CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Future Shock: Overrate... (07/28)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The BP Broadside: The ... (07/26)
Next Column >>
The BP Broadside: Trad... (08/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (07/28)

July 28, 2011

The BP Broadside

Farewell to the Last Golden Beltran

by Steven Goldman

I suppose it should be unsurprising that for the Mets, so much of this year has been about undoing Omar Minaya’s legacy. Minaya took over the team on the last day of September, 2004 and vacated his chair on October 4, 2010. He took over a 71-91 club, but that club was not without hope, for even before he began, the 2004 Mets had broken the seals on two outstanding young players, both 21 years old: shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright. The Mets were rebuilding, but the foundation was already in place.

What a gift to a general manager, but in the end it didn’t count for much. Over the following six seasons, Minaya would endeavor to find the pennant-winning pieces to go with his budding All-Stars. The farm would fail to produce what was needed, and much of what did come up through the system, however mediocre, was used as fodder in trades, some good, most inconsequential. The best of them brought veterans such as Johan Santana, Carlos Delgado, and Luis Castillo at low costs. These players were part of a constant influx of veterans. Free agent signings included Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Moises Alou, Jason Bay, Francisco Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran, just dealt to the San Francisco Giants.

K-Rod, not so much a poor signing as an expensive and unnecessary one, has already been deaccessioned in return for two Brewers to be named earlier this month. Beltran departs with roughly eight weeks left on the seven-year, $119 million contract he signed back in mid-January, 2005. Bay, by dint of his poor performance and the $35 million yet due him, is likely a permanent part of the collection. Santana too will stay on exhibition even as he returns to the mound after shoulder surgery, legal problems, and declining results. He will earn $22.5 million this year and a minimum of $34 million through the end of 2013. Some things cannot be undone.

The upshot of all this maneuvering is that seven years have gone by, much treasure has been spilled, and Wright and Reyes are now 28 and still pretty much the sum total of what the Mets have established in the majors to build around. Zach Wheeler is an excellent pitching prospect, but he’s also in High-A. Daniel Murphy is having a surprisingly good year and perhaps he or a healthy Ike Davis will give the team a long-term answer at first base. Jon Niese and Dillon Gee should be decent back-of-the-rotation options in the coming years. There are some good prospects coming along, like Matt Harvey and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Jenrry Mejia could come back from Tommy John surgery and still be interesting. But as far as what is here now, with Beltran gone, the heart of the next great Mets team is the same as it was when Minaya took over almost seven years ago.

The problem is, they don’t have another seven years of time with Wright and Reyes. The latter achieves free agency at the conclusion of this season and there is no guarantee that he will return, or even that the ballclub can afford to ask him to return. Wright is signed through next season, after which the club will have to decide if he is worth $16 million or pay him a $1 million buyout. In the Beltran deal and its promise of return in the indeterminate future, Minaya’s administration receives its simultaneous culmination and dissolution, like an expensive high-rise building that is topped off and immediately demolished. No harm done? Not exactly. The ending is exactly the same as Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”: 

I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better, but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right

Good luck, Sandy Alderson; you’ll be starting from close to scratch this winter.

Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steven's other articles. You can contact Steven by clicking here

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

John Carter

Nice retrospective. I'm a little hazy about their future. Last I heard, their finances are in limbo thanks to their Madoff connections. How much longer will it take for that to resolve itself - and what are the range of scenerios awaiting them?

I'll say it (as a Tigers fan living in Toronto who grew up in a New York suburb rooting for the Mets as my NL team with an on/off love/hate relationship with the Yankees), because you would get lynched, if you said it, Steve: the Mets' situation both financially and in their team building sense sure draws some well deserved respect for the Yankees by comparison.

Jul 28, 2011 05:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

Yes, spending money doesn't necessarily solve all your problems - but it creates new ones most GMs would love to have!

Farewell, K-Rod. Farewell, Beltran. Farewell, Omar. Farewell, Cow jumping over the moon.

Jul 28, 2011 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Oh Come on Steven. The "sky is falling" take on the Mets has been beaten to death. They have a strong front office for the first time in two decades. Let's wait longer than ten months on the job to sound the Mets death knell.

Jul 28, 2011 17:54 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

I don't think you read the article. I'm pretty sure there was no "sky is falling" or sounding of a "death knell" in there. It was a look back at what Omar Minaya did with his 7 years on the job.

