No More Moves for Mets?

A few days ago, Mets GM Omar Minaya announced there would not be any more “big” moves by the Mets this offseason.

Per Minaya, as quoted on

“There aren’t going to be any more big moves,” Minaya said, brushing aside any last thoughts of Manny Ramirez ending up as a Met. “We’re going to go to Spring Training with this team.”

Like you, I’ve been waiting for either a retraction of this statement, or clarification.

For example, by “moves”, does Omar mean the team won’t be moving out of Citi Field? I can understand that, since moving from Shea Stadium to Citi Field — even though it was only across the parking lot — must have been quite an endeavor. It would be silly to move again before Opening Day.

Or does he mean the AAA team won’t be moving again? They’ve already made the trek from New Orleans, LA to Buffalo, NY — that’s a much more drastic relocation than the parent club’s move.

Or can Minaya possibly be referring to “player moves”, a.k.a. “transactions” ?

Certainly, I can see that the Mets are done moving their own players, as there don’t appear to be any left on the roster that they’d want to swap, that another team would also be interested in. But does he also mean that they won’t be moving any “major” players “in” — as suggests?

Another intriguing quote by Minaya, from the same article:

“We like our team,” Minaya said. “I’m ready to go with this team. We’ve focused, we’ve put priorities in place and we’ve addressed those priorities. Our team today is better than it was at the end of last year.”

Surely, Omar can’t possibly mean that. As I look at the current 40-man roster, and the projected 25-man roster and depth chart, I’m not seeing a whole lot different from the teams that disappointed us (i.e., broke our hearts) in 2007 and 2008. For example, the starting infield and outfield is exactly the same, and the same two catchers return. The starting rotation is the same as well — Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and a host of question marks for the fifth spot. The bullpen definitely has new faces, with K-Rod replacing Billy Wagner, and J.J. Putz becoming the first real setup man the Mets have had since the Armando Benitez / John Franco days. So the eighth and ninth frames are covered, but innings five through seven will remain a chaotic mix of “matchups”.

Nowhere do I see the name “Manny Ramirez”, “Orlando Hudson”, “Juan Cruz”, or “Adam Dunn”, or any of a number of other free agents who could make a significant impact on the team’s success. Heck, I’m not even seeing “minor” additions such as Chad Cordero, Joe Beimel, Jason Isringhausen, Pudge Rodriguez, Ray Durham, Nomar Garciaparra, Bobby Abreu, or Ken Griffey. Yes, those last two names are lefthanded hitters, and the Mets lineup is already “lefty heavy”, but you tell me, who would you rather have in left field against a lefty pitcher — Fernando Tatis or Bobby Abreu? I love Tatis, but take away his torrid July and his 2008 stats are exactly in line with his career numbers — essentially, a .260 hitter with limited power who strikes out a lot. In contrast, Abreu hit .315 with an .865 OBP last year against lefthanders; that’s better than what Tatis did against everyone, and including his hot streak. And say what you want about Junior Griffey being “done” — given the choice, I’ll take my chances on Junior making a comeback over Tatis reproducing through a full season, what he did over a four-week period — or banking on Daniel Murphy doing through 550 at-bats what he did in his first 100 (note: Murphy hit .245 over the last 28 days and 59 plate appearances of the season).

Is the team really “better” because Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Endy Chavez, Damion Easley, Luis Ayala, and Argenis Reyes are gone? This would go with Jeff Wilpon’s early offseason quote that the team would improve by means of “addition through subtraction”. I’m not buying it. I honestly don’t see how the dozen or so minor subtractions make the Mets an improved team. The only difference I see is J.J. Putz handling the eighth. Everything else is essentially the same, which means that Tatis and Murphy have to play well over their heads again, Carlos Delgado has to put the team on his back and carry it again, None of the “core” players (Delgado, Wright, Reyes, Beltran) can suffer an injury, and the top three starters — Santana, Pelfrey, and Perez — will have to make all their starts and perform at least as well as last year. All that has to happen in order for the Mets to finish in second again.

Surely, this is a smoke screen thrown up by Omar Minaya — there must be another free-agent signing, or trade, about to be made. You can’t tell me that the biggest acquisitions of 2009 will be Freddy Garcia and Alex Cora (the relievers came in ’08, remember). His “I like our team” quote is distinctly similar to one he made in December, 2007 — two months BEFORE Johan Santana became a Met:

“We like our starting pitching,” he said. “We think we have good starting pitching.”

