By Mike Steffanos
One outcome of the trade with Minnesota for Johan Santana was the depletion of pitching depth in the farm system that is close to major league ready. From the Associated Press comes the news that Omar has inked Tony Armas, Jr. to a minor league deal:
Right-hander Tony Armas agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets on Monday.
Armas was 4-5 with a 6.03 ERA in 15 starts and 16 relief appearances last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing 111 hits in 97 innings, striking out 73 and walking 38. The son of All-Star outfielder Tony Armas, he is 52-65 with a 4.62 ERA in nine major league seasons.
There was a time early this decade when Armas, who turns 30 in April, looked like a future star. Injuries ended that, but he's a solid guy and should provide some reasonable depth. Nice job by Minaya.
Also, last week the author of this piece sent me an email heads-up on it:
Just dropping this piece I wrote on AOL Fanhouse. Racism is an incendiary term, but it's not inherently EVIL. We can think along racial lines without discriminating. Omar shows that. And I think while he can't acknowledge it for fear of being lynched, it's clear he's used race and a pro-latino approach to create an environment that would compel a player like Santana to force the issue ... which is sort of different
It's an interesting, thought-provoking look at the undeniable Latinization of Los Mets:
Conventional wisdom says we would never consider race/ethnicity when filling out our roster; to do so would make you RACIST and EVIL, and subject to incarceration by the PC Police. When confronted on the subject, even Omar himself denies giving a thought to race when acquiring players. But actions speak louder than words, and you don't go from five Latinos on the team to almost half your 40 man roster in a couple years without being conscious of race.
Yet while Señor Minaya clearly has a disposition towards Latino players, he has never sacrificed talent for the sake of ethnic synergy (though some might argue Julio Franco as a stretch). With this approach Omar incorporates race into the formula, but not to the point of discrimination. And the end result is a New York Metropolatinos team with a strong sense of family and camaraderie.
Nice to read something intelligent on the subject for a change. I'd like to think of this as the article Wallace Matthews would have written if only his IQ was about 50 points higher...