Monday, January 26, 2009

He Said, They Said...

I'm beginning to wonder who, exactly, is driving this bus.

The Mets can continue to add pitchers to try to round out their starting rotation, but in reality it's no secret that if the Mets really want to make themselves a bonafide contender, they need to add a major bat to the middle of their lineup.

I'm not at all against the signing of Freddy Garcia. I really liked Garcia back in his Seattle days, and I certainly think the move is a great low-risk, high-reward kind of deal. Should Garcia prove himself healthy and capable of eating up innings and winning games, the move is a steal. But there was another news blip late in the week that left me a bit perplexed about how the Mets are approaching the 2009 season.

The article, of course, involved the Mets lack of interest in Manny Ramirez.

I'm kind of confused as to who, exactly, is telling the truth. For all we've heard, or at least all that's been indicated to us, Omar Minaya is a huge fan of Ramirez, and has been so for years. I don't know if it's substantiated, but I keep hearing word that both Freddie and the Boy-King don't like Manny because of Character issues.

This strikes me as a pretty sorry excuse. Manny Being Manny is going to pop up wherever he ends up. So will a guy who's a pretty safe bet to hit about .300, with 35 HRs and 110 RBIs. The kind of bat who would look pretty damn good in the middle of a Mets lineup that was simply dying in key RBI spots late last season. He'd look pretty good in a lineup that already boasts major question marks at no less than 3 positions, and probably 4 if you figure that Carlos Delgado is another year older and for at least 70 games last season looked to be completely past it.

But nooooooo, apparently this guy isn't even an option
. The Mets can continue to load up on pitching and more pitching, and have that shutdown bullpen that will keep the Mets in games that they will continue to lose 3-1 and 4-2 because they couldn't get a key hit. The argument that the offense wasn't the problem because the Mets finished tied for 2nd with Philadelphia in scoring 799 runs is a load. The Mets tended to score runs in bunches. I'd bet that, more often than not, the Mets were either scoring 9 runs or 2 runs, with no in between. I can't buy that this thought hasn't crossed Omar Minaya's mind. Minaya isn't a guy who has been timid to make a major acquisiton; it's part of the reason the Mets have had the modicum of success they've had over the past 4 seasons. And I'm sure the Mets players would certainly be glad to have him around, at least David Wright has indicated as much, and I'm sure plenty of other players agree with him.

Bringing in Ramirez is, the more I think about it, an absolutely necessary move. Going into the season relying heavily on Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church to carry a major part of the offensive load is not going to inspire confidence in anybody, certainly not anyone who really picked apart the Mets struggles last season. I don't care about the fact that he's a space cadet. I don't care if he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed one day and decides he doesn't want to play. Manny spent a large chunk of his childhood in Washington Heights. If he comes here, he immediately becomes the King of the City. He can carry the team on his shoulders, act like a goofball, whatever. I don't care. He needs to be here.

One final point on who we ought to believe: Nobody will say it, and any reporter who does would likely be fired on sight. But if Freddie and Jeffy are such keen judges of character, then how did they manage to get swindled out of $300 million by Bernard Madoff? If that's not a ringing endorsement for Omar to bite the bullet and bring Ramirez on board, I don't know what is.

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