Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lipstick On A Reliever

I'm going to start to call Omar Minaya the Avon Lady.

Think about it, only the Avon Lady could find enough lipstick in the world to make the proverbial pig known as Guillermo Mota look attractive to somebody. I don't know how Omar did it, but he turned Mota into not only a serviceable ballplayer, but a starting catcher!

Minaya flipped Mota into Johnny Estrada, who's very similar to Paul Lo Duca in that he has the ability to be a .300 hitter from the catching position. Of course, the one National Leaguer who had a lower percentage throwing out runners than Lo Duca and even Yorvit Torrealba: you guessed it, Estrada. But I look at it this way, Estrada's weak arm is going to give away one base at a time, while Mota's weak arm gave away four bases on a single throw, and he can't hit. Besides, you wanted Johnny Bench in return for Mota? Be lucky that Minaya was able to get Johnny Estrada and not Erik Estrada...or Larry Wilcox.

Or a tree limb eaten by termites from the inside out.

And that brings up a question that I hope is answered at some point for my own amusement: Who, in the meeting behind closed doors at Miller Park or whatever Florida or Arizona resort that major league executives meet, stood up and said that Guillermo Mota was adequate compensation for Johnny Estrada? Who looked those numbers over and said "yeah, this is a good idea"?

Bobcat Goldthwait once said that when he got a 5 out of 100 on his aptitude test in school, he found the guys who scored 1-4 so they can hang out...he of course, was the smart one. I don't know where Omar would rank in an aptitude challenge against the other GM's in the league, but he obviously found one that ranks lower than him and fleeced him on this deal. I'm willing to vote Minaya "Exec of the Year" on that feat alone.

(I mean seriously, this deal is tantamount to trading Iron Mike Sharpe for the Bushwhackers...a jobber for a draw? I'm still laughing my butt off over this one.)

It sure as heck allayed the fears I had during the weekend, as we were driving to South Jersey to gamble our lives away. Here I am, in the back seat watching the raindrops race across the back window and meeting up with other raindrops, thinking of some David Eckstein jokes to unleash after the Mets make that inevitable signing, and dreading the announcement of Jimmy Rollins as N.L. MVP.

Bad omens popped up everywhere on that last one...Comcast Philly took extra care to wait until I was in their broadcast area to re-air the 11-10 game which was the Phillies' crown jewel amongst the rubble that was the Mets' '07 season (no, I didn't watch.) Then, as I rifled through a memorabilia store because your blogger, while smart enough to come up with a funny every once in a while was dumb enough not to pack t-shirts, I found the second bad omen: a shirt that read "THE TEAM TO BEAT -January 2007" with a picture of J-Roll on it (no, I didn't buy it.) And sure enough, Rollins wound up winning the award on Tuesday. Could anybody in New York argue with that one? I'm certainly not going to. Rollins should send a fruit basket to the Mets for their collapse which helped create the beasts that are Rollins "team to beat" t-shirts, re-airings of 11-10 games, and an MVP award to boot because the Mets couldn't hold 5-0 leads against the Nationals.

I guess now would be a perfect time to once again thank our Mets for letting Zuul out of the refrigerator.

But at least the Mets didn't compound those mistakes by enlisting a dwarf to take on the ghost like creature from the original Ghostbusters. Say what you want about giving a 32-year-old second baseman with bad knees $25 million to play second base for four years. But it sure as heck is better than giving a 33-year-old shortstop who's injury prone his own self $36 million to play second base for four years. Eckstein comes with those extra special buzz words like "gritty" and "gutty". But guess what: Castillo gave you all of that and more down the stretch in '07 with bad knees and a bad hip, so why the Mets even thought about Eckstein is beyond me. Perhaps it was a ploy to bring Castillo's price down, but with the Astros also hot on Luis' trail, that strategy could have easily backfired. So the Mets actually succeeded despite themselves on that one.

(I guess that's kinda like the Estrada robbery, which would have never happened had it not been for Torrealba's bum shoulder. So Omar should give a kiss to his lucky garden gnome or whatever talisman he uses to align the stars.)

But now comes the hardest trick of all for Minaya. Because while getting a starting catcher for a guy who goes to a place where he can now wash down his HGH with the smooth flavor of Old Milwaukee is nice, the Mets are still in pursuit of that elusive ace, almost a full season after they missed out on Barry Zito. The chips are still there, and if anybody who knows more about Fernando Martinez than I do can convince me that he's worth keeping, I'm all ears. But if Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber taught me anything, it's that sometimes it's better to turn your chips into major league talent before those chips depreciate in value. The trick is to recognize the very peak in their value and make the move at the right time. The way the Mets need an ace, there may be no better time than right now.

