20-20 Hindsight: looking back down the road to clinchville

As a diversion now that the Mets have settled into a quiet preparatory September where the results of the games are happily irrelevant, I've been trawling through Amazin' Avenue's archives from before this season started.  I wanted to remember: What did we think would happen this season?  How good did we think the 2006 Mets would be?  What did we get wrong; who surprised and who disappointed us?  Here are some highlights.

  • The Delgado trade was hailed as a good one by most here, but vocally disparaged by a few.  Delgado has had an off season by his usual standards, but he's still been a crucial addition.  Would the Mets be running away with the division with Mike Jacobs at first base?  I think not.
  • The Lo Duca trade got reactions ranging from disgust to mild positivity.  I think we've warmed to Lo Duca over the course of the season, and especially considering the injury to Castro we have to be glad to have him around.  The Mets could almost have used another catcher the way things turned out, as the team is now facing the (common) plight of having no hitting at all from its backup backstops.
  • Trading Seo for Sanchez drew a mixed but largely negative reaction (and I was among the most negative).  Duaner Sanchez surprised all of us as he turned into a dominant reliever, and despite the injury this trade now has to be rated one of 2006's great steals.  I'm eating some crow on this one.
  • Moving Kris and Anna Benson for John Maine and Jorge Julio got a mixed reaction, largely based on multiple interpretations of the trade: salary dump, wife swap, or baseball move?  Given how well Maine has worked out for the Mets this trade, too, deserves to be seen as a good one in hindsight.  Benson might have been useful in the rotation, but Maine plus El Duque (soon acquired in exchange for Julio) plus significant salary relief make the deal a net positive for the team.
  • We had no idea who would play second base in spring training, and indeed, into the early season.  Jose Valentin is one of the biggest comeback stories in all of baseball, and picking him up was an absolutely great move by Omar Minaya, a "little" pickup that turned into a keystone of a powerhouse lineup.

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