The Mets’ recent winning streak (all of four games) was enough to get the natives restless and insist that Omar Minaya make good on his promise that the Mets are “buyers” rather than sellers.
As the clock ticks down, one must wonder if indeed the Mets will “buy” before the deadline — and if they do, will it be for the right reasons?
This season is smelling a lot like 2004 — the last of the Art Howe years.
On July 31, 2004, the Mets were in fourth place (just ahead of the Expos) and 8 games behind the league-leading Braves. Jim Duquette was the lame-duck GM at the time, and desperate to save the season — as well as his job. The Wilpons kept stammering about “meaningful games in September”, and Duquette pulled the trigger on an array of moves in the final days before the trade deadline. I’ll refresh your memory:
Acquired RHP Kris Benson and IF Jeff Keppinger from Pittsburgh in exchange for 3B Ty Wigginton, IF Jose Bautista and RHP Matt Peterson.
Acquired RHP Victor Zambrano and RHP Bartolome Fortunato from Tampa Bay in exchange for LHP Scott Kazmir and RHP Jose Diaz.
In case you forgot, those two pitchers had little impact on the team’s performance. By the end of the season, the team finished in fourth place, just ahead of the Expos, and 25 games behind the NL East Champion Braves. Did Fred and Jeff say “meaningful” or “meaningless” ?
Similarly, this year, the Mets appear to still “be in it”. Maybe all they need to do is acquire one or two players, and, combined with the return of the “cavalry”, they can pull off a miracle.
Also similar is Minaya’s situation, in comparison to Duquette’s back then. It’s not bad enough that the Mets have choked away a postseason appearance two years in a row, not bad enough that they’re currently in second-to-last and ten games behind, not bad enough that their farms system is a shambles, but on top of all that, Minaya made more of a mockery of the Mets’ Mickey Mouse operation by verbally attacking a journalist at a press conference. If all those issues aren’t enough to put Minaya on thin ice, nothing is.
So, knowing that a poor finish by the Mets could finish Minaya’s career as a GM (who else would hire him after all this? XM / Sirius maybe, to team with Duquette), will he make a desperation deal, as Duquette did?
Let’s hope that ticking is indeed a clock, and not a bomb …
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.