Tag: omar minaya

Cliff Lee and The Great Pretenders

Now that Cliff Lee is wearing a Texas Rangers uniform, it is becoming clear that the Mets were never a serious contender in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes:

The Mets were never seriously involved in trade discussions for Cliff Lee, a person familiar with the situation said Friday, and the primary reason was the Mariners’ request that they include Ike Davis in any package for the former Cy Young Award winner. (David Lennon, Newsday)

We’ve been saying the same thing all along. Everyone we spoke to that had any knowledge of the situation felt that the Mets were never going to land Cliff Lee because Davis and Niese were considered off-limits since they are already major contributors to the big league club. Beyond that – and despite their insistence to the contrary – the Mets didn’t have the prospects or the cash. They weren’t even close and they knew it all along.

The Great Pretenders

So why did the Mets pretend they had a shot? There really is no tactical advantage to be gained from faking it when every other MLB team knows you are not a serious contender for a trade target. Do you think the Cubs were going to drop their asking price for Ted Lilly because they were worried the Mets would land Cliff Lee instead? Yeah, right… The Cubs knew the Mets had no shot at Lee.

Yet, the fanbase believed the Mets had a shot all along. Throughout the Lee saga, the Mets were happy to be considered ‘in the hunt’ for the prized southpaw because it kept fans believing that there was a chance they would wake up one morning and find out their team was a serious World Series contender. So the Mets milked the misperception of the situation by their fans for everything it was worth.


Is Omar Faking a Lee-gasm?

The Mets have been very vocal in their interest in acquiring Cliff Lee. They’ve made the usual statements about being unwilling to trade “top prospects” to acquire him, but if you believe the Mets, the interest is there.

However, recent reports indicate that:

  1. The Mets may be out of cash
  2. The Mets are interested in cheaper options, like Ted Lilly.
  3. Other teams are more willing to trade top prospects just to rent Lee for the pennant race – specifically, the Twins and the Rays.

Now, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting that the Mets don’t seem very serious about Lee at all. RotoWorld thinks the Mets may be stringing their fans along for the month of July – hoping to keep their hopes up until Cliff Lee lands with another team.


Minaya: Beltran At Least One Week Away

Despite rumblings that Carlos Beltran could be back sometime this week, it seems like Beltran is still at least one week away from returning:

“Somewhere, in about a week’s time, we are going to evaluate him again,” GM Omar Minaya said Monday. Until that time, Beltran will not advance beyond the Single-A St. Lucie Mets.  (NY Daily News)

Meanwhile, Angel Pagan will likely return to the starting lineup tonight.


Amazin’ Speed: Intentional or Accidental?

Andy Martino of the Daily News says the Mets were built for Citi Field:

Buried underneath the Mets offensive explosion Tuesday night was a possible reason for their home dominance this season: “We didn’t hit any home runs yesterday, and we scored 14 runs,” observed Jose Reyes, a few hours before hitting a home run, the hypocrite.

In that blowout, and last night save for Reyes’ blast, the Mets wore down the Tigers with an assault of singles, doubles, triples and stolen bases, the perfect skill set for cavernous Citi Field, where the Mets are 26-10 before last night’s game. The Mets are 21-7 in their last 28 games at home, the top record in baseball during that span.

“We know what it takes to be a successful team here,” said David Wright. “Our team is built around winning in a big ballpark. We’ve got speed, and guys who know how to run the bases.” (Daily News)

It’s hard to argue with the win-loss record. The Mets are certainly running and winning at home – ALOT. And it’s a good thing.

But were the Mets really built around speed? Does Omar Minaya deserve credit for recognizing the opportunities created by Citi Field and building a team based around speed? Or did it just kind of happen that way?

Let’s break it down!

Here is last night’s lineup:

1. Jose Reyes SS
2. Angel Pagan CF
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Jason Bay LF
6. Jeff Francoeur RF
7. Henry Blanco C
8. Ruben Tejada 2B

1, 2, 3 – Reyes, Pagan, Wright

Obviously, much of the team’s speed is coming from the top three spots in the order. But Reyes and Wright have been a big part of the team’s overall offensive strategy for years, so you can’t really point to the presence of either to prove the Mets built this team around speed. Pagan’s presence in the lineup is a double accident – he was initially slated to play behind Gary Matthews Jr. until Carlos Beltran came back. Even now, MetsBlog is reporting the Mets are considering dealing Pagan to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. In other words, the Mets didn’t have plans for Pagan and still don’t seem to value his presence in the lineup for the long-term.

