By Barry Duchan
Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of new articles Barry will be writing on Mets second basemen for this site. - M.S.
The combination of Robin Ventura at third base and Edgardo Alfonzo at second worked quite nicely for the Mets from 1999 to 2001, but the Mets felt that Ventura was at the end of his road and thought a change was in order for 2002. Either a new third baseman was needed or Alfonzo could move back to third and a new second baseman had to be acquired.
Had the Mets kept either Jeff Kent or Fernando Vina, they would have been much better off, but most baseball observers agreed that getting perennial all-star and golden glover Roberto Alomar from Cleveland was a no-brainer. Despite the fact that bringing a veteran star to the Mets inevitably backfired, the overwhelming consensus was that Alomar was still in his prime and would team with Rey Ordonez to make up one of the great DP combinations in Major League history. Unlike Baerga, Alomar gave no signs of having lost much before coming to the Mets, but it seemed that from the day he reported to spring training that he was a shadow of the player he had been for many years.
Not only was Alomar disappointing with the bat, but his skills on defense eroded in a hurry. He seemed to have no enthusiasm for the game or the team and it was just a matter of time before the fans would run him out of town. The Mets gave up a package of players for Alomar, none of whom did much for Cleveland, and that made it all a little easier to swallow, but there was no way to get around the fact that this was a disastrous mistake.
When the Mets finally dumped Alomar, sending him to the White Sox in July of 2003 for 3 minor leaguers, they gave some playing time to young players like Marco Scutaro and Danny Garcia. At the time of the White Sox deal, there was some talk that the Mets would get minor league infielder Aaron Miles, who the White Sox had no plans for, as part of the package. That would have been pretty good as Miles as turned out to be a decent big league second baseman, but instead the Mets went for a Class A infielder named Andrew Salvo who never developed.
This sad chapter in Mets' second base history would soon be followed by yet another. The Kaz Matsui/ Jose Reyes saga was coming up.
Part 1 - A History of Mistakes
Part 2 - The Sixties
Part 3 - The Seventies and Eighties
Part 4 - Gregg Jefferies
Part 5 - Jeff Kent
Part 6 - The Carlos Baerga era/error
Part 7 - Roberto Alomar - Current Article
Part 8 - 2004 - 2005
Part 9 - 2006 - 2008
Part 10 - The Future