Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Readers Strike Back: A River in Egypt

(I really should call this "The Reader Strikes Back," since T-Bone is the only person who seems to contribute. Someone else must have an opinion, right?)

TW writes: Again, there you are in the middle of a forest complaining there aren't any trees around.

Even with Abraham, Martin and John, this team would still have to deal with the defending NL Champs down, and that in itself is a daunting prospect.

My man, if anyone is standing on Endor and looking past the Ewoks, it is you.

I just don't want to be lied to. I know the Mets are a .500 team - at best. So does anyone else who's paying attention. We can argue about whether or not the Mets could've and should've done more to improve, but I agree with you that there simply wasn't enough available talent to make the Mets serious contenders against the Phillies this year.

That said, the Mets cannot go into the camp and keep dropping the lame line about how this team was picked to win the World Series last year and since they're now healthy and bringing back the same starting rotation, there's no reason it can't be done this year.

The Mets' starting rotation might be the worst in the National League East. The Phillies, Braves and Marlins are clearly superior. The payroll is going to be some $20 million lighter, even though the Mets are coming off a 70-win season and a year in which they were handed $20 million from the federally-funded bank whose name adorns the cash cow that replaced Shea Stadium. Where did the money go, if not in Bernie Madoff's pockets?

Rather than be enraged by moves the front office has done or not done, I have taken a deep breath and looked at the bright side.

The Mets seem to be committed to allowing their minor league prospects, play in the minor leagues.

I have the benefit of watching spring training games and the names Tejada, Newenhuis, Mejia or Stoner may not mean anything to the untrained eye, but they are all budding major leaguers that will be on this team in two years tops.

Mejia has a true major-league arm and has top of the rotation potential. Jerry Manuel and Darryl Strawberry want to turn him into a closer right now. Dumber ideas have been posed, but they mostly involved Todd Hundley and left field. Stoner might be a useful middle reliever if everything breaks right for him. I suspect that Tejada is overrated and that Nieuenwhatever is too raw. Both will be exposed this year.

But good for the Mets. After years of rushing over-hyped prospects and allowing them to be exposed on the major league level before trading them away for pennies on the dollar, perhaps there is now a commitment to letting the young guys develop at the proper pace. Of course, the Mets are still short-sighted and cheap in the amateur draft, and as long as that continues the farm system will never be as deep as it could be.

Oh and next years free agency class is 10 times better than thispast winter's but you want to rant and rave about Felipe Lopez, who reportedly is a pox on every clubhouse he's walked into.

That's not the point. Alex Cora and Felipe Lopez are making the same amount of money this season. Alex Cora is injured and not very good when he's healthy; Felipe Lopez is pretty good and coming off perhaps the best year of his career. I don't give a damn which one is supposedly a pox on the clubhouses he walks into - I want the more talented player. Show me a team with 95-win talent and I'll show you a team that could win 95 games with Pol Pot as the batboy.


TW said...

When you call a guy 'Nieuenwhatever' you have exposed yourself as unprepared. Watch a game and get back to me. He looks like a player, a year and half away, but a player nonetheless.

The only player that should even get a hint of the major league level is Stoner in the exact role you identify. This idea of making Mejia a closer is like using Filet Mignon for beef stew.

And instead trying to back your original point, you could just say, as usually TW you have schooled me, and leave it at that. Of course the talking point is to make this team look like a contender, there is money to be made before that 2011 free agent class! I figured you to be more pragmatic, and understand the way the world works, but apparently there is still work for me to do.

TW said...

And titling this piece "The Readers Strike Back" is a little loose, wouldn't you say?

Jack Flynn said...

Oooh, now you done it.

I know you've gotten to watch a few spring training games and now you think the view from your couch has turned you into Branch Rickey. (Mack hits the nail on the head perfectly about people like this here:

I spend more time obsessing about this team then is mentally healthy, so you're hardly opening my eyes when you plug Nieuwenhuis as some sort of sleeper. He is everyone's little sleeper, the third-rounder from an NAIA school who is being overlooked because he didn't play real college ball, right? Double-A is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Nieuwenhuis has played eight games at that level. Let's see him repeat last season at Binghamton before we start considering his ETA in Queens.

As for your less insulting points ... hmm, I can't find any other than you agreeing with me about Stoner and Mejia. Try to understand - we have a relationship something akin to the Rule of Two. When it comes to baseball, I am the Sith Lord and you are the Apprentice. You learn from me, all the while plotting your chance to prove yourself worthy of my title. This little exchange has not done that. Bide your time, rookie, because you got a lot of work to do to catch up with me. Three Spring Training games courtesy of SNY ain't going to close the gap.

Jim Baumbach said...

For the record I do not contribute but I do blurk.

Jack Flynn said...

It's better than nothing, Jim! Now we just gotta get you to add some comments to bring some legitimacy to this blog.