Can anyone else guess where the Mets might have wound up in 2008, had Santana not been on the club? Does fourth place sound about right? Or perhaps fifth?

Minaya was lying then, and hopefully, is lying now. For the Mets to contend in 2009 with the current roster, will require an enormous amount of luck. With the free-agent market as depressed as it is, and rock-bottom values to be had at every corner, it makes little sense to hand the season to Lady Luck. The Mets don’t necessarily have to sign Manny, but they need to spend a few dollars to push them back into the postseason conversation.


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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude February 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm
    In my opinion, as things stand now, the Mets are no better than a 3rd place team in the NL East. They had their chance at signing Lowe or trading for Javy Vazquez, which would have helped, but they balked. Jake Peavy is still alledgedly available, but the Mets haven’t even been linked as far as being interested. Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson would be huge, but I truly think the Mets would rather finish in last then spend the type of money needed to land them unless the miracle of trading Luis Castillo occurs. I’d even welcome Bobby Abreu at this point, who has always performed well against lefties and has handled NY well as a member of the Skanks. He needs not be a star player, just a consistent, .290-20-90 with an adequate glove. If that type of player can be had for, say, $5-mil, there is no excuse for Omar not to sign him, knowing that a .290-20-90 line is all but impossible for the Tatis/Murphy tandem to accomplish.

    It’s sad, but it seems like I’m going to be relegated to rooting against the Phillies rather than for the Mets in the 2009 season.

  2. eephus February 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm
    In defense of Omar and this offseason, I think he was operating on a budget the whole offseason, (not just post madoff)

    It would be fair to say that the late inning bullpen alone cost the mets at least 5 games and that problem Omar fix it a big way with the addition of the two best closers available. As for the fifth to seventh innings I think we are in a better position than last year and for a change we will have a number of arms to shuttle back and forth from the minors to patch problems as they come up, and as players get tired.
    From what I’ve read about the new stadium, we will not be able to hide bad defenders in outfield, and Dunn and Abreu’s offensive value would be greatly diminished by their negative defensive value (neither are remotely close to adequate in the field and not to mention they are both lefthanded.) Manny would fit and make them instantly a world series favorite, but he’s no bargain and would put the team over the luxury tax threshold, and could very well go all moises on us.
    I think that Omar is not just counting on Dan Murphy but also Fernando Martinez, Tatis and Evans, and from that bunch I think it would not be unreasonable to expect solid left field numbers at the end of the season. Derek lowe would have been leaps and bounds better than Oliver Perez next year, but still Atlanta overpaid, (to a greater extent than we did for perez.) and for perez’s troubles he still has more great/good starts than bad and any year could be the year he puts it together. Redding will be no worse than pedro last year and if he is Garcia/Niese won’t be. Castillo can’t be worse than he was and if he is, Murphy/Cora can plug that hole, Church even if hits at his career rate (804 OPS) will be more valuable in the lineup than he out of it, (btw last year he had only a 785OPS). Beltran should be better (no slow start, less line drives at people.)

    It shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, if we hold the line on offense and think we can (don’t forget how god awful we started) fixing the bullpen alone makes us a 90+ win team and that might be enough, but remember this team got itself in a terrible hole in the beginning of last year and had they just played the way they did in second half the whole year it would have been a very different. In fact this team has been great for a whole year (2006) a first half (2007) and second half minus a week or so(2008), I know everyone’s faith is shaken but the fundamental of this mets team are solid, and at least we finally have some youth to project and look forward to, some bad contracts coming off the books, bullpen that works, and we still believe….right….?

  3. joe February 5, 2009 at 11:59 pm
    eephus, I think you’re right about the budget. The question is, why would there have been a budget pre-Madoff? Did they see it coming? The Mets have been breaking records in regard to attendance and revenue the last four years … I don’t get it.

    Hmmm …. if the Mets won’t be able to hide bad defenders, then I do not understand your argument re: Dunn / Abreu. Do you think that Tatis / Murphy are any better defensively? If anything, they’re worse, AND they won’t produce half the offensive of either of those free agents, both of whom will come at a relative discount. So, when Tatis / Murphy hit a combined .270 with 15 HRs and 65 RBI, how much will that already substandard value be diminished by each’s terrible defense?

