I love it when a plan comes together
After all the moves that Omar has made this off season, the A-Team's Hannibal Smith, who was played by George Peppard, comes to mind. I barely remember the show since I was pretty young at the time but the only thing a do remember is that Hannibal would say, "I love it when a plan comes together" in every episode.
Damien from Jediakaos.net had posted an excerpt from Baseball Prospectus.
In all of this movement, someone must have done well, right? Well, the Mets have now signed the best pitcher, Pedro Martinez, and the best player, Beltran, on the market. Seven years and $119 million for Beltran is in line with reasonable expectations, given the change in the market from last year and Beltran’s edges over Vladimir Guerrero in defense, speed, and assumed health. I actually expected Beltran to come in at 8/$126MM, but that was assuming he’d play on a different subway line.
The Mets have had the best off season of any team, not just this year, but in recent memory. By ignoring the middle class and focusing on getting the best players they could, they’ve improved by 10 to 15 wins, vaulting to the top of the NL East mix.
If New York is a Mets town again in 2007, it will be the decisions made this winter by the two teams that made it that way. The Yankees’ mistakes directly benefited the Mets, and that they took advantage is a credit to Fred Wilpon and Omar Minaya. For the first time in a long time, the best front office in New York may be located in Queens.
About a week after taking their shots at the Mets, they come back with a decidedly different tone. Going as far to say as this off season is the best out of any team in recent memory. December 1st, no one outside of some optimistic Mets fans thought the Mets had a shot in making any noise this off season with big ticket free agents and during the regular season. In a month Omar has change peoples minds. Even if they are not calling the Mets favorites to take the division or make the playoffs, some baseball experts, talk shows, columnists, etc. are ate least saying there is a shot, which no one was willing to say before. All of this and Omar is not done yet.
Minaya just gained a valuable trading chip in Mike Cameron should he try and use it to try and fill in some more holes that are out there and he went a long way to provide some solid insurance up the middle with Miguel Cairo who just batted over .300 for the first place Yankees in a starting job. Omar has been, and still is recruiting plenty of arms to try out for the bullpen. He has operated this off season like a genius game of chess up to this point. He has made one move with his eye on three moves ahead. Everything is having a domino effect and on top of all that he has done this off season, he seems like he gets it.
We’ve been active in the free agent market – but, I want to get this organization to a point that we don’t have to be as active in the free agent market. Right now, the only way we can improve the team is being active in the free agent market. Now, you guys know I have a passion for scouting and development. My goal is to have minor leaguers to come up…these kids playing in Brooklyn…to be ready to play in New York. I don’t want to be in the market every year…the less you’re in the market, the better the organization is and I think the identity we’re going to have is these home-grown kids. We’re not there yet, it’s gonna take a couple of years, but we’re gonna work hard at it.
With this spending spree that he has been on and is continuing to be on, one thought kept going through my head. I loved what was going on in terms of getting the best talent out there, but I felt the Mets were doing just what everyone hates the Yankees for. I personally would not like to have Mets continually get the best free agent every season and dwarf every other major league team's payroll. With the new cable network coming up, I was worried the Mets might try and do business more like the Yankees and forgo maintaining a solid minor league system and having players come up through the system. However, during all of the hoopla over the past few weeks he still managed to bring in the Mets first round pick and give the Mets some legitimate arms in the minors and one of the best stocked system in terms of impact starting pitching. To see him take time out of this media storm to specifically note the importance of growth from within was tremendous for me in terms of building a franchise from the bottom up.
By gorging himself this off season, he is buying his way back to legitimacy this year and setting up a sustained winner for years to come if things break in the Mets favor for a change. Of course Omar is taking a huge risk and he could either be crucified by Met fans at the end of the season, or coronated as the new mayor of NYC (hey maybe the Mets could get a new stadium if this happened). The days of the Mets trying to fit a square peg in a round hole would seem to be over and if Omar plays it right, there could be no dabbling into free agency next season. Omar knows that next off season his team could be set with one more big move with the exception of some bullpen and bench moves.
