After watching the Mets get completely overmatched and outclassed this past weekend by the Yankees, the talk around these parts today focused on the question….what now? There seems to be differing opinions mainly coming from the camps of the paying customer opposed by the actual Met management. From what I’ve seen and heard, the rabid NY media dogs are somewhere in between.
I’m gonna outline the two possible paths available to this morbidly wounded shell of a major league team. Predictably the majority of fans I’ve talked to and heard on the radio waves in the past few days want action from Omar Minaya and crew and they want it now! They see the difficult schedule ahead the next few weeks, a Phillies team that seems to be righting the ship with their MVP candidate Raul Ibanez on the mend, and the Braves and Marlins playing decent baseball. Essentially they see the very real possibility of the season slipping away in the next few weeks. With the lineup they are throwing out there on a daily basis lately and with huge question marks about when, and in some cases, if Beltran, Delgado, Reyes and Maine are going to be able to contribute in time to make a run, I can’t say I blame Mets fans for painting such a dire picture.
Interestingly Jerry Manuel seems to be in the camp of the Mets faithful, as evidence by his comments before Sunday night’s Subway Series finale.
“”If we get below [.500] and we continue to struggle offensively as we are, I think that’s a no-brainer. I think we have to visit [the idea of getting a bat]. I think that has to be visited or talked about at some point. It would be dishonest if I said no, and I don’t like to deal that way.”
“There is no doubt that if a caliber of player was added to a team that it changes the morale of the team in my opinion. Even when we added Gary Sheffield, despite what we already had, that boosted the morale of the team.”
It is unusual that a manager publicly asks for reinforcements but I see this as a function of Manuel thinking he needs help, and fast, in order to possibly save his job. Politics be damned in this case. Its not like he isn’t speaking the truth, but you kind of hurt your GM’s bargaining power by openly signaling desperation.
The management faction clearly is taking a larger picture view of the incredibly bad string of injury misfortune that has befallen the Amazins’. They don’t want to make a knee-jerk reaction and trade for an Adam Dunn of Aubrey Huff at this point which would likely require them to surrender a decent prospect or two from an already depleted farm system. I know it is hard for fans to swallow, especially considering how much it costs to see a game these days, but maybe the best thing would be for management to stand pat and wait to see if their stars can return and help the Mets make a late season surge. Realistically though, this could just be playing itself out as one of those lost seasons franchises encounter every once in awhile due to injury or tragedy or other outside circumstances. Failure in a single season isn’t necessarily a portend of future futility. The Spurs losing David Robinson to injury which allowed them to get their hands on Tim Duncan the next year and the Celtics winning 24 games the season before trading for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and winning the title the next year are a few examples from the NBA landscape.
As hard as it is for me to say this, I am siding with Omar Minaya and upper management here. Granted the trade deadline is more than a month away and the market of teams that will be buyers or sellers has yet to crystalize but to me, the Mets must not overreact. If this means finishing in 4th place in the N.L. East, so be it. With the late breaking news that Carlos Beltran went to Colorado to visit microfracture surgery pioneer Dr. Richard Steadman for a second opinion on his ailing right knee, the forecast becomes even darker for the Mets. This could very well signal that we’ve seen the last of perhaps the Mets most important player for the rest of the season. I fear a long, summer full of losing baseball in Queens awaits us all.