Flashback 2007: Calling Bartolo Colon

While researching something else through the MetsToday archives, I happened upon several fun flashback posts from December 2007. I’m sharing them here, for skittles and giggles. Jump into your hot tub time machine and follow the links.

For one, there was the low-risk / high-reward signing of Mark Prior by the Padres. Mark Prior, of course, retired from baseball a week or so ago. The funny part about that post? The last sentence, which suggested that the Mets may be putting out calls to Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That winter, I thought Prior would be a good roll of the dice for the Mets, who were anxious to find an “ace” starter, and didn’t seem to have any worthwhile and expendable trade bait. But I REALLY had it all wrong by championing Carlos Silva as an ideal innings-eater to fill out the back of the rotation. Wow … do you remember when the Mariners signed Silva to a 4-year, $44M contract? They haven’t made as big a free-agent splash since. Oh, wait …

December 2007 was the month that the Mets signed Luis Castillo to a contract that supposedly handcuffed the organization for a half-decade (naw, the Mets’ financial problems had nothing to do with Bernie Madoff). Hindsight, though, is 20/20, and though no one considered it a great signing at the time, when you put yourself back there, at that moment, it’s somewhat understandable why the Mets gave Castillo that deal — they didn’t have many alternatives.

Remember when we dreamed of the Mets in their new stadium, sporting an athletic, All-Star outfield of Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez, and Fernando Martinez? In a December 2007 post, I argued the case for Gomez, wasn’t so impressed with LMillz, and thought that both might be moved that winter.

Hope you enjoy the brief travel in the hot tub time machine.

Mets Item of the Day

Holiday shopping? How about theNew York Mets 50th Anniversary Collector’s DVD SET? Follow the link or click on the below image to purchase from Amazon.

mets-dvd-50-set

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. DanB December 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm
    I remember Generation K. I remember the Gomez, FMart, Millage outfield. The burn from these and other prospects still stings. I am not impressed with our young pitchers until they prove themselves over at least 50 starts. Am I glad we have them? Hell yeah! But I don’t count on them. I’d be happy if just one is an ace.
  2. argonbunnies December 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    In the last 23 years, I think there’s only been one minor league Met for whom I thought “Wow! This guy’s going to be a star!” and, in fact, he was. David Wright. All my other hopes have been dashed (L-Millz .388 OBP in AAA at 21? I was a believer).

    I actually wasn’t that high on Reyes; in the minors, he was all hype and scout love without many numbers to back it up. For a long while I thought the Mets had rushed him and/or he wasn’t that good in the first place. Then 2006 happened.

    Aside from Wright’s career and Reyes’ 2006-2011, have the Mets produced any impact position players since 1990? (One could cite Hundley’s 1996, but I think steroids produced that.)

  3. Joe Janish December 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm
    It’s interesting, going back 6 years and remembering all the “hot” prospects the Mets had back then. If one can ignore hindsight, and truly put oneself there in 2007, and compare what the Mets had in the farm system then, and go back in the time machine and fast-forward to now … well, I’m not seeing anything remarkably different or better. LMillz, F-Mart, and Gomez were very raw, talented, athletic ballpayers — do the Mets have even ONE guy in their minor league system who compares to any of those three? They didn’t have any starters with “ace” written all over them, but they did have Pelfrey, who was seen as a stud by everyone in baseball.

    Guess what I’m saying is that hindsight really is 20/20, and many people have selective memories when it comes to comparing the accomplishments of the current Mets front office to the last executive team. Sure, the next argument is that Omar & Co. (but really, Jeffy) traded away most of that youth, but, we must remember that back then, the Mets were seemingly one or two pieces away from a World Series appearance, and about to enter a brand-new stadium — and that’s when most teams will go “all in.”

    Looking back 6 years is also a cautionary exercise: yes, we’d like to believe that d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, Montero, etc., will all turn into stars in a Mets uniform, but many things can change that course.

  4. meticated December 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm
    ambiorix burgos made an impact…k rod made an impact…both made lasting impressions…as fingerprints in CDIC…
    • Joe Janish December 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm
      well played
  5. meticated December 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm
    scuse,,,NCID….oops
  6. argonbunnies December 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm
    A lot of failed prospects come down to luck, but Fernando Martinez seemed to be a victim of an inept development system. His swing went from beautiful to ugly during his time in the Mets’ minors, and was never repaired.

    Milledge’s bat speed went backwards at age 22 and that never got fixed either.

    As for Gomez, he was promoted to MLB before he’d even begun trying to learn the strike zone (although the Twins repeated this mistake, so at least the Mets weren’t alone).

    One of the big hopes for a new administration was not just better drafting and less trading away young talent, but also less botched development. Have DePodesta & Co. delivered? Hard to say. The “grown your own” poster child, Brandon Nimmo, has failed to impress thus far, but still has plenty of learning to do. Montero, on the other hand, raised his stock rapidly. And maybe there’s someone who should get credit for Harvey besides Matt himself? I dunno.

    • Joe Janish December 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm
      I think Minaya gets credit for drafting Harvey in the first place. I also think that everything Harvey did up to his elbow injury, is based on Harvey — he’s a special individual, in my opinion, and as far as I know, the Mets have not hired nor consulted with any scientists that could make a significant impact on pitchers’ development. They’re like every other team in MLB in regard to pitching — my blind dog is more adept at mapping out new environments.

      Did Montero really raise his stock or did he jump to the top of the hype machine? In the meantime, what has happened to Familia, Mejia, Carson, Holt, Niesen, Merritt, Owen, McHugh, Stinson, Schwinden, et al? My point: pitching is a crapshoot as long as teams ignore science and treat it as if it’s a complete mystery. Anything that happens, positive or negative, is a combination of luck and the individual’s inner drive.

      I’m still waiting for DePodesta and Ricciardi to deliver on something. I’m extremely pessimistic about DePodesta if he truly evaluates amateurs based on stats, as has been suggested by Michael Lewis and other public reports. Ricciardi missed badly on Brad Emaus, among others. Nimmo and Cecchini may well define this current front office regime.

      • argonbunnies December 17, 2013 at 2:09 am
        In 2011, Montero entered pro ball in a rookie league, without NCAA or other high-level non-pro experience. In 2013, he pitched well in AA and AAA. I think that’s virtually the definition of raising one’s stock.

        The most interesting thing I’ve heard about the Mets minors lately: on a Mostly Mets podcast, Toby Hyde said the Mets give their minor leaguers grades on pitch selection — swinging at a first pitch that isn’t a fastball loses you points, for example. I have no idea if the specific implementation is good, but it does sound like a good way to emphasize that pitch selection is important.

        Carson, Niesen, Merritt, Owen, McHugh, Stinson and Schwinden were never expected to succeed, were they? As for Mejia and Familia, yeah, I wish the Mets had been able to better set them on paths to health and success.

  7. DanB December 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm
    There a lot of ways to spend money besides on free agents. Why did the Mets get rid of one of their low minors team (though they did reinstate it)? Why have they mistreated their minor league affliates to the point where they are stuck with Las Vegas? Why didn’t they sign more of their draft picks (before the age of hard slot money)? The Wilpons never seem interested in player development under Omar and it continues under SA.
    • Joe Janish December 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm
      Wait … you mean to suggest that the problem starts at the top? That the fish stinks from the head? 🙂
  8. DanB December 17, 2013 at 10:21 am
    AB, I like how you phrase it “specific implementation”. I still feel the Mets emphasize walks too much, specifically in RBI situations.