Monday, January 25, 2010

The Mets need to re-tool.

In Kansas City it is often referred to as "the process," a term Dayton Moore seems to have pilfered from the scrap heap of baseball in the 2000s or as others call it...Moneyball. In most places "the process" simply refers to the implementation of strategy that a baseball team's management is using to hopefully build a winner.


It is generally accepted that there are three possible outcomes to such a situation: First, the process works and the team wins. Second, the process does not work and the team is forced to restrategize (generally the new strategy is built by a new strategizer or new GM and begins with the firing of old personnel). The third and final possibility, the front office blows right past the platform where the process begins, derails, and rides the train (of your team) into the desert night never to be heard from again. Okay, so the third possibility is mostly hyperbole—but it doesn't make it wrong (Proof? See Isaiah Thomas and Jimmy Dolan's New York Knicks).

The New York Mets have become that reckless, careening train barreling into the long good night. They are led by their fearless (or feckless) leader Omar Minaya. For, Omar to carry all of the blame for the Titanic adventure that the Mets have recently become, is not fair. Some of the blame should be shifted to the Wilpon family who have given Omar so much rope with which to hang himself. Also, can Omar be blamed for the job that Jerry Manuel has done (or not done) with the culture of this "team?" I'm not saying that this team doesn't have grit or spirit as was claimed quite often over the last three seasons...but where there is smoke...?

During his tenure as General Manager, Omar Minaya has often cited that it was his goal to build a team based on three factors: pitching, defense, and speed. This must be why the Mets pitching staff has not really changed over the last four seasons (other than the brilliant insertion of Tim Redding into the rotation), even though it has been less than stellar over the same period of time. How about that defense, Omar? About the only the Mets that have been consistent with over the past four seasons is their defense, which has been bad. David Wright has two Gold Gloves at third Base, and while I feel they were deserved, many in the baseball industry think they are a product of Wright's personality and offense. Other than Wright the only bright spot on defense has been Carlos Beltran (and occasionally Jose Reyes). The rest of the defense ranges from average to far below average, and Omar continued that trend this off-season with the pickup of Jason Bay and now Gary Matthews, Jr.

The only place that Omar has been able to back up his rhetoric is with speed, the Mets have generally been the class of base stealing in the MLB over the last four years. So Omar is batting 1 for 3—a.333 batting average, which while a good percentage at the plate, not so much in the front office.

It is clear from the team's recent history that Omar and his staff have lost sight of "the plan," and have been driving this train by the seat of their pants. The problem is that the MLB and the NY Mets are not a video game, and there is no "reset" button...a team that does not stick to the plan ends up falling apart. Pitching, speed, and defense may very well be the way to win but that is not the kind of team the Mets are currently fielding.  The "process"...the "plan", has been forgotten, and Omar Minaya is now Moses leading Mets Nation through a desert without a map.

It is my belief that the time has come to retool the New York Mets. It means biting the bullet and planning for a down year or two, with a bright eye to the near future of our beloved franchise. I think the Mets could be competitive this year, but to what avail? I don't see this team being able to compete with this lack of planning over the next five to 10 years. The re-tooling has to start in the front office. Omar Minaya and his staff must be terminated. The coaching staff must also be purged—the only member of the staff that should stay on, is the one who has been the most productive, Howard Johnson. Other than HoJo every coach must go. After this, the team itself must be broken up. The only safe names should be Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Johan, Escobar, and K-Rod. This is a spectacular core and a great place for any GM,whose name is not Omar Minaya, to build from , a couple of key additions could make this team an immediate contender, but that plan is for another day. 


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