Jose Reyes congratulates David Wright after his solo homerun in the fourth inning. Photo: Connors AP
I thought I would take today to talk about one of the few things that I care about more than politics (those things are religion, my family, food and), baseball. Specifically let me talk today about the New York Mets. The Mets greatest talent is not playing baseball but breaking my heart. Like a girlfriend who can't be faithful the Mets have found ways year after year to raise my hopes to their zenith and then with one fell cheating swoop, snatch my dreams away with a fateful slap. Last year it was a historic 7 1/2 game collapse over the last 17 games. The year before we lost to a punchless and weak St. Louis Cardinal team in what should have been "our year". In 2000 we were overmatched and under-talented. After 1986 our players decided that snorting coke, partying, and not playing good baseball was better than winning games. It's definitely a hard-knock life...but I have a plan. Omar Minaya if you are reading this ... make sure that you give me credit for the retooling (not rebuilding) plan.
Step 1: It begins with drafting strong, and keeping our picks. Take the best players available and don't worry that the Commissioner's office wants to put a cap on signing bonuses.
Step 2: We have great building blocks to be a contender for the next ten years. David Wright at 3rd, Jose Reyes at SS, Carlos Beltran at CF, Johan Santana, John Maine, and Oliver Perez at SP. Most teams would kill for this core of talent. Keep them all and build upon them, make smart decisions on the free agent market...but fill the gaps with young players from the farm system (from step 1). Don't take the bait and sign high priced old Free Agents...
Step 3: Right this minute (meaning do it right now)... trade Delgado for some young players, trade Luis Castillo for some young players, trade El Duque for some young players, do NOT resign Pedro Martinez...trade Angel Pagan (or send him to the Minors he is Not a major leaguer)...trade either Marlon Anderson or Damion Easley, we don't need two players who do the exact same things. The most important part he is restocking the farm, even if most of the returns are B prospects and not A prospects.
Step 4: Stay positive, step 3 is not giving up on this year. We can still contend even if we trade everyone I mentioned in step 3. Our rotation is good, our bullpen is solid, and our offense will still be one of the best in the National League.
Here are a couple of links to two very good sportswriters. Rob Neyer is a frequent contributor to ESPN and an acolyte of the venerable Bill James. Keith Law is a brilliant Harvard grad who has served as a special assistant to the GM for the Blue Jays and is currently Director of Scouting for Scouts Inc. His website is not specifically about baseball but about Keith's interests in general.
The video is a Nintendo Recap of the Mets win in '86 WS game 6 against Boston.