"We have a plan here and the truth is it's not about a one-year plan here. What [Beltran] definitely does, we can see a clear vision of this long term plan - you have Carlos, [Jose] Reyes, David Wright, Kaz Matsui. We go into next year and we might get some financial flexibility in the future. But we looked at potential free agents for next year and we said we might not get the opportunity to get these kind of guys in future years."
He knows the best opportunity to put the finishing touches on this team is this off season. He knows the lack of talent in the '06 off season and he knows he has talent on the horizon in the minors. Whatever holes in the starting rotation or the field there may be after 2005, they should be able to be filled within. They may be surrendering a 2nd and 3rd round pick this upcoming draft, but they should be able to keep every pick in 2006 draft and possibly the 2007 draft at this rate. Despite the fact the Mets may spend more than the GDP of small countries this off season, they can keep things reasonable.
I'm not sure anyone would say the Mets are lock to win anything this season outside a few crazed fans, but no one can deny the Mets have now firmly inserted themselves into the hunt for a National League playoff spot right now. They have already inserted themselves into the mix with more moves to come. Every team in the NL has taken a step backwards or remained about the same with the exception of two or three teams in my opinion. Granted the Mets had a lot of ground to close to catch up to the top tier NL teams, but they have made up a lot of it.
It is really interesting to look back and see how Omar mapped out his off season and it really goes back to taking the offer for Al Leiter off the table. That never happens and we have no idea where we would be right now. Maybe we have Beltran. Maybe the no trade clause with Houston is not the deal breaker if the Mets team did not upgrade themselves by bringing in Pedro and the excitement that surrounded his signing. I just picture Omar sitting back in his office, smoking a cigar and saying:
I love it when a plan comes together.
I do not think this is about $2 million or a $3 million to Mike Cameron and I do not know what to make of any of this yet. Maybe someone asked Cameron's agent where he'd prefer to play and I think we all know what his obvious answer would be. From what anyone has ever heard of Mike Cameron is that he is a stand up guy and as good as they come. We saw that first hand last year and I see no reason to throw him under the bus just yet. Omar has already come to his defense and I’m sure some more PR will be out backing up Cameron’s desire to stay on the team.
Though I do like the Dan Patrick show on ESPNRadio.com, but I need all baseball, all the time.
"I go to the United States to play ball," Delgado said. "I don't go there thinking that it's a question of being more relaxed in a certain place. It's not a question of where I would be more 'chilling.' It's all about a team that's a contender; that is the major obligation. That is what will influence."
Hmmm..Both are could conceivably called contenders so it will come down to who wants to spend more.
Some Phil Humber Stats from his time at Rice:
Thanks to Sam from Revenge of the Mets for giving me some help on how to do tables. I'm going to be abusing them so get used to seeing them.
UPDATE: Not that long. Not that long at all.
"My role right now is to do things right," Beltran said. "Let young guys follow me. I have to do things right. Wright has the potential to be one of the best third basemen in the game and Jose Reyes has the potential to be one of the best in the game. The organization has a lot of potential where we could be a good team in a short period of time."
"I expect a lot from myself," he said. "I just want to go out and do my best. That's the type of player I am. I work hard and make teams happy. I want to walk around and meet some of the players, come here to see the facilities because I'm going to be here a long time.
"I feel happy and secure. I now have an opportunity to help my family and a lot of people. But I'm not going to change at all. I'm going to work hard and be an example for the young guys. If you think like that, money doesn't change people. You change."
The Mets are due to lose their 38th and 60th picks by bringing in Beltran and Martinez respectively. A very acceptable casualty.
I will say this about the Dodgers, LA went from looking like they were in trouble to bringing in Drew, Perez, and Lowe in short period of time. They now have a solid staff and good enough offense to win some games and keep in the race for the NL West title.