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What's Cooking?

John StrubelTuesday, November 28, 2006
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.

About John: John Strubel has been freelance writing and broadcasting for 21 years.

Strubel started his broadcasting career in upstate New York including stints in Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs and Albany. He also worked in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Wilmington, Greenville and Greensboro, North Carolina and now Charleston, South Carolina.

Strubel began his writing career as a journalism major at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh as editor of the campus newspaper, Cardinal Points. He has gone on to write public relations for the now defunct Glens Falls Tigers (Glens Falls, New York) and various human interest stories for the Glens Falls Post-Star newspaper. Strubel has recently begun writing freelance sports and human interest stories for At the Yard magazine, The Baptist Courier and CSU magazine, the campus news magazine for the private Christian university, Charleston Southern University.

In addition to writing and radio, Strubel spent three years as the public address announcer for the Charleston RiverDogs (1999-2002), then Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

John maintains a daily sports blog at JohnStrubel.com.

Comments (5)

When you look at the moves Omar has made you have to look in the "Now" and the "Future". The signing of Moises Alou gives the Mets a better balanced line-up than they had last year. It also gives the Mets a chance for their 3 young outfield studs to develope in the minors. Bench players like Valentin and Easley are usually older players. Remember, Ben Johnson is very young and has a great upside. I don't think any Mets fan want to be one year wonders. I think the moves made so far have the Mets on track to be competitive for a long time like the Braves and Yankees. I am confident Zito will be coming and will be an 18 game winner in the NL. Remember after El Duque and maybe Glavine the Mets have a young staff comprised of power arms. Maine, Perez, Pelfrey, Humber, Bannister all throw hard. On another note, I would resign Mota and he will be like a trading deadline pickup. If you can get Pedro and Mota back after the All-Star break the Mets should be sitting pretty for the rest of the season.

Welcome John, I enjoyed your input today but I say Amen to Christophers comment and agree with his "now' and "future" outlook on the Mets. As a senior citizen maybe I got a shot at this club yet.Thanks "O Man" for the field of dreams,ah yes, center field in Shea #22 Rev Al. Oh well time to get up and get going. Maybe 3rd base coach, I don't know if I can run out to center field.

Exactly my point ... as I said:

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.

You can't kneejerk react to Minaya's moves. He has a plan.

I beg to differ or at least avert your eyes;

A. I think Omar HAS his core. Or at least 75% of it. And his CORE has mostly young >30yr olds. He is introducing his future stars slowly with a curve of 3yrs to maturity from time of intro. ie It took Reyes, Heilman, Seo, approx 3yrs to cement into the line up. Ideally toward July August pelfrey, Bannister, Lastings,Humber should be staples with 2008 being the yr they can open the season as Mets. Add Ahern and Gotay who also will be 2+ yrs post ML debut.

B. The OLD players are Stop gaps. Solid pros with good leadership skills. (Glavine/Hernandez) like Tom Berenger's character from ML.

c. Then there's the star core; The big salary FA ala Pedro, Beltran and Delgado.

2. There is a whisper on the Braves blogs that Glavine will be going there for $8M. If so ? We gave 4M toward his salary. We will get a pick out of this possibly too because we can still offer arbitration. But then again remember Kenny Rogers. The net result is it frees up Zito money or Ted Lilly money.

3. The Mets (Omar)are (enamored) with a couple of guys including Mulder, Batista Meche and Weaver. Anyone of which can be a stop gap behind (Zito). Frankly with the Foxsports notion than Pedro could be back late next yr I'm happy to start with Zito and Ollie plus Maine and El Duque next yr. As well as one of Batista, Weaver (name your Fa) or Bannister& Humber . Note Zito and Ollie were opening day starters last yr. I dont doubt Javy Vazquez or Fred Garcia are in Omars calculations.

4. Kind of to answer a Mike S question. Pelfrey can develop his 3rd/4th pitch on the side with moinsieur Jacket and display them periodically.

5. Another great read: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6218276
It should read: 'Please take the phone away from anyone named Duquette'. ..():

Ed - Working on pitches and using them in games aren't the same. I might be wrong, but I'd be shocked if the Mets didn't at least allow Pelfrey to pitch 2-3 months in New Orleans as a starter.

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