Items of note

Jon Heyman writes in that, according to a source, Omar Minaya would be gone if he hadn’t signed an extension last year. If that’s true, it’s another example of the Mets failing to grasp sunk-cost economics. And also, why did they sign him to that extension last year?

At, Mike Salfino examines what Braylon Edwards could bring to the Jets. I love the acquisition because it’s the definition of a potential buy-low steal. When could a guy’s value be lower in Cleveland than a couple days after he punches LeBron James’ friend in the face?

It will be really, really funny if the replacement NBA refs actually enforce the proper traveling rules. Sorry, Kobe — you only get two steps!

Jonah Keri provides some much-deserved love for Ben Zobrist. Two things: 1) Why was everyone so surprised that Zobrist turned out to be good? He had a .429 career Minor League OBP; 2) Keri points out, accurately, that Zobrist’s UZR (and thus, WAR) is skewed by small sample sizes at defensive positions, but if WAR is a measure of a player’s total value, shouldn’t Zobrist get bonus points for being willing and capable of playing nearly every position?

Tommy Dee puts a really silly picture of Al Harrington in an otherwise well-crafted teardown of people who obviously don’t follow the team like he does.

All the pieces matter

“We’re building something here, detective. We’re building it from scratch. All the pieces matter.” – Lester Freamon.

So the Mets announced yesterday that they received Chris Carter and Eddie Lora from the Red Sox, completing the Billy Wagner trade and surprising absolutely no one.

Many will denigrate the trade as yet another mark against Minaya, as Wagner, assuming he is tendered arbitration and rejects it, will provide the Sox draft picks.

But don’t forget that Wagner was still a question mark when the Mets dealt him, so the team risked hanging onto him, having him fall victim to injury or ineffectiveness, and getting nothing for him.

Carter is nothing spectacular, but he can easily be something the Mets pretty desperately need: an inexpensive role player.

I’ve made no secret of my disdain for Minaya’s habit of filling out the roster with overpaid players below replacement-level. With Carter, he has the opportunity to add a solid left-handed bat for the bench and allocate precious resources elsewhere.

So Carter hasn’t done much in his handful of Major League at-bats? So what? He has a career Minor League OPS of .890 and a history of mashing right-handed pitching. He could easily spell Jeff Francoeur against right-handers and serve as the team’s primary pinch-hitter.

Provided he doesn’t completely embarrass himself in camp, Carter should be on the Major League roster come April.

And just for fun, a list of the Mets’ primary pinch-hitters, by pinch-hit at-bats, in each season of Minaya’s tenure (with their season BA/OBP/SLG line).

  • 2005: Marlon Anderson (.264/.316/.391)
  • 2006: Julio Franco (.273/.330/.370)
  • 2007: Ruben Gotay (.295/.351/.421) (!)
  • 2008: Marlon Anderson (.210/.255/.275) (!!!!)
  • 2009: Jeremy Reed (.242/.301/.304)

First, do no harm

In my column on Monday for, I outlined an offseason plan for Omar Minaya hinging on the Hippocratic mantra, “First, do no harm.”

What I mean by that is, since the Mets — regardless of who they bring in this offseason — will need a whole lot to fall their way to compete in 2010, they shouldn’t trade young players with the upcoming season in mind.

The column has sparked an interesting thread at Baseball Think Factory. Comments on that site frequently prompt me to adjust or rethink my position, but that’s not the case here.

If the events of 2009 exposed something about the Omar Minaya Mets, it’s the lack of organizational depth that I’ve been harping on for years.

Commenters there argue that Minaya has not dealt any of his top prospects, but that’s not really my issue. The problem with Minaya is that he trades so many of his mid-level prospects that the organization was left this season with Chip Ambres and Jesus Feliciano as its best hitters in Triple-A, both with sub-.750 OPSes.