By Mike Steffanos
I was somewhat shocked when I noticed today it's been 2 full weeks since I last posted to this blog. Although I felt that I needed a break from the Mets at the end of the season, I never intended to take this much time off.
I've been putting a lot of time into wrapping up some large projects in the yard of our house. I'm mostly done with those, and expect to be posting 3 or 4 times a week this off-season. I've already started working on a somewhat long piece recapping the season and touching on what I feel went wrong this year, but realized it might take me forever to finish it. I think I'll go the route of shorter pieces on specific topics. For now, here are a few assorted thoughts:
The TV "Home" of the Mets
Two weeks later, I still find it hard to believe that SNY chose not to do any pre- or post-game coverage on the final day of the season, despite the fact that everything was riding on it. My Mom, who still listens to Mike and the Mad Dog, tells me that Chris Russo was on Sunday ripping in to SNY for this. It's not that often that Russo and I are both on the same page on any Mets topic, but I just don't think SNY took enough criticism for this -- probably because we were all so disappointed in the team itself. Other than having what is undoubtedly the best on-air talent in baseball, SNY has been very lacking in their two years of existence. I'll have more to say about this in detail at a later date, because I truly believe they need to be called out for their poor service to Mets fans. I'm only sorry that I don't have a larger forum from which to trash them.
The Reluctant Leftie
I'll never gloss over how difficult it can be to replace 200 innings. I'm not going to view Tom Glavine's 2007 season strictly based on those terrible last 3 starts. I think Tom Glavine was a decent Met in his time in New York.
Still, it's time to move on. The soap opera has gotten old. If his heart is in Atlanta, that's where he needs to be -- either as an active player or retired. Not only does the staff need to get younger, but the members have to want to be here. The Mets can't be Tom's fallback position for another year.
Oye Como Va
Yes, I know we all want a legitimate staff ace, but trading Jose Reyes and prospects for Johan Santana -- who will still need to be signed long-term -- is silly. I know that Jose had a rough second half, but a top young shortstop who will play 155+ games per season and is under contract at a pretty reasonable price for the next few seasons is worth more to this club than a great starter who will start 33-34 games per season. I saw the Buster Olney ESPN blog where he suggested that the Mets give up Reyes and more for Santana:
If the Twins look to deal him, the Angels and Dodgers and Diamondbacks might have the best collection of prospects from which to make trades. In the aftermath of the Mets' collapse, here's another thought -- Minnesota could ask for Jose Reyes in a deal, offering Santana, shortstop Jason Bartlett in return for Reyes and outfielder Carlos Gomez and at least one pitcher (Mike Pelfrey?).
Pure speculation, but it makes a lot of sense for both sides to have the conversation -- the Mets would get the kind of staff ace they need, the Twins could benefit in a big way from landing Reyes, who is already locked up to an affordable multiyear deal (he'll make a total of $18.75 million over the next three seasons, and has an $11 million option for 2011). If the team trades Santana and lands the affordable contract of Reyes, Minnesota would have enough money to re-sign Torii Hunter.
Santana is a great pitcher and won't come cheap -- which is why I don't believe he will be a New York Met next season. I disagree strongly with Buster Olney that this deal makes sense for both sides. I think this deal favors the Twins greatly, and could be a disaster for the Mets if Santana were to get hurt -- a not uncommon thing for starting pitchers. Pitching is such a precious commodity in today's game that a team like Minnesota can't trade a Johan Santana for anything less than a ridiculous amount of talent -- which is precisely why these deals are not being made any more. If anyone successfully deals for Santana, I suspect it will be a team with a farm system busting at the seams with talent -- or someone who overreaches and makes the kind of deal Olney suggested here. I just wouldn't give up Reyes and top prospects for a pitcher who will likely cost me over $100 million to keep past 2008.
In all seriousness, my largest fears of the post-apocalyptic 2007 meltdown involves the team panicking and making a series of moves like they did in Steve Phillips' last couple of years here, or in those years when those solid 1980s teams were transitioning into those 1990s laughingstocks . You could almost smell the desperation in the air during both eras. It sucks that the Mets suffered a monumental collapse in 2007, but it would suck far more if they allowed this failure to impact this club going forward. Mistakes were certainly made, and they need to be addressed, but to my mind the seeds of 2007's fiasco were sown by failing to make the right small moves, not by the lack of a big deal.