(Especially with two first round draft picks this June...imagine that! And for that I give thanks in recognition of the upcoming holiday to Tom Glavine for doing something right by the Mets for the first time since August, which was exacerbating the inevitable and signing with the Braves so early. Maybe his Met past wasn't so wonderful. Actually, his most recent past kinda stunk. But he might have helped fund the future with that pre-December signing...that is if the Mets don't screw up the 18th pick by selecting Steve Chilcott again.)


Whether you're putting lipstick on your pig before you take it out of the oven, or you are celebrating the shipment of a very tall turkey to Wisconsin, here's hoping you enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow. May your turkeys have more juice than your relief pitchers.


upstate met fan said...

phucking rollings better not preditc anything in 08. Glavine will either win the world series or throw a no hitter for the braves. Thank God Minaya had enough sense to get rid of "here, I'll give you 5 runs" mota. I'm still pissed off about LoDuca not being around. And are chances of getting santana went from 5% to 1% thanks to the freaking red sox.

oh yeah, happy thanksgiving. gobble!

fredstradamus said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, brother, and to all the MetstraManiacs out there!

Let's Go Mets ... Let's Go sign a starter already!

katherine said...

Happy Thanksgiving Metstradamus, Thank you for making the last few months somewhat less painful.

Anonymous said...

jimmy rollins might be the worst mvp choice ever.

Demitri said...

I saw those f(*&ing "team to beat" themed shirts and towels in a local grocery store I no longer go to.

His prediction wasn't really true. If J-Ro's prediction was "We're the team that as long as we hang on, will win the East after a historic, stunning and epic collapse by the 1st place team", he would have been right.

Since the Phillies won the East, I expect all the NL teams who hated the Mets to now take their game up a notch whenever they plat Philly. Go and get em Dontrelle, and the rest of the Marlins who seem to have so many anger management problems.

Unser said...

Unbelievable that the Mets got anything with a heartbeat in return for Mota. Could not agree with you more - a decent hitting starting catcher? If the Mets simply released Mota, I would have totally been in favor of it.

They say Estrada is "trouble in the clubhouse?" Well, unless he's a pyromaniac and sets fire to D. Wright's bats, I'll take it.

T.A. Negro said...

I do think Estrada was gonna be non-tendered, so it is sort of like the sack of flour over nothing. And the Brewers bullpen is being raped and pillaged as we speak. And this sack of flour does have some plus seasons on his resume, back in the days when drugs were cool, but still.

Anonymous said...

yes they showed up in the grocery stores in delaware.

not in february when he *actually made the prediction*

but the day after they won the division.

and that my phriends is whyj-lo I mean j-ro I mean j-roll may have deserved the mvp (debatable). philly phans, however, didnt.

katherine said...

Because, uncharacteristically, George Clooney did not call me for our usual friday night date, I decided to put my free time to good use and to research the incident between Ned Yost and Johnny Estrada last August.

It was not a fight, first of all - no punches thrown. What happened is that Ned Yost was criticizing JJ Hardy in front of the other team members for an error he had made on a Lastings Milledge grounder the inning before. Tony Graffanino objected and had words with Yost. That's when Johnny E came to the defense of Graffanino (and Hardy), and Yost and he got angry and had to be separated.

Later they all minimized the incident and Yost said, "Johnny is a competitor and a 'gamer' and plays to win. He doesn't care about anything else. He's out there to win. That's why I respect Johnny as a player. He's not here to make friends. He's here to win ball games. That's what I really like about Johnny."

While I am concerned about the somewhat ominous sounding "He's not here to make friends", actually Estrada sounds a fair bit like Paul Lo Duca. Can somebody who knows about these things please tell me, is there ANY chance Paul might still be signed ? I read the Mets might conceivably not actually sign Estrada, after he had arbitration or something like that?

Metstradamus said...


You mean drugs...aren't cool?

Uh oh.

Demitri said...

What I read (and granted, this was in a Baltimore Newspaper) there's a chance that the Mets might non-tender Estrada if they trade for Ramon Hernandez.

Again- hearsay and rumors, from a not so objective source, so I say "print it!" or whatever. Its November and I'm bored.

Call me "Carlos".

jdon said...

I would have been willing to trade Mota for one of those sausage racers: bratwurst, I think.