|The trade that changed the Mets||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on February 03, 2008
Would the Mets stumble in their seventy two hour window in which to work out an extension?Â Especially if the numbers which were being thrown about were true (and we later learned they were)?Â Would the Mets pony up $20 million a season for a pitcher who was asking for at least six years?Â Â New Yorkers all remember management balking at a seven year - $71 million deal for Vladimir Guerrero - a man who clearly was one of the best hitters the game has seen in generations.Â The reasons why?Â The Mets didnâ€™t believe in long term contacts for big money.
But in some ways these are different Mets too.Â Â This isnâ€™t the same management team that traded away Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, nor is it the one that brought in Bret Saberhagen (35-28 as a Met) or Frank Viola (38-32 as a Met) far too late in their careers to be a big help.Â Nor are they the same team who proclaimed Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano to be saviors after paying far too much in terms of money and talent.
No, these are General Manager Omar Minayaâ€™s Mets.Â Â A team with upside - a lot of upside and not the kind of misguided optimism that sustains many teams until they have to actually win games on the field.Â These Mets have a different philosophy too spending money, trading for established players with an eye towards the future instead of dealing out of desperation and offering some longer contracts as well (most notably the six year contract given to David Wright), establishing a base for the future.Â But this team is built to win, and built to win now too.Â
Provided Johan Santanaâ€™s arm doesnâ€™t fall off and Pedro is 85% of Pedro, the Mets rotation will be as good as any rotation in the National League and may have greater depth than most if John Maine and Oliver Perez are as good as they were last year, or better.Â Â And theyâ€™ll be even better if Orlando Hernandez can stay healthy and Mike Pelfrey gets a chance to develop.
Some would say that in fact the Mets MAY have the greatest depth of starting pitching of any team in the National League.Â Certainly theyâ€™ve got plenty of upside since three of their sixth starters have a degree of upside.
All of that however is based on Santana retaining the dominant form which he showed in the American League (93-44, 3.22 ERA) - not just in terms of win totals but in terms of innings pitched (over 219 each season the last four years) so that the Mets donâ€™t find themselves in a similar situation to last year when they entered September with a spent bullpen who couldnâ€™t hold a lead.
Yes, the Mets spent a lot of money on Santana, and you could argue that he, not Wright, Beltran, Reyes or Delgado is their franchise player and the face of the franchise from last Saturday (when the deal was officially done after the physicals were complete) until 2014, but for the Mets the future is now - and Santana might just have made them the best all around team in the National League and one of the few teams that could be a legitimate threat in the World Series.