What have we learned from the post-season thus far?
1) Nobody really knows what the hell it takes to have October success.
From the shitty Cardinals and Rockies teams of the past to the Dodgers surprising sweep of the best club in the NL, this stuff is unpredictable. I mean, you can still usually predict the Red Sox will go deep, and at least destroy the Angels on their way. But I'm thinking that I don't know what to think. When does a team start playing good baseball and how the hell can you plan for it? Exhibit A, the Cubs: with Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Harden and Lilly in their rotation? Are you kidding me? I though pitching won playoff games. But a team that tends to go ice cold like the Mets would be a very fragile playoff team indeed.
Jerry has one thing right so far, execution and comfortable players in established roles helps.
"You don't see a lot of guys that have statistical numbers play well in these championship series," Manuel said. "What you see is usually the little second baseman or somebody like that carries off the MVP trophy that nobody expected him to do. That's because he's comfortable in playing that form of baseball, so therefore when the stage comes, it's not a struggle for him."
2) Midseason moves CAN sure as shit put a team in the playoffs, Omar.
Jim Hendry got Harden for his rotation. But Ned Colletti added Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake to his team.
Who knows what it would taken to have gotten into the Manny sweepstakes, but the Dodgers sure didn't give up much. Conventional wisdom is that the Mets just didn't have what it took. But that was also the conventional wisdom about Johan, and the thing about trades is that they are also unpredictable and to a certain extent, depend on a GMs tenacity and creativity. They can't be predicted, not by the media or fans, who just don't know the parameters or pressures that GMs are dealing with. We can only guess. Who wouldn't give up F-Mart right now if it meant getting in on these playoffs?
What have we learned about Jerry Manuel?
Hold on to your hats, SABR friends.
On his first full day as the Mets' long-term manager, Manuel forcefully attacked the SABR-type mathematical analysis some have fixated on in recent years.
"You get so many statistical people together, they put so many stats on paper, and they say, well, if you do this and you score this many runs, you do that many times, you'll be in the playoffs," he said.
"That's not really how it works, and that's what we have to get away from. And that's going to have to be a different mind-set of the team in going forward. We must win and we must know how to win rather than win because we have statistical people. We have to win because we have baseball players that know and can understand the game."There are many snide things one could say about how looking at some numbers might help Jerry manage. But I think these guys have it covered.
If you're bored, and your tastes run towards the juvenile, come play the nickname game with me on the "relaunched" MetsNicknames site.
Or, go delight in the Army's Second Annual What If The Mets HADN'T Blown It Again. The only coverage you can get of the Mets playoff battle.
Wally being Wally on Manny being Manny
One of the most dismaying effects of this season was the extent to which Wallace Matthew's hate-filled attacks on the Mets and bitter and often asinine rants started making sense. Well, it might be a sign of good things to come that he has put an end to that. Wally writes that the Mets would be crazy to sign such a: "head case, a sometime malcontent, an all-day flake. You know, everything's going along fine, then one day he decides to strangle the traveling secretary. Just Manny being Manny."
I'm not too worried about the traveling secretary, but I am worried that the Mets would be crazy not to tend to their offensive chemistry. I think Manny's tires need to be kicked. They need a guy out of sync with Wright, Beltran and Reyes, who often go cold at the same time. Is that guy Manny? At the right number of years, yes. We will just have to see how that market shapes up.
REHASH the past Dept.
If you are in the mood to remind yourself of Omar Teodoro Antonio Minaya y Sanchez 's "greatest hits," check this slightly dated overly charitable account of his trades.
My "fave" Omar moves?
*Signing Moises Alou, resigning him.
*El &$#@! Duque. I never liked that move, not the first time or the second.
*Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick
*Trading Lastings Milledge, after holding him out of trades that could have made the Mets better, for a fourth outfielder and an expensive no-hit catcher when Omar had just let Jesus Flores, who started for the Nationals in place of Brian Schneider, slip away in the rule 5 draft.
*Not moving Mike Cameron when requested a trade in January of 2005 before the collision (all he got for him afterwards was Xavier Nady, who, before Metsfans elected him Mayor of Happytown, was just a utility outfielder and infielder).
*Ruben Gotay from the Royals for Jeff Keppinger
*Heath Bell and Royce Ring to the Padres for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins
*Ambiorix Burgos from the Royals for starter Brian Bannister (to be fair, this has raised the Mets visibility in the Dominican Republic).
Yeah, I know he's made a few good ones too. But spare me the "player X begat player Y who years later was traded for player Z" rationalizations. Those are merely creative excuses. I evaluate trades based on the GMs maneuvering in the environment before and during the trade. I evaluate trades against the possibilities at the time. For instance, if Omar turns around and trades Brian Church for Jason Bay tomorrow, that doesn't make the Lastings Milledge trade any less of a mind-blowing disappointment.
Of Omar's known skillsets--wooing elderly players to Flushing, leveraging the Wilpon's cash for big ticket free agents, and identifying future powerhitting juicers-- the purse strings seem to be most relevant now. But after watching the Sawx and the Dodgers this off-season, I would like to see him try his hand at building a winning organization at the lower levels, so the Mets have more arms to plug in when AARP Omar strikes again. Omar has shown the ability to stand pat at the trade deadline rather than make any foolish moves, and up until the Mets repeated their failures this year, I found that somewhat comforting. All and all, I don't think he's going to trade this team to health.
Labels: time waster