Omar Minaya's moves quickly put the Mets in contention in 2005 and 2006, but he has since proven himself unable to pull off the kind of trade that would put New York above the herd in the National League.
Don't expect the Mets to land a number one starter in the likes of Johan Santana anytime soon.
Unless the city's National League entry is willing to part with Jose Reyes, the Mets lack the organizational depth in starting pitching (or even positional players) to attract a true ace.
Why, you ask, is this the case? Here are three of Minaya's shortsighted moves that have damaged the team' chances:
a) Taking former number one draft choice—and starting pitcher—Aaron Heilman and making him a middle reliever. This reduced Heilman's attractiveness as a starting pitching prospect.
b) Trading promising young starter Brian Bannister last winter to the Kansas City Royals for hard throwing, but wild, Ambiorix Burgos. We know how that turned out. Oh, by the way, Burgos is a middle relief pitcher.
c) The Mets drafted middle relief pitcher named Eddie Kunz rather than a starting pitcher in the first round of the 2007 draft. This marked the first time a middle relief pitcher has been selected in the first round.
See a pattern?
Minaya is so obssesed with middle relief, he has depleted the Mets starting pitching depth where they can't maneuver to make a deal.
Clearly, the middle relief role has taken on greater significance in baseball these days, more so than in the past, but Minaya has taken it to a whole new level.
The problem, however, is that the rest of baseball still values starting pitching more than he does. Do you see any trade negotiations between the Yankees and Twins, or between the Red Sox and Twins, for any middle relief pitchers?
The Twins simply want some starting pitching in return for Santana. The Mets don't even have enough impressive positon players in the minors to offer what the Yankees and Red Sox can offer aside from that.
Sure, Carlos Gomez is fast, but can he hit? Fernando Martinez has ability, but he hasn't done much in the minors to date.
Finally, Mike Pelfry and Philip Humber have underperformed relative to expectations.
Alas, the Mets don't have enough pitching talent to land the big prize. Heck, they may not have enough to land a strong number two starter in the likes of Joe Blanton.
When will Minaya learn?
Andrew Schiff is the author of the upcoming biography The Father of Baseball, A Biography of Henry Chadwick. Learn more at http://www.henrychadwick.com/.
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