Sunday, December 12, 2004

What is Omar Thinking?

It is time now for the daily dosage of What is Omar Minaya thinking? For those of you not familiar with Minaya, he is the new Mets GM, and was formerly the Expos GM. I am not intentionally going to pick on him today, its just that since he has taken over as GM for the Mets, I have strongly disagreed with every decision he has made. And since this is my blog, where I get to express my opinions, I am going to do just that. (So there).

Omar’s first signing as a GM for the Mets was Kris Benson. Benson was acquired in the middle of the 2004 season, and has always been a player that had “potential” written all over him, but he has never lived up to it. Whether Omar thinks he is going to eventually live up to his potentially or he really thinks Benson is worth 22.5 million, it is a bad signing either way. As a GM you cannot pay a player for what he MIGHT bring you in the future. You have to pay players that you think will give you a certain amount of production. With Benson, the question is what type of player are you going to get. Benson’s lowest ERA was in 2000 when he went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA. His career ERA is 4.28. Yet this is a player who will be making 7.5 million for the next 3 years, and the club has an option for 2008 for another 7.5 million.

Let’s compare Benson with a former Met who just signed with the Marlins, Al Leiter. Al Leiter might be 39, but that does not mean he cannot be successful. Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and David Wells are all past 40 years of age, and doing just fine. Leiter just signed a one year deal with the Marlins for 8 million dollars. Who would you rather have Benson, or Leiter based on their numbers from last year?

ERA K/9 K/BB WHIP OBA ERA+
4.50 6.75 3.00 1.21 .244 95

3.21 6.06 1.21 1.35 .218 133

Given those numbers, one would think Minaya would make the easy decision to choose Leiter, since they cost basically the same amount of money. Instead, Minaya spent over 22 million dollars on a pitcher that will become a big waste of money and a liability to the team. The stats clearly show that Leiter was the better pitcher last year, and if you look at the past five years, it is even clearer that Minaya should have chosen Leiter. Unfortunately he did not. Yesterday, I wrote about how Minaya, should have chosen Radke or even more favorable Matt Clement over Benson. I had forgotten about Leiter, but wanted to revisit this discussion, because I think it is important to show that Minaya clearly made the wrong decision.

After Omar was done making the wrong decision in the starting rotation, he decided to do the same to the bullpen. A reliever with a 3.16 ERA with an ERA+ of 135 is somebody you would figure would not get traded, right? Obviously, I was wrong. Apparently, Omar sees something in Felix Heredia whom he received from the Yankees, giving away Mike Stanton and his ERA of 3.16. If that is not bad enough, Minaya also sent the Yankees $975,000 in the deal. I just don’t get this. Heredia had an ERA of 6.28 last year with the Yanks, and he was barely put on the postseason roster. In the Yankees 11 postseason games, Heredia pitched a total of 1 2/3 innings. I would think that would tell a GM something when a pitcher does not get to pitch in playoff games, even though game 4 of the ALCS went 12 innings, and game 5 went 14 innings. Maybe Omar was busy trying to sell the Mets executives on why Benson is a good pitcher during those games. I’m not sure why he made this trade, and I do not know if anybody is.

Although rumors have quieted down about this deal, Omar had been in hot pursuit of Sammy Sosa and I expect him to still try and get him away from the Cubs. The rumored deal has been around for about 2 months with the Mets getting Sosa, and the Cubs taking Cliff Floyd from the Mets. I am not a huge Sammy Sosa fan at all, especially at the price that he is going to cost. Sammy is due 17 million in 2005, and he has a clause in his contract that says if he is traded an option for 2006 at 18 million is automatically picked up. Cliff Floyd is due 6.5 million in 2005 and 2006, according the great salary site, Dugout Dollars. Sammy last year with the Cubs hit 253./332./517 and had 35 homers. Cliff Floyd hit .260./352./462 with 18 homers. These stats are basically the same except that Sammy had 17 more homers. So the question that Minaya has to think about is 17 more homers a year worth 22 million over the next two years. According to this Mets web site, they would not take Sammy even if he was free. Obviously, they think that 17 million per year would be better spent on somebody like Carlos Beltran. If only Minaya was this smart.

Matt

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