Trip Down Memory Lane Part II: A Look Back At My Obbsession
After calling Sherman out for a horrendous plan, it is only fair that I look back at myselfl. If you came here in the off season last year, you would know that Magglio was the big position player that I was fully endorsing them getting last year. Of course that was because Carlos Beltran seemed unattainable to me and the Mets had a centerfielder, but I was taken to matt and beat up over that. I also thought the Mets needed a solid middle of the order bat and with a vacancy in right field, saw him as a very good fit. Magglio is also a more accomplished all around hitter than Beltran in my eyes and in line with what the Mets needed, though Beltran was a better overall player when taking into account his speed and fielding ability.
Of course, the rest is history and Beltran became a Met. I loved the signing then and I still think it was a good signing and they guy is going to produce in his time in Queens. However, someone emailed me the other day and brought it up that I must be glad that that deal did not go down. Of course Magglio only played 82 games last year, but that got my juices flowing. Knowing what I know now and how things worked out last year, am I really happy it didn't go down? That is debatable.
A healthy Magglio going forward in 2006 (is that even possible), with Mike Cameron in centerfield, with this same team, Lastings having a full year to groom himself to become Mike Cameron's successor, and a few extra millions in Wilpons pocket with a short contract sure seems like good idea to me now even still. As disappointing as Magglio was last year getting injured again, he still hit. His eight homers seem paltry, but Comerica is worse on righties than Shea and he had a 2/6 home and road split for the long ball. In a perfect world, I'm still not sure Magglio was the better fit over a five year period. This is all of course predicated upon Ordonez finding a way to stay on the field in 2006, but signing Magglio over Beltran would not exactly been the end of the world and could very possibly of been a better fit for this team even today.
In light of a fourth-place finish, the extravagance may seem foolish, yet the Mets improved from 71-91 to 83-79 despite a sub par year from Beltran. So Minaya did it again this winter in hopes of an even greater improvement and a division title.
Besides a $43-million deal for new closer Billy Wagner, he acquired slugger Carlos Delgado and $7 million to defray the $48 million owed on his contract.
They also took advantage of the Florida fire sale by adding catcher Paul Lo Duca.
I'm not sure the Mets took advantage of anyone with the LoDuca deal, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
Winter winners ...
1. New York Mets - Best National League team money can buy.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - Fill holes with proven veterans.
3. Toronto Blue Jays - With open wallet, they add four key elements.
4. Chicago White Sox - Champs wisely get stronger for repeat try.
5. A's - Gain Bradley and Loaiza without big losses.
6. San Diego Padres - Huge turnover for mediocre division champs.
7. New York Yankees - Add Damon, eliminate lots of dead wood.
8. Giants - Replace losses, add bench ... and Bonds.
... and wipeouts
1. Florida Marlins - Massive salary dump: six regulars, two aces.
2. St. Louis Cardinals - Second year of key losses might prove costly.
3. Los Angeles Angels - Where has Moreno's money gone?
4. Boston Red Sox - Chemistry of 2004 miracle gone in one year.
5. Baltimore Orioles - They hope losing Sosa, Ponson a blessing.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks - Gains don't seem to outweigh losses.
7. Atlanta Braves - Loss of Furcál, pitching coach could end title reign.
8. Philadelphia Phillies - Bullpen takes big hit with loss of Wagner.
Can't argue with that. The Mets had the best off season in baseball for the second year in a row. Now they just have to win.
With camp starting, baseball season is around the corner. This winter seems a lot longer than last year's winter to me.
The conversation took place three years ago. Jim Kaat, one of the finest baseball TV analysts, was talking about Keith Hernandez.
"Keep watching that guy," Kaat said. "He just keeps getting better."