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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Should the Mets Fire Omar Minaya?

I say no.

The Mets did go into this season as the favorites in the NL East, having acquired J.J. Putz to be their set-up man and Francisco Rodriguez to be their closer. The foursome of Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado presented itself as one of the strongest in all of baseball. And, with Johan Santana, the team has one of the top starters in baseball and a stopper.

But then the wheels fell off the bus. Reyes, Beltran and Delgado have been out for most of the year, as has Putz. John Maine has been hurt, too, and the inking of Oliver Perez to a three-year deal looks now to be as wise as the Phillies' signing of Adam Eaton three years ago. Even Santana hasn't been as dominant as in past years.

So, Met fans have to ask themselves this question -- how many teams could sustain these types of losses and still contend? Could the Phillies have contended had they lost Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez for most of the season, along with Ryan Madson and Brett Myers (whom they did lose for most of the season)? Would the Phillies have contended with Eric Bruntlett at short, since-traded prospect Jason Donald at second, a platoon of John Mayberry, Jr. and Matt Stairs in left (both of whom have not hit well this season), Clay Condrey (who also has been injured a considerable amount of time this year) as the setup man and Rodrigo Lopez or Antonio Bastardo replacing Myers? It's hard to believe that they could have. Yes, their farm system is (much) stronger than the Mets', but that's only been a recent phenomenon.

So, Mets' fans have to be careful what they wish for. Sure, it's easy to get mad at Minaya for the Perez signing and for not having some better replacements for the injured players, but farm systems do have their peaks and valleys. It's also easy to say that the Mets should sack manager Jerry Manuel, but he can't defend, pitch or hit for the team. On paper right now, the Mets are a fourth-place team.

This has been a very strange year for the Mets. Their owners lost hundreds of millions in the Bernie Madoff scandal, and that must have had an effect on the team and its ability to compete for elite free agents. Many of the stars have been out for a long time. That doesn't usually happen, but, when it does, the fans should probably be more patient than when a lineup deep with stars falters.


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