Yesterday the Mets faced Phillies ace Roy Halladay one day removed from news that veteran Alex Cora would be cut.
Also leaving the team was journeyman Jesus Feliciano, youngsters Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez were recalled to fill the roster spots.
The Mets lineup versus Halladay was unique, in that it consisted of seven home grown players—Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Tejada, and Martinez. It was the most home grown players to start a Mets game since 1990!
While the Mets ended up losing the game, there were a lot of positives to come out of it.
First, the Mets proved to be resilient. It takes a lot of heart and desire to win coming back from a 6-2 deficit and score 5 runs off of a great pitcher like Halladay. It's especially impressive upon knowing that in Halladay's previous four starts before yesterday's game Halladay was 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA.
Second, and most importantly in my mind, it shows that the organization is starting to get the picture. In this league, developing prospects is the easiest and sometimes best way to win.
The Mets are not the Yankees, and they cannot buy championships like them. Instead, they need to start developing these players and cementing a core to build a team around.
They already have Wright, Reyes, and Pagan, but players like Davis, Thole, and Tejada can get meaningful playing time during the stretch, when the Mets will more likely than not be playing meaningless games as far as 2010 goes.
The Yankees not withstanding, each other great team in the MLB is generally lead by home grown players. The Mets need to learn from other teams and continue to build through youth.
Not surprisingly, it was also the two players that were not homegrown players who had arguably the worst games last night. I love RA Dickey to death, but he did not have a good performance and gave up six runs, four earned, in only three innings. Also, Carlos Beltran looked awful both in the field and at the plate.
While the Mets are stuck with some pretty bad contracts—namely Beltran's, Luis Castillo's, and Oliver Perez's, they need to take these contracts and learn from them. Not signing overrated veterans to ridiculous contracts forces the team to ride or die through the home grown talent. It also means the Mets organization needs to draft better and develop players better than they have been in recent years.
Although yesterday's lineup was an anomaly, I hope to see similar lineups in the future for the Mets. Not only will it save the team money, but it will make the fans happier, and it may even win some games. It's the right thing to do going forward.
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