Jul 29, 2011 10:15 AM
rating: 0
 
dodgerken222

Luis Castillo is listed as one of Minaya's better moves? He may have been acquired cheaply, but was then signed to a 4-year, $36M boondoggle of a contract that any sane person knew was a total waste of money. Even in his "good" years, this piece of work insisted on sacrificing in the first inning which, as the incompetent Jerry Manuel explained, was something he didn't agree with but was "part of his game." The first step in the right direction for Alderson was eating the contracts and ridding the team of the twin cancers of Castillo and Ollie Perez.
It's impolitic to say this, but aside from being an incompetent, Minaya was the most racist GM of the modern era. Building on his infamous Bartolo Colon deal in Montreal, this guy acquired every has-been Latin player available. Go to Retrosheet and check out all of the middle infielders that played for the Mets during the Minaya regime. Do the same for middle relievers. Billy Wagner and David Wright had to shoulder all of the post-game interviews for years. I know...Jason Bay. The exception that proves the rule.
Let the self-righteous start their indignation, but this had to be said.

Jul 28, 2011 20:08 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

The Luis Castillo CONTRACT was as miserable a deal as any team has signed in recent years. The acquisition cost them Drew Butera, who isn't a major leaguer even if the Twins insist on pretending he is, and a now-journeyman OF named Dustin Martin.

As much as I'd like to, I can't blame Minaya for having a manager too afraid of his own players to tell them not to bunt at inappropriate times. I can fault him for employing that managers.

Minaya's supposed pro-Latin bias has been much-discussed, but there has always been something about it that seemed too facile to me. Lacking a complete set of facts, I decided to leave it alone.

Jul 28, 2011 21:32 PM
 
dodgerken222

Just as a partial set of facts...here are some middle infielders the Mets used 2006-09: Fernando Tatis, Alex Cora, Luis Castillo, Anderson Hernandez,Wil Valdez,Ramon Martinez, Angel Berroa, Argenis Reyes, Roben Gotay, Jose Valentin, Julio Franco, Jose Reyes. And Chris Woodward and Andy Greene.
How good a chance do you think Justin Turner and/or Daniel Murphy would have had this year under the Minaya/Manuel regime? ..... Nada. And would Fernando Martinez have been given the job over Lucas Dada?....Es verdad!
Thank you Terry Collins for reminding Mets fans what a good manager looks like! Thank you Sandy Alderson for bringing diversity back to New York!

Jul 28, 2011 22:25 PM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess

THIS. +1

Jul 29, 2011 04:09 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Future Shock: Overrate... (07/28)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The BP Broadside: The ... (07/26)
Next Column >>
The BP Broadside: Trad... (08/01)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (07/28)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Expert League Auction Recap: CBS AL-Only
Fantasy Article State of the Position: Relief Pitcher
Fantasy Article The Quinton: Market Corrections and Underval...
The Week in Quotes: February 23-March 1, 201...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: You Can't Predict Padres
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: It's the Latest Johan ...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Target: Relief Pitchers

MORE FROM JULY 28, 2011
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Next-Best Option
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Beltran by the Bay
Premium Article Future Shock: Overrated Contender Trade Chip...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Relievers for 7/28/11
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Stolen Base Thieves and Wannab...
Premium Article Divide and Conquer, AL West: Deadline Chaos
The BP Wayback Machine: Houston, We Have Bel...

MORE BY STEVEN GOLDMAN
2011-08-01 - The BP Broadside: Trade Deadline Winners
2011-07-31 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Ludwick Liberated?
2011-07-31 - BP on SiriusXM: Show #3 Open Thread
2011-07-28 - The BP Broadside: Farewell to the Last Golde...
2011-07-26 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Mariners are Simultane...
2011-07-24 - BP on SiriusXM: Radio Show Open Thread
2011-07-21 - The BP Broadside: David Cone, All Is Forgive...
More...

MORE THE BP BROADSIDE
2011-08-16 - The BP Broadside: "Compiler" Jim Thome for t...
2011-08-08 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: If You Found Daniel Murphy...
2011-08-01 - The BP Broadside: Trade Deadline Winners
2011-07-28 - The BP Broadside: Farewell to the Last Golde...
2011-07-26 - Premium Article The BP Broadside: The Mariners are Simultane...
2011-07-21 - The BP Broadside: David Cone, All Is Forgive...
2011-07-19 - The BP Broadside: Joe Girardi's Comfort Thin...
More...