The Victor Zambrano Era … also known as “After Kazmir” (or, “AK”), has come to an official close, as VZ has signed a minor-league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
(deep sigh of relief)
Finally, Mets fans can move on, and simply scratch off the trading away of Scott Kazmir as another bungled move of the past. Yes, we’ll still feel an ache every time Kazmir throws a three-hit shutout, but it should hurt less frequently now that the reminder of Victor Zambrano has been removed from the team. Instead of thinking about Kazmir every time we see Zambrano in a Met uniform, we’ll only be reminded when the Devil Rays are in town to play the Yankees, or when he does something remarkable enough to be featured on ESPN Baseball Tonight. Chances are pretty good that the Kazmir deal will not pain us nearly as much as the Nolan Ryan blunder.
Think about it … do any of us really feel a pang of anger every time Jason Isringhausen saves a game? Did it bother us so much when Carl Everett was in his prime? Or when Jeff Kent was named NL MVP while in a San Francisco Giants’ uniform? Of course not. Sure, we may have felt a bit of pain, but the fact that there weren’t any reminders of those deals in our face every day, had a lot to do with the recovery.
For example, do you even remember who Billy Taylor was? (Hint: not the Billy Taylor who used to be running back for the NY Giants.) He was the closer we received in return for Izzy … and yes he was a bust as much as Zambrano. John Hudek was the pitcher obtained for Everett. Carlos Baerga was the spoils when Kent was absconded to Cleveland. Ridding ourselves of the busts quickly, in turn shortened the healing process.
Consider this: if Jason Middlebrook or Steve Reed were still on the Mets, we’d likely be cringing every time Jason Bay hit a homer. If Mike Bordick were still playing shortstop, we’d still be kicking ourselves every time Melvin Mora spun a web gem. Instead, we barely even remember these guys were Mets property.
In contrast, every time a TV camera or photograph caught Zambrano in a Mets uniform, all we could think about was Kazmir. With Zambrano’s departure, the reminder is gone. In due time, we’ll bag Kazmir along with Isringhausen, Mora, Kent, Everett, Bay, Ryan, Terence Long, AJ Burnett, Paul Wilson, Kevin Mitchell, Jose Oquendo, Jeff Reardon, Mike Scott, Lenny Dykstra, Amos Otis, and every other young prospect that blossomed away from Shea. Eventually, we forgot what all those players looked like in Mets caps (except Dykstra, of course).
Goodbye and god bless, Victor Zambrano. Mets fans, let the healing begin.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.