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Omar For President

Adam WarnerThursday, December 7, 2006
By Adam Warner

Editor's Note: This is Adam Warner's first submission to this blog. - M.S.

The Mets have had a terrific offseason in my humble opinion. Why dat? Because it is much about what you don't do as what you do. And in this December of Salary Madness, any long term signing avoided is a plus.

Suppose I listed 2 anonymous pitchers with the following stat line from last year.

Pitcher A; 15-13, 4.48 E.R.A., 7.52 K/9, 1.98 K/BB, .256 BA against.

Pitcher B: 6-5. 3.60 E.R.A., 7.10 K/9, 2.15 K/BB, .212 BA against.

Pitcher A is Ted Lilly, and just signed for 4 years and $40 million. Pitcher B is John Maine. And going further, their stats are virtually identical in terms of their innings per start, pitches per inning et. al..

The only difference is that Maine only pitched half a season. And it took the Mets a Lima or two to discover him. Lilly went 186 innings, something Maine may not be up to until 2008. On the other hand, Lilly is 30, and what you see it what you get. Maine is 25 and has a world of upside.

But that's not my point. Rather, that Omar's shrewd trading over the past year and simple recognition that inhouse options are always available for certain slots, has obviated the need to wildly overpay for utterly ordinary starters like Lilly and Gil Meche.

Not to mention assembling a nice setup group of (as of now) Heilman, Sanchez, Burgos, Feliciano, Vargas and maybe Mota for not much more than the cost of Chad Bradford.

And avoiding these horrible contracts gives the Mets more leeway to ultimately bring in a Barry Zito.

Will Zito be overpaid? Wildly. And it's unclear whether the Mets will match the Rangers big offer, or whether Zito takes less to come East.

But here's the real kicker. Most of these teams paying silly money are going to find themselves nowhere near the playoffs come July. And be ready to sell off some assets at 50 cents on the dollar to contenders in order to set themselves up to overspend again next offseason.

Bottom line is that I love the philosophy Omar has employed so far. Don't pay up for the back end of the rotation or middle of the bullpen. Lock in the young guns. Cost certainty, and plenty of cash in reserve ready to pounce.

About Adam: I am a professional options trader, and financial writer. I pen the Daily Options Report blog and contribute to numerous other sites.

I'm a 41 year old huge Mets (and football Giants) fan since the mid 70's. I trek out to Shea every Opening Day, and a few other times a year, from the Jersey burbs

I'm a "non-doctrinaire" stats junky. And by that I mean I follow it, but certainly don't swear by it.

Comments (8)

Very nice work!!!

Indeed this is Omar's budgetary MO. Indeed he has overpaid for Beltran, Pedro and Wags....at the time.

I think Omar's quandry in Zito is his budget structure. Where does Zito fit in with Pedro, Glavine and Co. Also with the Phils, Cubs and Dodgers upgrades what to do.

Well done, Adam, and welcome.

That nice set-up group you referenced now officially includes Guillermo Mota. I wonder if he'll get as many strikes as Steve Howe got with the Yankees. Somehow, I think that was his first and last.

I don't believe the Mets need him so badly that they had no choice but to sign him. Am I wrong here?

Nice first post. You pretty much nailed it. Great job


Just annoying when I see that daily tweak on ESPN or Murray Chass about the Mets relative inactivity. I really think Omar has it exactly right. You just don't pay big bucks for back of the rotation or middle bullpen, it makes no sense.

Making a deal for the sake of having made a deal used to be SOP on both sides of New York. We know more will happen; there's just no false urgency to the next transaction(s).

One of the big pluses to enjoying a bit of success is that there's no need to feel like keeping up with the Steinbrenners. I like that.

Again beautifull use of statistics:

To address a question (my own) Where will Zito slot?
Right now we have a glut of (potential) starters;
Pedro (out)

Did I miss anyone?

A. I like Maine and Ollie covering the #4 and #5 positions. Possibly
moving up if Vargas wins the #5 starter.
B. El Duque had a strong July-Aug. But was hardly a top starter. He was erratic going long into games but also got lit up. Again as I preach often...he is a nice 6th starter and fill in foor Petey, but his age and track record recomend him for relief/spot starter/rotation insurance.
C. That leads to Zito. Again as Glavine leaves I see Zito ascending into that role, providing an off speed, LH, top starter. One who is never on the DL.
D.I also agree that Maine or Ollie is a candidate to be packaged in a trade if Zito is signed.

I'm all aboard the basic premise of Omar for President. He is a cut above. But the comparing of Maine to Lilly is a little disingenuous. While we can say Lilly is being overpaid, he's just benefitting from a larger "mo-money mo-mediocrity" trend. But he's an established slightly-above-league-average starter, pitching primarily in the AL, Maine has gone half a season, with his success only coming in the NL. And for his upside to be compared to "a world" may be a stretch. I'm more inclined to say a large city. He's a fastball pitcher without a dominant fastball.

I'm a little surprised at how easy it's been for us to embrace Mota. He's a steroid user. He gave up big runs in the playoffs. He's only been on the team a couple months. I was surprised he got two years.

But I'm just nitpicking. All in all Minaya has been a godsend. And his "minor" deals have been where he really has proven his worth. In Omar We Trust.

yeah, my real point isn't som much that John Maine is the be-all and end-all. You're right, he had a nice half-season.

My point is more i love the philosophy of bringing in all these extra pitchers with potential via trade add-ons (Maine and Perez being Exhibits A and B) , then filling out the back of the pen and the back of the rotation with them. You get the same quality for WAY less money. And that money can go elsewhere.

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