Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Did Omar Minaya outsmart Theo Epstein by landing Jason Bay?

Theo Epstein has two rings, while Omar Minaya's job is on the line this year. So if Theo is willing to let Jason Bay go, it must be because Theo knows what he's doing and Omar is throwing money away, right?

Five years ago, the Red Sox allowed another over-30, potentially injury-prone star, Pedro Martinez, to leave Boston for the Mets. Pedro only gave the Mets 1 1/2 good seasons out of a four-year contract. Theo turned out to be justified for refusing to offer a similar long-term deal.

But I would argue that Omar was also justified in signing Pedro. The move revitalized the franchise and made the Mets an attractive destination for players such as Carlos Beltran. Pedro made the All-Star team in each of his first two seasons with the Mets. With his help, a team that had won 71 games in 2004 won 83 in 2005 and 97 in 2006.

Still, in terms of evaluating Pedro's long-term value, Theo was a lot more accurate than Omar.

We will not know for a few years which GM has more accurately valued Jason Bay. But despite their track records, Omar might come out ahead this time. After all, Theo has underestimated a departing star before. Johnny Damon was still going strong at the conclusion of his four-year Yankee deal, helping the Bombers win the title.

Letting Damon go worked out for the Red Sox, who were able to get younger and cheaper with Jacoby Ellsbury and won another title.

But as of now, the Red Sox look a lot weaker without Bay in their lineup.

After the 2003 season, Vladimir Guerrero was a free agent. But the Mets failed to sign him, even though he was available at a comparative discount, Instead, the Mets went for a much cheaper alternative - Mike Cameron.

This time, it's the Red Sox who have turned to Cameron as the cheaper alternative. And the Mets have the run producer they needed.


Anonymous said...

"Did Omar Minaya outsmart Theo Epstein by landing Jason Bay?"


What, you want more? Fine. Bay's a defensive liability, and a far better asset for an AL team that can DH him in a couple years when his legs give out entirely. He's still a good hitter, but he's getting old, and playing in the expansive Citi Field won't help his power numbers (Fenway is a great hitter's park in comparison). For 2010 and 2011, this will be a good signing; in 2012, he'll be an overpaid mediocre player, and in 2013 he'll be Magglio Ordonez (but again without the DH option). If his 2014 option vests, that's very bad news for New York.

Michael said...

You're kidding, right, Jon? Bay won't have the Green Monster to hit in. As "Anonymous" suggests, not long from now Bay will be a born DH, playing in a league that refuses to join the modern world and allow their teams the DH choice.

But let's clear something up: Citi Field is not that hard a park in which to hit home runs. After all, one of the New York teams proved they can hit home runs there. Of course, it's the one that plays there 3 times a year, not the one that plays there 81 times a year.

OK, I'll be serious: Citi Field is not Fenway, or Wrigley when the wind blows out, or Coors Field, or even Yankee Stadium (either one). There's a reason that, when you think "Mets when they're good," you think "pitching," and that's what Citi Field was designed for.

Knowing the type of space available to them, the Mets should specialize in control pitchers, i.e. Seaver, Koosman, Darling, Ojeda, Leiter -- and not pursue blow-'em-away heater pitchers, as there are very few Goodens, ever -- and steady-fielding, good-fielding outfielders, like Mike Cameron used to be, and Johnny Damon sometimes still is. Given that, they won't win a lot of games 8-7, but they might win a lot of games 2-1 or 6-2.

One final thought: Yes, Theo Epstein has 2 rings, but they were a result of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez using steroids. So, in all honesty, Theo and Omar Minaya are tied nil-nil.

Jonmouk71 said...

Getting Beltre helps Theo absorb the loss of Bay to some extent. I know that Bay will miss Fenway but he actually hit more HRs on the road, which bodes well for Citi Field. And Theo will miss Bay's .342 average (last year) against the Yankees, while Beltre has hit .235 against NY over the last 5 seasons in Seattle...

Anonymous said...

if steroids, or ped's are taken into account, how many rings would the yankees have to forfeit?

Uncle Mike said...

Zero. Or, Mr. Anonymous, less than your favorite team will have to forfeit. Unless they're the Mets, in which case there's none TO forfeit!

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