Wow, I am so tired of writing about this topic. We are 111 games away from the end of the regular season and all anybody wants to talk about on WFAN and ESPN 1050 is what happens if the Mets miss the playoffs.
A small but growing faction of talking heads on radio are already calling for a shakeup to the core of the Mets' roster. If the Mets fail to make the postseason yet again, those cries will grow louder. It won't become a matter as to whether or not a big name player should go, it will become a matter of which big name player should go.
I'm OK with trading anybody in the right deal. Heck, I would be happy to trade Johan Santana in the right deal. That deal would probably have to bring half a dozen all-stars to Queens, but there is a deal I would be willing to make for any player on the roster.
But there is a difference between willing to trade and looking to sell. Win, lose or draw the Mets should not be looking to deal their best players.
Really, it's that simple. If you have a bunch of really good baseball players why would you want to get rid of them if you are trying to win a championship?
People make one of two arguments in favor of shaking up the core of this team.
1. Making a change for the sake of change
This one makes absolutely zero sense to me. If I take the highway to work everyday and I'm late to work more often than I should be, should I start taking the back roads that take longer because it would be a change or should I start leaving my house earlier?
I'm all for change to make it better, but not change for the sake of change. If Omar Minaya can trade Reyes or Beltran for better players, fine. But if they are going to make a lateral move for the sake of making a move, you are going to have a lateral result.
2. The team has been losing because of poor chemistry
I see where people are coming from on this one, I just happen to disagree. Chemistry is important in team sports like football and basketball where the players must work as one cohesive unit.
Baseball is an individual sport that masquerades as a team sport.
Sure, the players have to work together at some points, but in general there is little Carlos Beltran can do when Brian Schneider is at the plate. Johan Santana really can't do anything to help JJ Putz get through his current struggles. All 25 players are solely responsible for their results.
As I have written ad nauseam on this site, there is no one mental makeup that guarantees success. Both Manny Ramirez and Carl Everett have won more rings in the past five years than Derek Jeter yet Jeter is considered the consummate winner. Just because Jose Reyes tends to pout does not disqualify him from winning a title. Sure, it can be hard to watch, but if its effective then who am I to judge.
Win or lose, I don't think the Mets should look to be sellers this winter. According to Bill James' win share formula, a team of Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Santana, K-Rod and 20 average AAA players would win 88 games. If Jose Reyes can't stay healthy in 2009, he should have 2010 to prove he's not an injury risk.
Not only do the Mets have a good thing in place, they have $32 million coming off the books at the end of the year. That's over 20 percent of the team's salary!
That amount of money could reasonably bring Bengie Molina, Rick Ankiel and Brandon Webb to Flushing. Think about that team.
SP: Santana, Webb, Pelfrey, Maine and hopefully Ollie
Are you telling me that team isn't special? Hopefully the core debate is a non-issue this winter, but if it is, hopefully Mets' management can see just what this team can become with the right supporting cast.