May 23, 2008

The "Plan" Is Not Working - What Do We Do Now?

Let's face facts- on the heals of last night's defeat to the Braves, the plan that Omar Minaya and company put into place to create a competitive team from is just not working. I don't think it's the "plan" so much as the variables that came out of utilizing so many older players, whose contributions have left much to be desired at the one-quarter mark of the season - well, some would say that this is a critical part of the plan, maybe not in the "planning" part, but certainly in the "utilization" part, which, long way around, makes the failures of the "plan" actually part of the plan- and why do I sound like one of the characters from the "Big Bang Theory" right now?

Everyone on the team is pressing right now, to the point that if one error is made, if one run is scored by the opposition, the team seems to drop it's collective head, play stressed, and continues to fall further out of the game, inning by inning. Let's get something straight- no one on this club wants to lose- they are just getting good at it, in a rut that, it seems, they can't get themselves out of. When that happens, there are a few things that usually accompany it, in order to create a change- someone gets fired, someone gets traded, someone gets waived...and it's not always the people you think it would be, or should be, or would like it to be...
So who falls into each category? Well, for starters, I can't imagine that the Wilpons are going to tolerate more losses like the past 4 from this club. They're not going to fire Omar mid-season (thank goodness, because I still don't think that is the answer!), so someone has to go. It's like the original Star Trek - there was always that non-descript yeoman on board who no one ever saw before, who will accompany Spock, Kirk and McCoy to the planet's surface - yep - to be sacrificed on the planet so that the "big 3" could survive but so that the "threat" seemed real...and yes, this "threat" to the Mets' season seems real, and, if it continues to linger, I would guess that, sooner rather than later, as in early June, we'll see a change in the management at the field level. WHO might be a good choice to replace Willie? Good question- and last night, I thought about it again (as in the past I've put forth Ken Oberkfell, Lee Mazzill and Tony Bernazard as potential replacements) and came up with another name- one FELIPE ALOU!!! He's got great experience, can reach everyone on the roster, and might lure the perfect bench coach to his team- FRANK ROBINSON! I'm not so sure that Frank would be excited to come to the team that would have fired Willie, but the chance to work with some players he's familiar with (Church, Schneider, Vargas, etc.) as well as with Felipe might just be able to lure him over to the orange and blue. Again, firing the manager "just" to fire someone isn't usually responsible for a large change in wins and losses, but it is a traditional change and in light of our record over the past year plus, I can't see things staying as they currently are.

Who will be traded? This one is just as tricky, and like you, all I've done lately is think about who might be available for trade, but, more importantly, who might be tradeable on this roster! We're living in a different baseball landscape, where younger players are more valued then ever (and getting huge contracts), where many teams that have no right thinking about contending are doing just that, and where deals of the past can no longer be completed - 60 years ago or so, the Dodgers traded aging star, Dixie Walker, to the Pirates for young stud third baseman, Billy Cox, and excellent starting pitcher Preacher Roe- there ARE no Pirates like that team anymore, at a time when both Florida teams are contending, to the surprise of many, and no one would trade one, let alone two future stars for a veteran on the downside of his career- and you know who those players are on our roster! Therefore, I'm going to offer up some names, a few quite reluctantly - Aaron Heilman, Billy Wagner, Oliver Perez, Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez, and one out of the AA trio- Murphy, Carp and Evans - and let's see what might be available.

I know, Perez is going to be a free agent, and WAGNER??? Am I out of my mind? Well, think about it- he wants to retire after next season, and if we're not going to be a contender, do we really need a veteran closer? There are a LOT of teams who are desperate for someone like Wagner, names that include Texas, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Seattle, to name but a few. How about a Wagner and Heilman deal to Texas, along with them eating the contract of Luis Castillo (we'd have to pepper that one with cash) in exchange for 2b Ian Kinsler, OF Frank Catalanotto (a Smithtown, NY native) for the bench, and a pitching prospect? What about Oliver Perez (if Omar feels there's no way we can sign him), Endy Chavez and a low level pitching prospect in exchange for OF Marcus Thames, and, wait for it.....Dontrelle Willis??? How about Ramon Castro to the Yankees for a AA pitching prospect (they need a catcher, we need more young pitching, which they have, and Raul Casanova is stil hanging around)? Or, finally, how about Heilman, either Murphy, Carp or Evans, Jon Niese and cash to the Pirates for the one and only Xavier Nady (would they even trade him, and would they do so in a deal that included 2 of our better prospects)? At this point, it's hard to be creative with a roster that isn't exactly laden with parts that other teams want! We're not going to trade Wright, Reyes, Church and Schneider; Santana and Maine are untouchable; F-Mart is going nowhere; and there aren't a lot of teams that are going to offer equal or greater value for the likes of Beltran, Delgado, Castillo, Alou and company. There are no free agents to sign, unless you want a fourth outfielder like Kenny Lofton, a 44 year old starter like David Wells, or someone like Barry Bonds, who, besides all of the many knocks against him (clubhouse, legal and defensive, to name but a few) has no guarantees at this point that he'd be able to stay any healthier than Moises Alou has.


