The Mets are heading for an iceberg of 1912 proportions.

omar-minaya-shrugFor years, GM Omar Minaya has charged after glitzy, high-profile free agents while ignoring just about everything else that makes a team good.

This season’s injury woes have shown that while the Mets were loaded with big-name stars, their minor league system is not loaded with much of anything.

Stocking the minor leagues is not just about hot young prospects (which, by the way, the Mets are low on too), but is also about signing all those has-been and never-were fringe major leaguers to minor league free agent deals, just in case you need a replacement-level stiff to fill in with some reliable mediocrity for a few weeks when a star goes down.

Omar largely seems to have ignored this part of his job, which is why when someone gets injured he consistently finds in a situation akin to a gunslinger in a duel who fires off the six bullets in his first gun, then pulls out his other six-shooter only to realize he forgot to load it with anything.

Nobody can blame Omar for the ridiculous rash of injuries the team has sufferered this year, which is certainly out of the ordinary. But at the same time, there are always going to be at least a few injuries every year.

fmartdiveBefore the season who exactly did Omar think was going to be the backup option if some of these guys went down? Have we ever seen a team’s starting lineup go so quickly from playoff contender to worst in the majors? The utter lack of depth in the upper level of the Mets system can only be laid at Omar’s door.

But worst of all is what this all means for next year and beyond. Because the Mets were clearly in “win-now” mode this year, and have been for years, with the attendant ill-effects on the future.

Next year the Mets are going to have gaping holes at left field, first base, catcher, and at least two starting pitchers, and even that is only if you assume that Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran will both come back fully healthy (questionable), and if you consider Jeff Francoeur to be “not a hole” in right field (extremely questionable).

Sure, it is true that the Mets are going to be clearing off about $40 million from their books via departing free agents, so they could go after some free agents. But they also have about $20 million in raises coming, if they offer everyone arbitration, and next year’s free agent class is expected to be the thinnest in years, which will drive up prices on the few mediocre players actually available. Plus it is questionable how much of that left-over $20 million the Wilpons will allow to be spent, given all the collateral damage they’ve taken between the financial crisis and the Madoff scandal. And in the end there is still the basic fact that the Mets have at least 5 major holes to fill.

castillolostMeanwhile the Phillies have only gotten stronger, with Happ and Lee pitching in for a full season, and the Marlins are still young-ish with a stacked rotation, and the Braves are always lurking and never mail it in, while the Mets have a farm system which, if not “barren,” can at best be described as “very thin.”

My suggestion *would* be to blow this whole team up and rebuild, if not for the fact that almost all of the Mets’ tradeable commodities, up to and including David Wright, are incredibly devalued at present due to injury or suckage.  At this point the Mets are just going to have to resign themselves to slogging through another mediocre campaign next summer, and hope they can build some of these guys back up in value and flip them at the deadline.

That is, unless they really want to consider flipping Johan Santana or K-Rod at this point, but that certainly seems to be an unthinkable scenario, as the Mets have gotten so used to thinking of themselves as perennial contenders, and the injuries this year are such an obvious and convenient excuse for their struggles to be blamed on, rather than facing up to the fact that the ship is leaking, the iceberg is lurking, the helmsman is incompetent, and it just might be time to at least try to change course, even if it might be too late, instead of just continuing on full steam ahead.

5 Responses to “Mets headed for disaster”

  1. Sorry to be harsh but this article does not provide anything new that we havent read in other Mets blogs about 15 times now. No new analysis and no new take, just a rehash. I guess you throw out a few completely ridiculous scenarios like trading Wright or Santana. Maybe your emotions got in the way because there isnt much logic to any of it. Additionally our farm system may not be great but its much better than you paint here which is just a copy and paste of what a couple of beat writers wrote already.

  2. Paul Moro says:

    Sorry to be harsh, Jeff. But we’re not a Mets-centric blog. Most of our readers are not Mets fans and therefore don’t visit Mets-centric blogs. Nick has no “emotions” towards the team that could possibly get in his way.

    Regarding the Mets minor league system, it’s very bottom heavy right now. Most prospects that they do have are at least 2-3 years away. Scouts and evaluators will always value players closer to contributing at the big league level more than a guy like Wilmer Flores because they’re more projectable. And that’s where the Mets system falls short.

  3. Thanx for the great post Nick, I certainly was aware that the Mets were in bad shape, but I didn’t realize the dearth in the minor league system.

    Tough position for management too; I think firing Minaya would actually be detrimental, who knows what kind of deals he would try to pull off this upcoming off season – unless they take the “blow the team up” scenario to mean front-office personnel as well.

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Just for the record, I don’t read any Mets blogs, nor do I read any Mets beat writers.

    I just write about what interests me, and what seems to be going on in the world of baseball, from my admitedly limited perspective. If other bloggers and beat writers have written similar stuff, than I guess that just means that we are probably all correct about the Mets dismal situation.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    As for the Mets farm system, it’s obviously not in good shape, or they wouldn’t be in the situation they are in. Most teams at least have a few guys in Double-A that they can call up in an emergency, but the Mets obviously do not.

    I’m sure they have some good-looking players in the lowest levels of the system, but the upper levels are obviously empty. Also, as I mentioned in the post, the real mistake is not the lack of prospects, but the lack of non-prospect veteran depth. I wrote a post earlier this year about how the Rays AAA team is filled with decent former major-leaguers who can fill in when needed. The Mets, not so much.

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