With the start of the 2008 baseball season one week away for our beloved Mets, I wanted my first post to focus on the last time I will talk about last season’s historic collapse and the person I blame most for it….Omar Minaya.
Sure, Willie deserves more than his fair share of the blame but that will come in due time should the team struggle out of the gate to begin this coming season. However, Minaya is my target for the extreme lack of organizational depth we were witness to last September. Phil Humber? Mike Pelfrey? Brian Lawrence????? Yep, these were guys making critical starts and pitching critical innings for us in September.
I would expect any GM to be able to acquire quality players if his boss opens up the checkbook as the Wilpons did in allowing Minaya to sign Pedro, Beltran & Wagner. When an owner does that it’s not difficult to turn a 90-loss team into a 90-win team. What is proving much more difficult for Minaya to do is to take a playoff contending team and make it into a championship contending team.
A big reason for that might be his complete fumbling of the bullpen. Heath Bell wasn’t good enough to be a set up guy for us but he’s now shutting things down in San Diego leading up to Hoffman, while we wonder if Duaner Sanchez can get back to his 2006 pre-cab ride role. Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom were forces in the 1st half for Florida last year before injuries befell them. Don’t forget about the wonderful three-year contract given to Schoenweiss and the confusing two-year guaranteed contract given to Mota on the heels of his steroids suspension.
There have been other examples and I just shudder at the state of our organizational depth now that we acquired Santana (a trade which had to be made and which I was in complete favor of). We’re already seeing this problem rear it’s ugly head with Alou and Delgado. We have infielders playing outfield and are depending on journeyman like Angel Pagan and Brady Clark to fill the void.
Things better break right for us this year because there isn’t much in terms of reinforcement on the way. Minaya gets the benefit of the Santana trade to buy him more time and Willie will be the sacrificial lamb should things not go well this season. However, I’ll continue shining the light on the fringe moves that Minaya makes or doesn’t make that completes this team and gives them what they need to get over the hump.