Monday, January 02, 2006

Why, Omar, Do You Want Manny so badly???

This is an open letter to Mr. Omar Minaya ( my favorite General Manager, of my favorite team, the New York Mets)


You have done so much to move this Mets team into contention, including working through holidays for over a year, that I implore you to do one more thing for all of our sakes, yours especially included---- TAKE A BREAK AND STOP MAKING TRADES FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS!!! This whole Manny Ramirez - 4-team - blockbuster talk is making everyone's heads spin, and all for a player who most of us don't (or shouldn't) want!! Let's look at this constructively and objectively, 2 things that most of us Mets fans (myself included) rarely can do.

1.) Manny Ramirez is NOT the player to fill all of the holes in this team. Yes, I know, how dare I speak such sacrilige, especially when speaking about a player who is most assuredly on his way to a place in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. However, this is the same Manny who does Not field well, if at all, had a good arm but doesn't use it, takes weeks off if he loses enthusiasm, and will collect roughly the payroll of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on a yearly basis (not to MENTION the deferred monies that have just come to the surface.) Manny can be selfish, self-centered and a cancer in the clubhouse, and at other times he can be generous and a great teammate. At this point, we need someone more "steady" in their demeanor, as we are trying to reach the Series for the first time in 6 years, not coming off of one of the most exciting Sports stories (Red Sox victory of 2004) of the last 50 years. As Manny would go, so would go the Mets, and I for one am not willing to put my proverbial eggs in his basket.

2.) With the additions of Lo Duca, Nady, and especially Delgado, as well as back-ups Valentin and Franco, Omar has already re-established our lineup as a strength for the ballclub. We are solid from 1 to 8, with a good bench (pending 1 or 2 more additions), and our defense is actually something to brag about. We have some youth in Diaz, Beltran (yes, he's STILL a youngish player), Reyes, Wright & Hernandez/Keppinger in the lineup, and defensively, Floyd had his best year in a long time, Lo Duca calls a great game and Delgado is far better than advertised (not J.T. Snow, but who is? Okay, J.T. Snow is J.T. Snow, you got me...) We have a decent mix of power, speed and defense, and with Milledge not far away, as well as a few other lower level offensive players, the template is in place for a number of years of offensive success. And there will be other free agents to be had next year and the year after, so don't fret all of you lovers of headline-grabbing!

3.) The proposed 4-way trade would have us give up 6 --- SIX ---6 players for Ramirez and Denys Baez. Okay- let's discuss this. Aaron Heilman is, in many ways, superior to Baez in regards to the mets current/future needs. He is younger than Baez, and can start and relieve. He can pitch in middle relief or be a closer on the days that Wagner needs a rest. And, most importantly, he HAS to be a Met for a few more years because he is not even arbitration-eligible yet. Baez, on the other hand, is a free agent at the end of 2006, already costs substantially more than Heilman, will continue to do so for many years, and has stated his aversion to becoming a set-up man for fear it will diminish his financial potential as an upcoming free agent. Edge- Orioles/Rays/R. Sox Benson and Seo make up 2/5 of our rotation, the YOUNGEST part of our rotation, and Seo has not yet reached his potential. Yes, Benson WAS overpaid, although not by 2005-2006 standards, and Seo is again not even arbitration-eligible. Not to mention the, ahem, added "assets" of Benson's wife, Anna (check out - but don't take my word for it- look for yourself (and look, and look, and look- ow! my wife just hit me!) And we aren't getting any starters back in trade, and there are no more really good replacements available via free agency. And DON'T ask about Zito, because with this trade, we have NOTHING LEFT TO POSSIBLY ACQUIRE ZITO WITH, unless Beane would suddenly accept Jim Duquette's old desk, some Mike Piazza jerseys and some photos that pitching coach Rick Peterson took of Victor Zambrano's wind-up in exchange for the enigmatic lefty! Edge - Orioles/Rays/R. Sox Floyd has a no-trade to Boston, and wouldn't be too happy in Baltimore, either. Plus, not for nothing, but NY is a wonderfully diverse town, and it would be a big mistake to trade our most prominent (read O-N-L-Y) African-American player in the wake of Cameron's departure, let alone one who has shown us how much fun he has had as a Met (just watch a clip of him running into a wall again - and NOT getting hurt- to see how much he desires to be a Met!) Edge - Orioles/Rays/R. Sox Finally, Mets fans have put great stock in the "next big thing" to come down the pike vis a vis homegrown hitters...with Reyes and Wright, it looks like the frustrations of Mike Vail, Steve Henderson, Gregg Jeffries & Dave Magadan are finally behind us! (Mike Jacobs would have been a great part of that trio, but now we'll have to ask some Fish fans about that. I know- we did get big Carlos, so I'm not complaining- yet- but as a Mets fan, I still reserve my right to do so later.) So now, our NEXT big thing is Lastings Milledge, and the reason why I have remained excited about his prospects isn't so much the obvious (5 tools, and a supposed great attitude in spite of what the press has written in the past), but moreso the fact that some GMs' that I really respect (other than Omar) in the form of Beane and Epstein have coveted him almost as long as we've owned his rights. If they want him so bad, I want him more. If we trade him for a mid-30's OF, along with the other rumored pieces of this puzzle, it will be HUGE EDGE - Orioles/Rays/R. Sox...and as a Mets fan for more than 38 years, I just can't have that, and neither can you.

I ask you once more, my dear, beloved Omar, please, Please, PLEASE do not make this trade, under any circumstances. Sign Tavarez to a 2-yr contract to shore up the bullpen, and let Bannister, Milledge, Pelfrey, Hernandez and Keppinger fight for spots on the roster in Spring Training. As the season progresses, by all means trade for any necessary parts to keep us in contention, but remember that pitching and defense, especially in good ole' Shea, are what matters and Manny's addition only serves to hurt us too deeply in both of these areas for his amazing offense to offset. Now Omar, go and have some left-over turkey from Thanksgiving (or Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, whichever you prefer) and allow yourself a few days to sit back and look out across all that you have achieved...and allow yourself to kvell a little (that's Yiddish for being proud of something)...but not too long, because you still have some work to do- just not as it relates to Mr. Manny.

David Rubin
Life-long devoted (read- crazy) Mets fan

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