Woe Is The Status Quo

Another trade deadline has come and gone, and even though lots of big names have new addresses, the Mets haven't changed a bit. Some pundits (like this asshat, for example) will take the Mets and GM Omar Minaya to task for not making an effort to improve a team with playoff aspirations that has so many clear and identifiable weaknesses. The upshot is that the Mets *did* make an effort, they just didn't find anything out there to their liking.

I have criticized Minaya plenty of times in this space, usually for good reason, and I and others have wondered whether he would selfishly risk the medium-term viability of the franchise to improve the current team enough to get them into the postseason and effectively save his job in the process. Willie Randolph was shown the door because the Mets underachieved, and I certainly feared that Minaya would do what it took to save his own ass even if it meant sacrificing the farm. That didn't happen, so at least for now I can put those particular fears to bed.

Yes, thankfully Minaya can see the big picture. There were some guys out there that could have marginally upgraded the team this year. Raul Ibanez is probably a better player than Fernando Tatis (once he cools down) and Endy Chavez, and the draft pick compensation when he heads back to Seattle in the offseason would've been nice, but not at the expense of Jon Niese or Fernando Martinez, likely the Mets' top two prospects at this point. If one or the other could've landed a Jason Bay (or some reasonable facsimile thereof), then maybe you starting talking about it. Bay is under contract (now with the Red Sox) for very little money through the end of 2009, so we'd be talking about two months *plus* a whole year on top of that, and whatever the first crack at signing him long-term is worth. But Bay wasn't available to the Mets, and that's fine

I think we all would have liked to see the Mets do something, perhaps something big, if it made sense for the 2008 team as well as the 2009 and 2010 teams. Trading Martinez for Ibanez or Jarrod Washburn probably wouldn't have made sense for any of those Mets teams (yea, not even this one), and even if Minaya takes heat for staying the course, I give him a lot of credit for going into the deadline with a plan: don't rape the farm system unless you get something substantial in return for it. No BSDs, no deal. He didn't deviate from that plan, and I think the Mets are better off for it.

We'll see what pops up on the radar in August, when players can still be dealt once they've cleared waivers. Most teams will try to pass some or all of their own players through waivers at some point this month just so they could be included in trade discussions. Many of those players will be claimed by one team or another, and most of them will be pulled back. Those that go unclaimed are fodder for potential trades, but the vast majority of them will stay with their current teams, many blissfully unaware that they were ever put on waivers in the first place. Hey, maybe some team desperate for a second-baseman will claim Luis Castillo and the Mets will be rid of him and the three years left on his ridiculous contract. Hoo-ray, addition by subtraction!

At all events, the Mets head into the dog days with what they've got now: a flawed team playing amongst other flawed teams. If there's a consolation here it's that neither the Marlins nor the Phillies improved themselves considerably (the Marlins added Arthur Rhodes yesterday; the Phillies added Joe Blanton a couple of weeks ago). For now, all three teams will go with their current horses and hope they can out-mediocre the other two. Doing nothing may be boring, but it beats the hell out of this.

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