This week there’s been far too much buzz about the fact that postseason superstar Nelson Cruz was once property of the Mets — only to be sent away for a “spare part” when he was a raw and slow-to-develop 19-year-old.
(Hat tip to MetsToday commenter “Mic” for inspiring this post.)
Add in the obvious connection to Rangers President Nolan Ryan (argh! Jim Friggin Fregosi!) and it’s a lamenting week of self-loathing for Mets fans, wondering what might have been had the GM at the time of whatever-bad deal-you-want-to-bring-up not been so goshdarn stupid!
Hold that thought for a moment; let the anger and remorse flow through your body. Now consider some of these other “what ifs” …
What if they hadn’t traded Kris Benson for John Maine and Jorge Julio (who in turn became Orlando Hernandez)? Sure, Maine and El Duque weren’t around very long, but do the Mets get to the 2006 postseason without them?
Have I made my point?
Sure, the Mets have made some terrible personnel decisions in their history — some real doozies — when it came to sending away young or minor league players. But they’ve also made some stunningly brilliant deals as well, tapping that same resource of unknown talent. Did it all even out? That’s hard to judge, but at the very least, step out of that “what coulda been” hot tub time machine, and adjust the dial so that it also takes into account the deals that worked out quite well for the Metropolitans. Looking at the franchise’s history more objectively, you might find that they have been just as inept as any other MLB organization when it comes to giving away raw young talent. Just ask a Yankee fan about the Fred McGriff for Dale Murray deal, or the Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps trade. Or a Cubs fan about the Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock deal. Or a Mariners fan about the memories of Heathcliff Slocumb, who was obtained for a minor league battery named Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Bad deals happen to every team, and more than once — not just to the Mets.
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.