Time To Trade Fernando Martinez?

Several days ago Mike Silva of the NY Baseball Digest posted an article titled “Could The Mets Get Adrian Gonzalez?” Silva proposed last spring that the Mets offer Jenrry Mejia, Jon Niese, Brad Holt, Fernando Martinez, and Daniel Murphy, now he suggests adding Ike Davis into the mix with a combination that still includes Mejia and F-Mart. He says, “A big year from F-Mart and he all of a sudden becomes the kind of piece you can center in a blockbuster package”.  He thinks that there could be an opportunity to make a trade prior to the July trade deadline, if the Mets are in serious contention.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.  Blogs afford this opportunity, as so they do for the commentor to express agreement or disagreement.  Not only do I disagree with Silva but I totally take issue with his entire mentality and philosophy in proposing such a trade.  To sum up my thoughts in one sentence:  Making such a trade is not the way to run a major league franchise.

Most Mets fans are disillusioned with ownership’s inconsistent actions in executing a long term strategy.  That’s why the Mets are never able to contend for an extended period of time.  That’s why we need a plan that maintains a constant flow of prospects coming up through the minor league system.  They need to be well coached and tutored to afford them the opportunity to develop and eventually play important roles at the major league level.  We also need a top tier free agent or two to complement our future stars.  The result would be continuity of the roster from year to year for many years.  Chemistry, camaraderie, and hopefully success will be the end result.

This is not a unique or novel approach.  It simply combines the best strategies of small market teams and large market teams.

In my opinion, a strong farm system is the most important factor in being able to achieve the stated goal.  To be fair, I realize that there is more than one way to build a championship caliber team.  And there are many who disagree with my opinion which so heavily would rely on the minor league system.  It’s true that the Mets have had little success developing their own players.  There is a history of over-hyping our prospects and when they do not meet our lofty expectations, we trade them but get little in return.  In addition, as a large market team, we can afford to splurge on top free agents.  These arguments do give credence to the idea of acquiring Adrian Gonzalez at any cost.

I say we need a strong farm system at any cost.  If it’s broken it must be fixed.  And if it can’t be fixed by the current administration, a change must be made.  In this vein, I have never criticized Omar for failing to sign an impact free agent or make a high profile trade.  I don’t buy the belief that the Mets need to concentrate their efforts on these types of moves.  Making a big splash to pacify the fans and generate support for the team is short sighted.  Trying to imitate the Yankees formula for success has never worked.

We need to scout better, draft better, and coach better.  The results will be difficult to measure, especially in the short term.  Unfortunately a long term plan doesn’t yield instant success or gratification.  But this is where the money should be spent. The team should be built primarily from within.  Let’s get the right people in charge who can get these results.

Believe it or not, the Mets might be on the right track.  I think the Wilpons, along with Minaya, are in the early stages of implementing such a plan. They haven’t formally announced or publicized this plan, nor might they have the courage to admit that this is the plan.  But seeing what has transpired this winter, there is proof that the winds of change have begun to shift.

Proof lies with the Mets payroll for 2010.  Cot’s Baseball Contracts currently shows the Mets payroll as being down 18% from last year.  That’s $122M against $149M last year.

In addition, there has been no response to the Phillies having increased their payroll substantially.  $98M in 2008, $113M in 2009, and $138M committed to date in 2010.  Yes you read it correctly.  The Phillies as currently constituted, will be outspending the Mets in 2010 by $16M.

An 18% decrease in salary and no knee jerk reactions.  Not signing mediocre free agents to long term contracts is consistent with this strategy.  No short-sighted decisions in hopes of improving poor ticket sales is a sound way of staying the course.

The plan is operational!  But that’s just the beginning.

The second piece of proof that a new strategy is in place is that the Mets have not traded a single minor leaguer this winter, from any level of their organization.  It’s exciting that we now have many highly rated prospects that are predicted to succeed at the major league level.

I think the mentality and philosophy of this organization has changed.  The Madoff fiasco and the poor economy seem to have jolted the Wilpons into changing there tune on how to manage this team.  For whatever reason, it is a change for the better and quite refreshing.

Mets Merized fans are energized about the coming 2010 season, despite having been agitated, disgruntled, and depressed all winter long.   We have laid our hopes on all the injured players being healthy, comeback seasons by last year’s underachievers, and the addition of Jason Bay, hopefully a leader and backbone of the team.  Plus now for the first time in years, we feel turned on by our prospects having the potential to be true impact players.

I want to see Jenrry Mejia and Jon Niese pitch for the Mets, not some other team.  I want Ike Davis and Fernando Martinez to be the ones getting curtain calls at Citifield.  Brad Holt, Ruben Tejada, Wilmer Flores and many others.  Who knows?  I’ll take my chances with them.  I don’t want to see any of these guys coming into Citifield with a visiting team’s uniform on.

I want my trip to Citifield to center on an exciting game played by an exciting team.  I don’t want my memory to be having stood on line at the Shake Shack or being mesmerized by the waterless urinals.

All I am saying is to give patience a chance.

Danny Baseball