Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mets don't learn from the past

When a GM doesn't learn from the past, his team is in trouble.

A lesson that Mets GM Omar Minaya should have learned from the Moises Alou chapter in the Mets history book is that as a player ages, he becomes more injury-prone. Another is that injury-prone players — regardless of age — need viable backups. This season, Minaya has demonstrated that he has not learned enough from the past.

When Delgado went down with a hip injury, the Mets had no viable replacement ready to fill in. Nick Evans, who can play first, was mired in a miserable slump in the minors, which resulted in his demotion to Double-A. So the Mets decided to try Murphy, Tatis, and even Reed at first. When Murphy showed that he could field the position, Manuel should have made him the starter. Instead, Manuel continues to platoon players at first. As a result, none have had the chance to excel.

Then, Ryan Church, who's as injury-prone as any Met player, went down with a hamstring injury. Angel Pagan, a backup outfielder who can't seem to avoid injuries, was unavailable due to a groin injury. As a result, Fernando Martinez, an untested rookie has been getting more playing time than expected.

The shortstop position has also been a merry-go-round. When Reyes and Cora both became unavailable due to injuries, the Mets had to call up a utility infielder, Ramon Martinez, who in his 2007 and 2008 stints with the Dodgers played second base much more than shortstop, to play shortstop and to trade for a Triple-A shortstop, Wilson Valdez, who this season was only hitting .198 in Triple-A.

At the heart of the problem is the lack of quality depth in the farm system. If you question that, just look at the records of the Mets top-two farm teams: Buffalo and Binghamton. They're both the catfish of their divisions, the bottom dwellers.

(Buffalo has the worst record in the International League.)

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