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Questions of Restraint

Dave MillsTuesday, December 15, 2009
By Dave Mills


With the torrid pace of signings and offers that send shivers down the spines of real baseball buffs, let the word go forth to all Mets fans and especially to those who toil in the Mets front office--restrain thyself from the excesses of the few.

Eight years and $128 million for Matt Holliday? What? He's a butcher in the OF (exemplified against the Dodgers in the playoffs) and not exactly a speed demon.

Five years and $85 million for John Lackey, who has only once won more than 14 games in a season and whose lifetime ERA is 3.81? Almost makes the Derek Lowe signing for $60 million look like a bargain.

Doc Halladay for $20 million a year at ages 34, 35 and 36 (plus cutting loose Cliff Lee and a prospect or two)?

For the Mets to enter the fray on these overpriced acquisitions and signings will do nothing more than personify desperation.

Restraint is demanded by those of us who know that 2009 was an aberration. The Mets were beset by a string of injuries that no team, no matter how deep their system, could have possibly overcome. The possibility of such roster devastation next season, or during any future campaign, is so improbable even Vegas would be reluctant to make book.

Why can't we all take a deep breath and not exacerbate the situation? Our verbal restraint may actually keep a skittish Omar Minaya from making classic errors of misjudgment in a last-ditch effort to save his job.

This scribe (and a couple of others), has proposed a series of fixes that can yield positive results without sending away our quality prospects and taking on huge salaries.

Why can't we give Chris Carter a chance to platoon with a Jonny Gomes and deliver some offensive firepower in LF, especially with Angel Pagan in reserve and Fernando Martinez and Nick Evans at AAA?

Why can't Daniel Murphy be teamed with Garrett Atkins or Mark DeRosa, either of whom can also spell David Wright from time to time? With talent like Ike Davis on the farm, this strategy would be sensible.

Why can't we let Omir Santos and Henry Blanco (Santana's personal catcher) handle the receiving duties knowing that Josh Thole and Chris Coste are 90 minutes away in Buffalo?

Why can't we sign a Sheets and/or Wang and see if Maine, Pelfrey and Perez can each revisit their best year of the past two? With Niese, Nieve and Misch in the mix of Show-worthy prospects, is it a risk not worth taking? Perhaps spending $16 million to sign Aroldis Chapman would even prove worthwhile in a year or two?

Can a Kelvim Escobar, Matt Capps, Nieve or even Maine be the 8th Inning answer? Why not?

All of these questions can be answered more prudently than just tossing big bucks and too many years at Jason Bay, Joel Pinero and others. Good teams need good role players.

Those of us who observed Gil Hodges' resourceful and contemplative management style understand why he was able to nurture a championship. Gil understood and quietly communicated the role of each player on his roster. In case it has been lost in the 40 intervening years, that 1969 team had excellent starting pitching, a good (but not great bullpen), above average defense and not much else. At four positions (1B/2B/3B/RF), strict righty/lefty platoons were employed, yet Hodges still found playing time for his lefty swinging catcher (JC Martin) and backup switch-hitting outfielder (Rod Gaspar) to stay sharp and contribute both offensively and defensively. No manager ever got more out of a roster.

While the hoard of pundits like to tell us that the Mets oversell and overvalue their prospects, the thought of retaining Davis, Thole, Niese, F-Mart, Mejia, Nieuwenhuis, Holt, Flores, Havens and Tejada warms the cockles of my heart. No less exciting is the opportunity to see Reyes, Wright, Murphy, Pelfrey and Parnell try to climb the organizational ladder to some sort of greatness, or even just consistency.

If these reasonable questions are not answered in the 2010 campaign, the list of free agents that follows will certainly present far more options for 2011. That list includes: Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, AJ Pierzynski, Carl Crawford, Jason Werth, Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, Brandon Webb, Javier Vazquez, Jeremy Affeldt and Huston Street. And the Highlanders and Red Sox can only afford about two apiece.

About Dave: Dave Mills, born in Kew Gardens, Queens, the day after Willie Mays' circus catch in the 1954 World Series, is a devout Met fan since 1962. The first game he attended was Mets v. Reds at the Polo Grounds on September 14, 1962. With the game tied 9-9 in the 9th, Choo Choo ("Bub") Coleman hit a game-winning walkoff HR down the rightfield line on to the tin roof. The sound is indelibly etched in his memory! Dave lives on Oahu, where he markets and writes about golf. His company, HawaiiGolfDeals.com is the leading deliverer of golfers to the Aloha State. His take on Golf in Australia is in the Oct/Nov issue of Fairways & Greens Magazine.

Comments (11)

Thank you for that reasonable (not panic-infested) blog. You are one of the very few who are making any sense.

Incredible article. I would love to feature this on The Real Dirty Mets Blog.

