So, last night I was watching Bob Costas’ “Studio 42″ interview with Pedro Martinez. One of the discussion points was Pedro’s leaving Boston for the Mets, and Martinez made very clear that he wanted very much to stay in Boston, and would have passed on Omar Minaya’s 4-year offer for a 3-year deal from the Red Sox, had Larry Lucchino not “waited till the last minute” / presented the contract so late in the process (according to Pedro, it was within 15 minutes before the deadline).
I vaguely remembered this turn of events, but hearing it again — and now with the benefit of hindsight — I really have to wonder: what if Lucchino had made that 3-year offer earlier, and Pedro re-signed with the Bosox? How might that have changed the course of history for the New York Mets?
This is a significant question, because had Pedro not signed, there’s a pretty good chance that Carlos Beltran would not have signed, either (perhaps, Beltran would have signed with the Yankees, which opens up a whole new can of worms). And if neither Martinez nor Beltran signed with the Mets during that 2004-2005 offseason, Minaya most likely would have continued following the course of rebuilding the organization from the inside — i.e., through drafting and development.
Certainly, the magic of 2006 would not have occurred, but maybe — just maybe — the pain and suffering Mets fans are enduring now would have occurred from 2005-2009, when instead of signing people like Billy Wagner, Moises Alou, and Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets would have been stocking up on #1 picks. For those who remember that far back, that WAS the original plan when Minaya was hired — to scout, draft, and develop, per the Wilpons’ public announcement of a pledge to get “younger and more athletic” the day they fired Steve Phillips. (Yes, I’m aware there was a year+ of Jim Duquette before Minaya was hired, but the plan was essentially the same; it all changed when Pedro was signed.)
What do you think? Do you agree that Pedro was the first domino to fall that changed the course of the organization? What do you think might have happened had Pedro returned to Boston instead of signing with the Mets? Pose your thoughts in the comments.
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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.