"All I kept on hearing in the streets of New York when you go get bagels in the morning was, 'Omar, please address the bullpen.' Well, to all you Mets fans, we've addressed the bullpen." -Omar Minaya 12/11/2008The only thing missing from that speech was a parachute and an aircraft carrier. And much like George Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Omar Minaya at the Bellagio delivered a victory speech that doesn't seem so much like a victory a little under a year later, as J.J. Putz was granted his million dollar option and sent loose into the deep, dark world that is free agency. Of course, after being a 2009 Met, that's a world that doesn't seem so deep, or dark.
There are plenty of reasons to blast Omar Minaya. I don't feel this is one of them ... at least not for the trade itself. I realize how everyone feels about Endy Chavez. But let's face it, his last days as a Met were hardly productive as an everyday player. He was better in Seattle before tearing his ACL before missing the season.
And also ... Aaron Heilman. Need I say more?
The mistake in the trade more than likely was either not knowing the medical history, or ignoring it all together. Looking back, misdiagnosing injuries would be a theme of this team, so I'm not really surprised. The idea of the trade was good. Even the execution was good. But when the guy who's the lynchpin of the entire trade is made to pitch two more weeks than he should have with bone spurs, then of course a trade is going to look bad.
It also didn't help that Sean Green was either pitching on eight days rest or eight straight days all season ... and that Jeremy Reed, who came as a defensive wizard in the outfield, was inexplicably put at first base for reasons we'll never understand. He also never saw playing time on a team that had about fifty players injured ... again, for reasons we'll never understand.
You may say that it was a bad idea to have a closer pitch the eighth inning, citing that Putz had concerns about not having that "ninth inning adrenaline rush". But that was probably a cover for the injuries that he was forced to pitch through ... and of course he's going to do it because he's not an excuse guy. I'm not sure having a closer in the eighth is bad roster construction. Heck, there have been plenty of eighth inning guys who have been a disaster in the eighth inning.
Again ... Aaron Heilman.
So did it work out? No. But Chavez and Joe Smith didn't exactly work out either, so this whole experiment will probably be a wash. That is, of course, until Ezequiel Carrera gets called up and becomes Superman for Seattle (He had an on base percentage of .441 in AA West Tennessee last season ... for the record. So get back to me about this trade in three years.)