Tuesday, June 17, 2008


So it seems Omar finally gave in to his demons (and the carping of the ravenous & frothing N.Y. Sports press) and fired Willie. I'm hardly Willie-supporter number one, so don't look here for a passionate defense of the Mets erstwhile mellow manager.

I come to bury Omar, not to praise Willie.

Omar also fired Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto (ostensibly related to the Mets current 13 rank in the NL in Lead-Taking Off First (LTOF)).

Nor do I come to praise The Jacket or the Nietoaster.

I come only to say . . .

. . . FIRE OMAR.

The Mets problem, put very simply, is they're a .500 team. They're not an underachieving team, they're not an un-hustling team, nor are they a not-trying, nor un-pop-up-running, nor un-grit-and-dirt-and-un-doin'-it-the-old-fashioned-way team either.

Instead, they are exactly what the standings show them to be: a .500 ballclub, with a run differential after 69 games of +9. Maybe, you could argue, they should be 35-34. So because they're underperforming Pythag by a game it's not the GM's fault?

Let's review, shall we. The Mets have a slightly better-than-middle-of-the-pack offense and a slightly-worse-than-middle-of-the-pack ERA through 69 games. They play in a pitchers' park. Their O is a little above average and their D a little below. Guess we could say they're one or two position players and a few pitchers short of where we'd like them to be.

And who, may I ask, is responsible for that shortage?

(Other than Tom Nieto.)

Omar, of course. Why aren't they scoring more runs? Partly because they have a 400 year-old first baseman who can't run the bases, refuses to field ground balls, no longer jots notes after his many strikeouts, and sports a anchoresque .321 OBP. Oh, and did I mention that he's also on-pace for 21 HR and 75 RBI and costs over $100 billion dollars a season?

What would the alternative be, you ask? How about Mike Jacobs, the fella (along with Yusmeiro Petit) for whom the Marlins gave the Mets Mr. Delgado? Sure he was markedly inferior in 2006, but the Mets would have won the NL East that year with Ed Kranepool at first. The 2006 version of Ed Kranepool. And this year, despite an atrocious .277 OBP, Jacobs has a .542 slugging percentage. And he costs under half a million per season.

And what could the Mets have done with that additional $12, 13, 14 million? Well, we haven't gotten to the pitching yet.

And I'm not even gonna talk about Castillo/Easley/Valentin or whatever at 2B. Nor Brian Schneider at C. Nahhhhhhhh.

I'm gonna point to another of Omar's signature moves: the only man on earth older than Delgado, and someone who seems to care about as much: Moises "The Human DL" Alou.

When Omar decided to take a flier on the man who can't fly, he was 40 years-old and had played 221 games over the previous two seasons. Omar paid him $7.5 M for 87 games in 2007. His hitting streak notwithstanding, he grounded into 13 double plays in that half-season and was the defensive wizard in LF when the Mets pitchers gave up 17 hits a game en route to last season's historic collapse.

And Omar thought to himself, as he engineered the 2008 Mets, "why not bring back this ancient bag of bones and see what he can do?" And what has he done? Played 15 games, forcing the team with the highest payroll East of the East River to play Endy Chavez, Damion Easley, Angel Pagan, Fernando Tatis, Nick Evans, and the 2006 version of Ed Kranepool at the ultimate hitter's position (well, except for 1B).

Picture this: Mike Jacobs and his 16 home runs. And let's just draw a rough sketch of a 30 year-old left fielder hitting 250/350/450, who can field sorta ok. Brad Wilkerson was available on the free agent market and last year he earned less than $5 M. (Or even think of Jack Cust, he of the career .400 OBP and the $300,000 salary as an example of what a creative GM can do). Think of (a) the saved dollars, to spend on pitching, and (b) the increased run totals to spend on wins.

Just imagine it.

Then wake up from your dream and picture Omar raining twenties onto Billy Wagner as he shakes his money-maker to "Enter Sandman."

Nauseous yet? Good, that was my plan.

'Cause Omar also signed Country to his $10.5 M contract. Is he an excellent closer? Yeah, I guess, as long as you don't count pressure games, playoff games, games when the score is tied, or games when the scapegoat manager is hanging from the 20th story window of the team's hotel. Other than that, sure.

Or put it another way. If the Mets had spent $2 M a year for . . . any pitcher not named Wagner or Hoffman, would the 2006 playoffs have ended differently? Was Wagner's 16.88 ERA against the Cards guilded by his high salary? Was his horrendous HR given up to Taguchi somehow more valuable than it would have been if, say, Heath Bell gave it up? Did Wagner's stretch run last year prevent the collapse? (I mean, a 5.25 ERA in August & September when your team is trying to hang on to the division isn't that bad, is it?)

Anyhow, the point here isn't to attack Wagner, it's to attack OMAR, the man who wasted all that money on Wagner, as he has on Delgado and Alou. So they have no money left to pursue legitimate starters!

Instead, we get Pelfrey and Figueroa and Vargas. Just like last year we had Park and Brian Lawrence. And Pelfrey.

And in 2006 we had LimaTime! and Soler and Trachsel and the 2006 version of Ed Kranepool (even though he had a sweet 46 MPH change-up that he could drop on the opposing pitcher once in a while).

Do you see a pattern here??? Jeez, it's a friggin debacle when you look at it in the rearview. If the Mets had Jacobs at 1B, Brad Wilkerson in LF, and Heath Bell at "closer" (he of the <$400,000 in 2007) they'd have had an additional $20 to $25 million to spend on starting pitching and bullpen help this season. That's enough for 3-6 pitchers, easy. Via free agency, via trade, whatever. The money was there . . . except it wasn't, because it's in Wagner's and Delgado's and Alou's bank accounts.

And instead, the Mets are one game under .500, they have an old, injured team, and Jerry Manuel is their manager.

Because Willie, the man that Omar hired, just got fired.

Fire Omar.

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Blogger Toast said...

Then wake up from your dream and picture Omar raining twenties onto Billy Wagner as he shakes his money-maker to "Enter Sandman."


8:15 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hate to break it to you (and I really hate to say anything good about Wags), but Country used "Enter Sandman" before Mo did.

About the only thing in his career that puts him ahead of Riviera.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Exactly right -- good work.

Somebody has to answer for Santino!


8:22 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Somebody has to answer for Santino!

I guess Omar didn't consider Willie to be a wartime manager.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

Rickey's sentiments exacty. Omar put this shitacular team together and Omar should take the fall for it. Not a good day to be a Mets fan...

8:38 AM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

Nice job Mike.

I had to re-open my blog to post about this shite.

9:51 AM  
Blogger George said...

Completely agree with you, Mike. Although you could add how nice it would be to have Jesus Flores behind the plate. But, of course, Omar lost him as a Rule 5 so he could protect the only person older than Alou, so he could have a pinch hitter 40 times a year.

And I have to admit, looking at the Mets left field mess, that Bonds guy looks mighty attractive. Especially to a GM. I mean, if it didn't work you could blame it on chemistry.

12:31 PM  
Blogger MetFanMac said...

You raised plenty of valid points, but Minaya is no Jim Duquette, or Even Steve Phillips. Firing him or Randolph is/was not the answer, at least not at this point.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done,you nailed it. And Omar will go, the firing fiasco sealed the deal. Thank God for that, the Wilpons need the push. This debacle has them ranked beneath the Dolans in team ownership.


12:10 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

This debacle has them ranked beneath the Dolans in team ownership.

Not quite.

5:42 PM  

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