Friday, July 30, 2004
This offseason Mets brass sold the fans on a plan of action that would right the Mets ship. Under the Steve Phillips regime, the Mets had strayed and become something they weren't, namely, a blue and orange version of the Yankees, snatching up hired guns and stealing back page press. The result were both similar and different from the Yankees. Like the Yankees, the Mets squandered their farm system but unlike the Yankees, did so without the benefit of wins on the field. With the promotion from within of first year GM Jim Duquette, the Mets set out on a PR blitz this offseason to get the fans excited to return to the organizational roots focused on pitching and getting younger. The propaganda was also an attempt provide a built in excuse for not signing Vladimir Guerrero and not trading young players for Alfonso Soriano. As a result, Met fans had visions dancing around our heads of a team a few years away that would be reminiscent of the 1986 Mets, with home grown stud pitchers, a few good home grown position players and a couple of free agents to plug holes. In other words, a team that us fans would be proud to root for; a team that would distinguish themselves from the band of mercenaries that the Yankees had assembled. With young players like Jose Reyes, David Wright, Scott Kazmir and Matt Peterson, fans were justified in their expectations. But now the plan has changed. Rumors are swirling that the Mets are on the verge of dealing Peterson and/or Kazmir - their top two pitching prospects - for Kris Benson and/or Victor Zambrano. The Mets are reported to be willing to "throw in" Ty Wigginton, a hard nosed, home grown player that will not only run through a wall for this team, but who, in only his second season, is also on pace to hit .280, smack 20 HRs and swat 35 doubles. The merits of these rumored trades are debatable, with most fans that are in favor of such a trade citing TINSTAAPP (There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect) in arguing that while Peterson and Kazmir are top tier prospects, they are just that - prospects - and there is no guarantee they will ever pan out. Those that advocate that the Mets should hold onto their prospects argue that the Mets should resist trying to put a band aid on a 2004 Mets squad suffering from far more than one little boo boo. Much depends on what, if any, the exact trade(s) is/are and whether or not the player(s) the Mets get in return are inked to a longer term deal and is not just a few month rental. However, if a trade is made and whatever players are involved and whichever camp you find yourself in, it's hard to ignore that the Mets "plan" has been scrapped and the future is not nearly as bright as it once looked.