4, 5, 6 – Davis, Bay, Francoeur

Here’s where it gets interesting. Davis started the season in AAA and may not have seen MLB action for months if Mike Jacobs had performed. Jacobs of course, is a dead pull power hitter with no speed whatsoever. Davis doesn’t have much speed either, but he’s a cleanup hitter…

Bay was the big name that Omar Minaya went after this winter. He has flashed some speed in his career and he usually can be counted on in the 10-15 SB range. To his credit, Jerry Manuel has been sending Bay often this season, as he already has 10 steals on the year. But as far as giving Omar credit for bringing in Bay for his speed, it’s not accurate.

Francoeur is not a speed threat, but he already has a career-high 7 stolen bases this season. Again, if anyone deserves credit for this, it is Jerry Manuel.

7, 8 – Blanco, Tejada

Henry Blanco was filling in for Rod Barajas. Both were brought in this offseason and neither is a threat on the basepaths, but, then again, they are catchers.

Ruben Tejada stole 19 bases in AA last season, but he has yet to steal a base this season. It should also be noted that despite his natural speed, Tejada probably would have spent the year in the minors if Luis Castillo was healthy.


The way I see it, Omar didn’t bring in any speed this season and should not be given credit here. The only speed in this Mets lineup is here for one of three reasons:

  1. Existing Speed (Reyes/Wright)
  2. SB Created by Jerry Manuel (Francoeur/Bay)
  3. Accidental Speed Brought on By Injury (Pagan/Tejada)

The Goal is Mediocrity

Last June, I jumped all over Jerry Manuel for his goal of winning 50% of the Mets ballgames.

Now I feel kind of bad, because that rather modest winning percentage is, in fact, the organizational goal. Jerry was only pushing his team toward the expectations set by his bosses. Sorry, Jerry — my misunderstanding.

See these quotes by Omar Minaya, from the Daily News (hat tip to loyal MetsToday reader “gary s”):

“The home stand, we had an opportunity to be 4-2,” Minaya added. “I think we showed some fight, that we’ll battle and come from behind. We need to get more clutch hits. I thought the pen did a good job and the starters held their own.

“It’s early in the year. One week you have one concern, the next week you have another. You always like to be around .500 and we have a tough road trip. But we got Jose Reyes back. … If we had won (Sunday), we would’ve ended the home stand at .500.

“I feel good that we’re going to win some games.”

Apparently, “some games” equals about 80 or so by season’s end. Hmm … I’m not sure that’ll be enough to put the Mets into the postseason. Though, it might fool some Mets fans into thinking that their team is “playing meaningful games in September”.

My guess is that Omar and Co. are looking at the past NL Championships in Mets’ history, in particular the NL crown won in 1973, when the team went 82-80. Perhaps they point to that season as evidence that a .500 team can go to the playoffs.

And perhaps, their next move is to coax Rusty Staub, Don Hahn, George Stone, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, et al, out of retirement.


Henry Blanco is a Backup

henry-blanco-foldedAccording to Mets GM Omar Minaya, Henry Blanco is a backup catcher.

And you thought Minaya didn’t know things.

Unfortunately, Minaya also announced that the Mets’ starting catching position would be a competition between Omir Santos and Josh Thole, both of whom are also backup catchers. So maybe Omar only knows some things.

If this is really the way the Mets think about the backstop position, it might have made sense to sign veteran free-agent Mike Sweeney and have him platoon with Mike Jacobs behind the plate. Both Mikes started their careers as catchers, both would be at least as good defensively as Santos/Thole, and both would have a better chance of providing offensive production that approaches the best that Jerry Grote ever mustered.

It might be different if either Thole or Santos were remarkable defensively — you could live with substandard offense. But if you’re going to hit like Charlie O’Brien, you darn well better catch like Charlie O’Brien.

My apologies to the Kool-Aid drinking Mets fans who believe Thole will hit better than .240, and/or think Santos is going to duplicate his surprising offensive “prowess” of 2009.

At this point the Mets may as well sign Jose Molina and make him the starter. He’ll at least give them a strength on one side of the ball … and it’ll give the Mets an excuse to apply Tony LaRussa’s strategy of hitting the pitcher eighth.