Failing to trade for anyone of any significance, the second opportunity would be to give some of the "kids" a chance, like the Braves did a few years ago, hoping that, out of F-Mart, Evans, Murphy, Carp, Niese, Kunz or Parnell, a Jeff Franceur or Brian McCann type player will emerge; or we can hope that some of the "AAAA" players, like Armas, Pascucci, Abreau and Hernandez can play above their heads, at least for a short while, a la Angel Pagan, and add some younger, hungrier legs to the team. There's not a lot of "internal" solutions, either, which makes it doubly hard to make a significant change during the course of the season.

Finally, as I said, "someone gets waived"...well, there are a few candidates, including Delgado and Castillo, but I doubt we'd do that to either of them- in fact, with so few solutions available, I don't think we can afford to waive ANYONE on the roster. Anderson Hernandez could replace Castillo's defense - and be better- but hasn't proved he can hit major league pitching after multiple call-ups. Carp, Evans or Murphy could replace Delgado at first, but neither of those three have been exposed to major league pitching yet, other than a few times by Carp last spring. Alou is hurt yet again, and at this point, once he's fully healed, I'm sure we'll begin hearing for the call-up of F-Mart, and, at this point, maybe that's the right thing to do. The problem is, as Steve said in his previous post, there's just too many questions right now, and just not enough answers in the form of players ready and able to step into the fire that is this club right now and help change the course of the season.


Omar, this is the time when you really start earning your keep...don't let us down!!!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least the "Big Bang Theory" has a believable plot- this season sure doesn't!!

Anonymous said...

And a busty, hot blonde!!! Can she play second base? I'd rather go to home with her than Castillo ANY TIME!!!!

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

Down, boy, down...keep it clean here...or at least a little bit clean...

Anonymous said...

David/Jonathan- Don't know which of you wrote this, but what the hell are you thinking? Trade Wagner? He's the only guy on the team with any fire at all!!!

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

I understand your point (David, by the way) and agree that it's a horrible thought to trade Wagner. HOWEVER- having a lights-out closer is more important to a contending team, something we aren't looking much like right now. So it's at least worth exploring to see exactly what a Wagner or a package including him might net us in this topsy-turvy baseball world we are living in right now. Just my opinion - anyone else????

Anonymous said...

I would trade ANYONE except Santana, Maine, Wright, Church, Schneider, Feliciano and the minor league prospects- and I WOULD trade Reyes if we could get the right package - maybe he needs a change of scenary!

Anonymous said...

Great post, as usual! You hit it on the head- change is gonna come, and it will probably mean a new manager, some new players (via trade AND waivers) and the elevation of some minor league talent. I'd rather rebuild with exciting players than survive with washed-up players who don't seem to have the drive to excel anymore.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the Star Trek analogy- it was funny in Galaxy Quest, too.

This team NEEDS a major shake-up, and it's coming - I can feel it!!!

Anonymous said...

I would like to BIG BANG that blonde!!!!

Anonymous said...

SIGN BARRY BONDS!!!
SIGN BARRY BONDS!!!
SIGN BARRY BONDS!!!

IT'S AS EASY AS 1-2-3...

Anonymous said...

Bonds is older than Alou- so you want ANOTHER brittle outfielder who can't field? Come on- he's NOT the solution!

Anonymous said...

Firing Willie this early would send a bad message to the fans that the organization is giving up on this season. I say, let Willie continue to hang himself and see where it leads in the end. If the team goes nowhere by the end of August, start a fire sale and get rid of some of the baggage. Start with Beltran, Heilman, Alou, Schoenwiess, Perez, Delgado, Castillo, Wagner and get what you can while you have time. THEN, fire Willie and his entire staff including The Zombie, Peterson. I LOVE the idea of Felipe Alou managing this club, but make sure you bring in a pro like Leo Mazzone to straighten out this staff. Look, the football Giants kept Coughlin this past season despite all the calls for his head and look where he took them. It proves ANYTHING can happen. Now is not the time to make a change. Let Willie have the season and accept whatever happens, fellow Mets fans. Next year, we get to open a brand-spanking new stadium with some new faces and a new manager! Did anyone say Joe Torre?

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