Nothing but Coal Under the Mets' Christmas Tree
You better watch out!
You better pout!
You better cry, and I'm telling you why!
Santa Minaya, and the Wilpon Elf's are coming to ruin your Christmas.
In case you have been preoccupied with holiday shopping, family gatherings, caroling, and way too much egg nog, the Mets have found a way to make the retail economy look like the good ole surplus days of the 1990's.
The Mets have done absolutely nothing this off-season, and I am counting the signings of R.A. Dickey and Henri Blanco.
Once the disaster that was the 2009 season came to an end on Oct. 4, the Wilpons promised their fans that the Mets would do everything in their power to improve the club on the field. They even went on Mike Francesa's radio show on WFAN to proclaim that the Bernie Madoff fiasco that reportedly cost the team roughly $400 million would not curb their spending on potential big ticket free agents.
Then the Mets went to Indianapolis with rumors swirling faster then a tornado that the team was very interested in signing John Lackey, was curious about the prospects, although very slim, of acquiring Roy Halladay, and was on target to sign both Bengie Molina and Jason Bay to long term contracts.
Instead, nothing happened.
The Mets watched Lackey, instead, sign a deal with the Boston Red Sox and watched as divisional rival and reigning NL Champions Philadelphia Phillies scooped up Halladay in a trade that didn't require top major or minor league talent.
Meanwhile, the Mets don't appear close to signing outfielder Jason Bay. Many expect Bay to eventually sign with the Mets, but the Mets have been here before while blowing their chances at signing their guy; and, with Molina, the Mets refuse to offer him a third year on the contract.
The Mets' lack of activity has many questioning the legitimacy of the Mets franchise.
Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio delivered a monologue dedicated to blasting the Mets as a peanut franchise that plays the Clippers to the Yankees' Lakers, questioning the front office's belief that the Mets are an upper tier franchise in Major League Baseball when in fact it is not.
New York radio hosts, Joe Beningo, Evan Roberts, Mike Francesca, among others, are perplexed by Omar Minaya's refusal to get anything done this off-season while trying to sell season ticket packages for a year-old stadium at Citi Field and compete with the best team in baseball, the Yankees, for every available dollar and back page.
A lot of the hysteria stems from the flurry of moves the Yankees and Phillies have made. The Yankees added Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, resigned Andy Pettitte, and for all we know could swoop in and scoop up Bay before he ever signs with the Mets. The Yankees are 50 days removed from winning a World Series, and they are shopping like a team yearning to win another title.
What have the Mets won? Nothing. For 24 years.
Once Roy Halladay got traded to Philadelphia, a lot of Mets fans were ready to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, burn their season tickets and throw all of that Mets memorabilia into the trash. Truth is, the Mets never had the prospects to get Halladay, but the frustration of the Met fan is understandable.
To quote Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on out here?"
The Mets' inactivity this off-season mirrors the trend from last December. Last year the Mets were able to get Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz but balked at the opportunity to acquire Orlando Hudson, Jason Marquis, Randy Wolf, Derek Lowe, and Manny Ramirez. In fact, if one recalls, the Mets low-balled Lowe on a three year contract when the pitcher wanted four.
The Mets lost Lowe to Atlanta and had to fool themselves into relying and overpaying Oliver Perez, and trusting unreliable commodities in John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and Nelson Figueroa to get the job done behind ace Johan Santana. Injuries and inconsistencies soon followed, and the Mets were left with a decaying franchise in need of a huge boost.
Now the Mets are at it again, failing to acquire the pieces they need to be a solid team.
Should Omar Minaya take the fall if he ends up dropping the ball on the Molina signing and watches Bay sign with the Yankees and Matt Holliday with the Cardinals? The fans most certainly think so, but keep in mind Jeff Wilpon gave Minaya a four year extension this past year, so who's to say that Minaya will be canned?
Perhaps the Mets brass is thinking about 2011 and not 2010. Next year, the likes of Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Carlos Pena, Cliff Lee, and Josh Beckett will become available. Maybe they are thinking of conserving enough money to make a run at two of these guys.
If that's the case, then the Mets will be following a similar risky strategy that the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets are following: tank the season now and reap the benefits later by signing LeBron James and/or Dwayne Wade.
Here is the problem with such a strategy: if the team stinks, why in God's name would a top free agent want to come play there? Because it is New York?
The main reason players come to New York is to play for the Yankees, a team that is steeped in success and whose history of victories deflects the venom of the New York media and its fans.
When players come to the Mets, they are risking the chance of being tarred and feathered as bums.
Just ask Roberto Alomar.
Before coming to the Mets in 2002, Alomar was the best second baseman in the game; once his struggles became bigger than the team's struggles, Alomar was ripped apart by the fans and media as a total bust.
Can you see Albert Pujols leaving St. Louis to sign with a Mets team that on paper right now may win 65 games if the stars align themselves correctly? I don't think so.
This year the Mets are staring at the prospects of having to rely on the erratic Perez, the always injured Maine, the always flustered Pelfrey, as well as the possibility that Daniel Murphy will be the every day first baseman, especially if Carlos Delgado fails to show anything in winter ball, if he ever plays in that league. Nice work, Omar, for putting all your eggs in one basket.
The problem with the Mets is their arrogance. They believe that the market will come back to them, and in the meantime they get hit in the face with pies when all of the so- called "key" free agents that the Mets have an apparent "interest" in sign with other teams.
In order to be a contender you have to make like a contender during the off-season. That is what the Mets used to care about in 2005 and 2006 when they brought in Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Delgado, and worked their way to an appearance in the NLCS.
Then again, maybe the Mets made like bandits in off-seasons past just so they could fool you and me into buying season tickets.
Maybe the Mets will finally learn this year as they watch the empty seats decay in the hot summer sun what the fans truly want — a winner.
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