    Why will Beltran be better? He’s proven in his career that he only hits well when he’s not “the guy”, and has someone behind him (Delgado on fire) to take the pressure off. Further, he turns 32 in April, which is the age many players not on PEDs begin to slow down. I am hoping to the heavens that he can simply maintain the 27 / 112 / .284 pace he kept last year. And honestly, I’ll be surprised if his average is that high.

    If Omar is counting on F-Mart this year, we may as well pack it in now. Maybe that kid will be something a few years from now, but he’s nowhere near ready for MLB duty today. There’s a chance he can be adequate, but he certainly won’t be any kind of star. Think Carlos Gomez’ rookie season.

    I’m also not seeing the “youth” to look forward to. The organization is in worse shambles now than in any time in their history. Unless you’re buying into the sham that Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese are future stars, or that Nick Evans and Dan Murphy will be anything other than .270 hitters. Even if those four guys do succeed, there isn’t much else left on the farm, other than highly projectionable teenagers and questionable recent draft picks.

    It’s February, and I’ve gone too long without baseball. It makes me morbidly pessimistic and antsy. Please don’t take it personally, I’m only venting. (Creeping back from the ledge …..)

  4. kerelcooper February 6, 2009 at 12:03 am
    While the Mets have addressed their number 1 priority this offseason (the bullpen), I have to agree with isuzudude in that the Mets are no better than a 3rd place team.

    I can live with the starting rotation and the pen. I think the main issue is the Mets offense. I am not confident in Tatis/Murphy in left, who knows what we will get out of Church, Castillo is done, Delgado will be on a decline and we are going to get nothing out of the catcher spot.

    I think the offense has too many holes and I’m concerned that we will see a lack of consistency on the offensive side.

  5. isuzudude February 6, 2009 at 8:49 am
    I admire eephus’ optimism, but I concur with Joe’s synopsis. The bullpen is much improved from last year, but there are still many question marks. Will Putz stay healthy? Do we need another lefty besides Feliciano? And yes, we have the arms available in the minors to use on the shuttle bus, but in the past the Mets have had similar oppurtunities but failed to capitolize. Look at last year, for example, with Carlos Muniz, Nate Field, Brandon Knight, Ivan Maldonado and company all in AAA, the Mets had the chance to bring one of them up and send Heilman down to get him straightened out. But they stuck with Heilman all year and he never got it together. So just because the Mets have a lot of arms in the minors this year doesn’t mean they’ll have the kahonas to use them and demote a guy who’s struggling.
    I also agree 100% with Joe that you can’t pass up on Abreu or Dunn because of their defense when they will undoubtedly be better defensively than the current LF situation of Tatis/Murphy. Even if you want to say the comparison is a wash, which is a stretch, the offensive contribution of an Abreu or Dunn should blow Tatis/Murphy off the map. And even if you don’t want to pony up the cash for Abreu or Dunn, what about Andruw?
    The way I see it, the offense in 2009 is going to be an enigma. By some miracle the Mets scored the 2nd most runs in the NL last year…even more than the Phillies. And that was with a huge hole at 2B, very little offense from the catcher, mediocre offense from LF, the starting RF out for half the season, and a 1B who couldn’t hit his own weight before the allstar break. Who knows how in the world they managed to score 799 runs with all those problems, so who knows what they will do this year. It could break either way. But despite all those runs last year, the Mets still won only 89 games, and that’s because they’d routinely score a bunch of runs early on, the starting pitcher would work 5 or 6 strong innnings and tire, the bullpen would come in to blow it, and the Mets would stage a close-but-no-cigar rally in the late innings. Who’s to say that same formula won’t come in to play this year despite the additions of Putz and Krod? Johan and Pelfrey should be good for 7 strong every game, but I’m not holding my breath. But Maine, Perez, and Redding/Garcia/Neise will likely get the Mets only thru the 5th without breaking down. So that’s 3 out of every 5 games the Mets are going to be rellying on Duaner Sanchez, Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano, and Brian Stokes to get 6 outs and bridge the gap. Do you trust that group with a 1 run lead? That’s the key question and what will likely make or break the Mets season. Because regardless of how dominant Putz and Krod might be, they can’t help the Mets win if the Mets don’t have the lead in the 8th and 9th innings.
  6. Micalpalyn February 6, 2009 at 11:32 am
    Agreed. Omar CANNOT stand pat.