Moises Alou (40), Damian Easley (37) and re-signed Jose Valentin (37), Orlando Hernandez (37, or at least that's what the media guide says) and, before the end of the month, maybe Tom Glavine (40).
Insert SENIOR CITIZEN joke here.
Minaya's moves have Mets fans in a tizzy. Mets blogger Metsquire wrote: Omar Minaya has fallen in love with signing older players, and I'm convinced that it's now to the detriment of the team. Jose Valentin stunk at the end of the season and stunk in the playoffs - I think it's because he got tired ...
The Baseball Crank said: I'm yet again not thrilled with the Mets signing Moises Alou, which together with the money thrown at El Duque and Jose Valentin establishes a rather ominous pattern of over-investment in geriatric players (Glavine too, but Glavine's worth it) ...
The message boards on SNY.TV are cooking too.
One Met fan writes ... I have nothing against Alou but aren't we losing our minds for a bench guy at 2 million fine but to give him a starting job and stating he was to be winners for many years not just one then this does not make sense. We need a guy for this year but also for the long range and Alou is not that guy. I respect Omar and like him but I have no idea why he wants to get older and older.
Another follows ... Whew! I thought it was just me. But I'm glad to see you and so many others are wondering what's going on with Omar and his "graying of the Mets". Last year we were a team with a great blend of experience and youth. Now we seem like a team of old dudes with 3 young studs.
The athletic, youthful direction promised by Minaya has seemingly taken a right turn into an old ditch. Or, has it?
One would think after building the Mets, taking a 71-91 team in 2004 to 97-65 in 2006, fans would be more trusting, have more patience with Minaya. If the recent firestorm is any indication, that bond has not yet been established.
Minaya's track record speaks for itself. He purged a team of non-performers and aging veterans and replaced them with Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Lastings Milledge, Ramon Castro, Julio Franco, Xavier Nady, Jose Valentin, Guillermo Mota, Chad Bradford, Duaner Sanchez and John Maine.
None of them front line players, some with questionable abilities leading up to opening Day 2006, yet, they performed above and beyond expectation.
Injuries to old pitchers El Duque and Pedro left the team extremely shorthanded in the rotation during the playoffs, wrote Metsquire blogger Jeff Brohel. It's nearsighted to view Hernandez or Martinez through such lenses.
Without Pedro, there would be no Beltran ... and probably no Delgado. It is well documented at the time he was signed that the backend of Martinez' contract would be a roll of the dice. As for Hernandez, he was a steal, traded for Jorge Julio at mid-season. At times, he anchored an otherwise ailing and ineffective pitching staff. The fact that he pulled a hamstring while running is a non sequitur.
At last check the calendar reads November. The roster Minaya has compiled will not be the roster headed to Port St. Lucie in mid-February. Minaya is stockpiling pieces, ingredients.
As reported Saturday, Omar Minaya told ESPN.com: "I don't think there's enough in the free-agent market to fulfill those needs, so the only option is for trades. And I think there's going to be a lot of activity there."
Something's on the kitchen stove, it smells good and we're all hungry, but the cook says we can't see what's in the pot and hasn't revealed his secret recipe. It's a surprise.