There have been two big surprises about the Mets coming off their 70-win disaster of a season last year. First, the Mets and Omar Minaya didn’t do more to improve the team via trades and free agency. Second, there aren’t many position competitions on the field in spring training. We’re basically going to see the exact same team we saw last year, plus Jason Bay.
The first point we’ve argued about all winter. Some of us think the Mets should have done more in the offseason to shake up the team. Other fans have been on board with Minaya’s plan that there weren’t better players on the market than the Mets that are returning from injuries. Whether you’re on board with the plan or not, it’s finished and we’ll see how it plays out. If things don’t look like they’re working out by mid-season, it’s likely that Minaya and Manuel are finished with the Mets too.
The second point is an interesting one. You would think that a team coming off a horrible season would have plenty of competition for playing time. But the Mets appear to be pretty set at most positions and that’s probably a bad sign. It’s very likely that we’re going to see the exact same team that drove into a brick wall last year.
I read a great post by Matthew Artus at Always Amazin’ about the Gary Matthews, Jr. trade. It’s become somewhat comical that the offseason hot stove activity has turned into such a frenzy for mainstream media and bloggers alike. Every team is interested in every free agent at some point if you keep reading for long enough. And every pending deal gets up prepared for a blockbuster that almost never happens. Such is the case with the Matthews deal. The Mets acquired a fifth outfielder for a middle relief pitcher. That’s it.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports does his offseason review of the Mets entitled “The Mets are getting little traction”. What?!? The Mets already had $100 million in payroll committed to 2010 when the offseason started, meaning they already had most of the “star” players that they needed. They got Jason Bay to fill the hole in left field and the middle of the lineup. The offseason still has five more weeks to go and there are still several capable starting pitchers without contracts. Things don’t seem that bleak to me.
Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing writes a great piece about the Mets ownership history and current situation with Jeff Wilpon at the helm. It’s a must-read post about how we got where we are today with this team. Considering the fan backlash against the owners in recent years, like the one capably written on this site, the post by Prince is very timely.
The news came in today that Brian Stokes was sent to the Angels for Gary Matthews, Jr. Not only that but the Angels are paying $21.5 million of the $23 million left on his contract (over two years). Now that’s a team that really wanted to get rid of a player. When I first heard that the Mets got Matthews, I assumed that Luis Castillo was going to the Angels. I’m still shocked that the Mets couldn’t dump Castillo on the Angels in return for Matthews.
This trade shouldn’t make that much of a difference in the 2010 season. If it does, the Mets are in trouble. That means that Carlos Beltran didn’t recover from knee surgery and return in May as planned. And Matthews ends up getting more playing time than anyone could have anticipated. He’ll still have to fight off Angel Pagan for playing time in center while Beltran is out. I like Pagan’s chances in the match up.