A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Rebuild or Retool

Rebuilding is when a team basically completely reforms their team, dumps their veterans and goes with a complete youth movement.

Retooling is when the team acquires a few vital pieces and infuses them with their current pieces in place.

Should the Mets rebuild a-la Cleveland Indians? Or should the Mets retool in the sense that the Braves do every year? Yes, I know the Braves have not been horrible like the Mets the past three seasons, but you get the idea.

(Obviously I wrote this before Pedro signed and it lost some relevance, but it basically backs up Omar's current move)

One major flaw with the Mets rebuilding is the unholy length of time it will take them to completely rebuild. They have a decent farm system, but one that will not break the top ten in terms of farm systems. When a team tries to rebuild, they jettison their veterans and guys who figure to not be around off to other teams in hopes of bringing some building blocks and future cornerstones back in the process.

Enter, the Mets first problem. If they were even able to move Traschel, Piazza, Floyd, and Glavine, who would be the likely candidates to leave in this rebuilding scenario, that would not get back one single solitary top prospect or one top player. No Casey Kotchman, no Adrian Gonzalez, no Mark Teixiera, nothing significant or anyone else of that caliber. Nobody is desperate enough or willing enough at this point. If the Mets did start off that process by lopping off the aging veterans, they’d have just about nothing to show for it. If Omar could have pulled one of those moves, they’d have done it already.

The other major portion of the rebuilding process is to have a top tier farm system from top to bottom with some young guys at the Major League level who they can be infused with.

Enter the Mets second problem. The Mets have Diaz, Reyes, and Wright who are certainly good blocks to build around, but they traded Kazmir, Peterson, and Huber for two guys that don’t fit into the rebuilding process. I’m going to consider Diaz part of the minor league system rather than the Major League squad, which may turn out to be entirely true. The Mets only have Victor Diaz and Bobby Keppel at AAA with good Major League predictability. Sure Mike Jacobs may be on the fringe, but he’s not considered a Major League quality catcher and has not actually played enough at AAA to get a good look at him. There is Craig Brazell, but he’s not really a serious prospect to build around or even someone that may start in the Majors ever. Beyond that there is Aarom Baldiris in AA with Yusmeiro Petit. Humber and Soler may start at AA or high A, but pitching is not something that comes to fruition quickly. Cleveland had Westbrook and Sabathia already established and got Cliff Lee via a trade. So not only would the Mets top pitching talents not be ready for another year, they would most likely take another few years to even become effective. Ben Sheets, Johan Santana, Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, etc. took a few years to become a force and it could be disastrous for the Mets to put their pitching hopes soley in house. You can say look outside like Santana and Sheets when they become available, but why would a premium pitcher come during a rebuilding process? All other top tier prospects for the Mets have not played a lick over A ball and Lastings Milledge, Ian Bladergroen, and Shawn Bowman will open the season in high A ball. The Mets have few guys that could be considered impact prospects, but only two of them are above AA and I’m sure a lot of experts would argue with me by lumping Victor Diaz into the impact prospect category.

If the Mets rebuild, there may not be a good team at Shea for five or six years at best. It would get really ugly with the Mets finishing below the Nationals for a long time. That is also assuming the Mets have a few really good drafts between now and then and that may not happen. If the entire process went well, by the time Mets are any good Reyes and Wright will have burned through their option years and may be looking to escape. Concepcion, Hernandez, Hyde, Bladergroen, Durkin, and Bowman are at LEAST three years away and Milledge is at least two years away and that is assuming they all pan out too. By the law of averages, the Mets would be lucky to get two solid major leaguers out of the bunch.

The Mets lack the means to completely rebuild at this point. Any of the players that fit the mold of what the Mets are trying to accomplish like Teixiera, Gonzalez, Jeremy Reed, etc. are guys the Mets would only be able to acquire by giving up some of their youth to get them. How counter productive would it be to rebuild by acquiring a guy who is in the majors now by giving up two or three of the prospects you plan to rebuild with. Even if you take on some ugly contracts to sweeten the deal, youth will still need to be included from the Mets end. Getting a guy like Teixiera or Gonzalez works for the Mets, but only if you plan to retool and infuse them in with impact players now.

The Mets do not have the ability to do an out rebuilding process in any shape or form. They cannot get young and effective talent for their veterans and they do not have a deep system and they have a dearth of impact prospects. Coming into this year, they were only rated so high because they have a number of impact guys in their system. Kaz was considered in that bunch as was Kazmir, Peterson, Wright, and Huber. Right now, the Mets system, while not barren, is a lot weaker than it has been in the past two years. To start the 2005 season, the Mets could only put one capable player on the field at Shea from their system. That guy is Victor Diaz. If you want to project to 2006, the Mets may only be able to add one or maybe two more capable guys on the field. That is not a rebuilding process. That is what the Pittsburgh Pirates have been trying to do for the last 11 years.

The Mets current hope of building a sustain winner is through adding free agents to make the team better now while not blocking any of their young guys in the future. They will accomplish that as OF and 1B are weak at the top and they need to rack up some wins in the next few years without trading away their farm system as us Met fans have become so used to seeing. I know the Mets sacrificed draft picks this year, but I think that was a necessary evil as part of this process. I know people will disagree, but I think getting Pedro helps put the Mets on this road of improving now and down the road.

* * *

  • Richie Sexson can thank the Diamondbacks for his 4 year $50 million dollar deal.

  • Now that the Red Sox have signed Edgar Renteria, Derek Jeter is not only not the best shortstop on team, but he is the 3rd best shortstop in the AL East. That is before BJ Upton figures it out and over takes him too.

  • Oh, Boy.

    Shez Jackson was ordered to clean dirty utensils and stock a pantry with cereal despite holding a master's degree and earning $85,500, her lawyer, Jack Tuckner, said yesterday.

    "These white bosses, the power structure, don't acknowledge women in the highest levels of the organization, especially black women," Tuckner said. "It was like, give it to a colored woman to clean up."

    Jackson, 37, is suing the Mets, the team's chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, and its general counsel, David Cohen, for unspecified monetary damages.

    I hate when this happens:

    Another time, Cohen allegedly called Jackson at 9 a.m. and "scolded her because there was not enough cereal in the pantry," the complaint states. Jackson bought cereal containers, but Cohen complained "the containers 'poured out only one or two Cheerios at a time."

    Who knows if it's true or not, but Jeffy seems like he has some anger issues.

  • The Mets are prepared to go for the fourth year on Carlos Delgado for about $48 million dollars. I think that became obvious after Sexson's and Glaus' contracts. I think the Mets will eventually ink Delgado and then lock up Alou. As much as we want them to make a run at Beltran, I do not think they will. Sucks not to give it a shot, but I do not see them waiting around for Beltran the first week of January and losing out on Delgado.

  • According to Newsday, the Mets aren't the only ones who are insane. The Cardinals also offered Pedro a four year deal so they were not bidding against themselves and Boston alone.

  • Shaun Powell says the Mets need to something bigger. Pedro was the first step and Beltran or at the very least it should be Manny.

  • The Astros are prepared to up the ante significantly over five years for $70 million. Boras also said this is a not a two team race and there are four teams interested. I hope Omar is at least sticking his nose in there.

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