I've been one of the screaming, pissed off Met fans looking for the team to stop bull-shytting us and lay out a realistic plan for the future. What you are saying is quite reasonable and if the Met braintrust came at the fan base with logic like that, I could live with it. But no, they try and pretend that they want to spend money and be players while watching the Phils, Yanks, Braves, and others make move after move. The reality is that the Mets would probably rather do exactly what you are saying in this article, but are freaked out over season ticket sales, which are WAY down. I think that if they were to level with the fans, perhaps send a letter to season ticket holders explaining what their situation actually and what they plan to do about it, it would go much further than perpetrating this fraud.

Fine analysis, Mike. Still, I believe the Mets must identify and obtain a Number 2 pitcher behind Johan and that no one from the group of Escobar, Piniero, Garland & Doug Davis have the ability to step into that role.

A Number 2 pitcher will have to come via the trade route. Do you have any ideas about who may be available, and for whom ?

I like the message. But frankly I VASTLY disagree with your content.

On a dark july day...that we are pretty much over, there was an epic trade;

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/news/040730kazmir.html

Consequently EVERYONE except Jeff wilpon was fired. Enter Omar. That offseason he added One Carlos Beltran, Pedro martinez and a whole bunch of mud that he flung at Shea stadium walls. In the end the Mets WERE respectable making an improbable run at post season, only to be single-handedly derailed by Braden Looper. After falling short by a game or less for 2 straight yrs, The Mets were finally injury smitten....which happens.

So here we sit and Metsworld is in rebuilding mould...

Sorry Dave.(.AND JEFF WILPON) BIG DIFFERENCE. This is NOT 2005. We have ALL-STARS...5 (FIVE) of them. K-rod, Santana, D.Wright Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. In 2005 we had NOTHING but an aged Piazza.

Fast forward to Mic's chain of thought. (Somewhat) ala the Yanks last year I think Omar (or Jeff W.) need to get aggressive. I'd LOVE to see Jason BAY.

http://www.bmets.com/viewarticle.asp?a=1969

The thought of this former Met prodigy, back with old team mates Reyes and Wright (?) would be thrilling. As for yrs...I'd rather take Bay for 5 than Holliday for 8. As for your later arguement about next yrs FA market ...how many yrs will THEY want? Cliff Lee for 8 yrs? would Carl Crawford be better than Bay? (ans. we dont know).


Then we need arms. I like your idea. Beddard, Sheets are some high risk high reward options obviously not getting 4-5 yr deals. BUT if healthy will pair with Santana nicely. My note to blog is that the guy who put the Phils over in 2008 was Joe Blanton...not exactly an ace, then last yr came Cliff Lee..from scrap heap (near non-tender)to ace.

I'd like to see the prospects too. But how often do Mets prospects make the big club? As it is I think Niese will overtake Pelfrey, and I think F-mart is still heir apparent in CF. But let them grow. I think Thole needs 3 yrs. Possibly 2 as the 2nd catcher. He has not been catching that long. Ike Davis will start at 1st. In the future Jenry and Jeury's could contend.

That brings me to our 'suspects'. Pagan appears to have value as a starting CF on a cost conscious team, ditto Omir Santos. Let them go and collect the prospects. Agreed Blanco could be Santana's receiver, but I think we need a better primary receiver than Blanco or Santos.

Metsfans: Sorry but we cant just be in rebuild mode. It does not work. If we keep dreaming about an All-star team of prospects we might end up with generation K over and over and over.

IF we were to rebuild then (Jeff Wilpon) do it right..Note Miggy Cabrera netted Florida 3 probable ALL STARS and nuclei in Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Burke Badenhop. So what would Carlos Beltran or Jose Reyes net? Either way lets not assin us to an 81-81 record in perpetuity.


well i read the blog and its the first one with (reason) the others are just gut reactions the mets should spend less and cut prices a bit
load the seats, allow the bleacher seat for people on ss and unemployment go with who you have

Thank you Dave, I needed that. Can we send some copyies to the Met front office. I would love to hear a plan from them. I feel we are like a ship with no rudder.Going around in circles.

Mr. Mills,

Again, excellent work. Imagine Carl Crawford batting somewhere between Reyes, Wright & Beltran. His speed on the base paths would be secondary to his defense in a gigantic Citi Field. If the Mets were to trade prospects for someone this year, it should be Crawford.

Roach

I LOVE this new blog site - "Dave Mills' Mets".

Seriously, though, Dave, your four-post streak is putting pressure on the rest of us Friends of Mike to bring something to the table. I'll be there soon. It may not be as insightful as your excellent work has been these last few weeks, but I'll give it a shot.

yeah

I feel like this will be a transition year. I dont expect miracles... I have come to grips with it and think it will be a 500 year that starts out tough then gets better after the house is cleared out.. Just hope theres no more bad moves that dont seem to help. Bay seems like a scared move. The move is to trade Pelfrey for a better pitcher (maybee you can get Marlins guy) and sign another free agent pitcher like Garland..

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