Leave it to John Harper to come to the same conclusion as the rest of us, after exhausting the most backward logic, based on a wealth of misinformation. After the usual trumping up of Jerry Manuel's "request" for a trade, we begin:
But the problem is the Mets have so few desirable prospects at the upper levels of their farm system that Minaya is dealing from a position of weakness in trying to make any type of trade.
This statement would have been somewhat true before the promotion of Brad Holt, Jenrry Mejia, and Ike Davis. I'd say the Mets now have quite a few desirable prospects in the upper levels. In fact, here's a list of notable prospects in Buffalo and Binghamton: Jon Niese, Tobi Stoner, Michael Antonini, Eddie Kunz, Fernando Martinez, Brad Holt, Jenrry Mejia, Ike Davis, Shawn Bowman, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Dylan Owen, and sometimes Jonathan Malo. Wow, actually that's quite a few, seven of which should crack some top prospects lists. But go on...
Of course, he has only himself to blame for that, as the lack of prospects developed during Minaya's five-year regime with the Mets is a glaring failure. Never mind top prospects, the simple lack of major-league ready talent is haunting the big club at the moment as the Mets scramble to survive all their injuries.
Is the insinuation here that Omar should have some major league ready prospect ready to fill in everytime someone gets injured? No team can realistically do that, which is why bench player depth exists (hint, hint, the really glaring failure of the Minaya regime). Oh, what's this? Here comes the major-league ready talent graduated during Minaya's tenure list: Lastings Milledge, Daniel Murphy, John Maine, Nick Evans, Jon Niese, Fernando Martinez, Mike Pelfrey, and Bobby Parnell. Not bad for a win-now team with a huge payroll.
Consider that the Mets' top two minor league teams are a combined 39 games under .500 - Triple-A Buffalo is 26-47, Double-A Binghamton is 28-46 - and it gives you an idea of how bleak the situation is.
Listen, I know expectations were high for Mike Lamb as the future face of the franchise, but there were signs. He had been cut from the Twins last year after batting .200. He was 33. We should have seen it coming. That, coupled with Willy Mo busting,...it's been a tough year for Mets fans.
Furthermore, one scout who observed Buffalo in mid-June recently said that Fernando Martinez was the only position player who could be considered a major-league prospect. The scout called the Mets' system "impotent" and openly wondered whether Minaya has had any kind of real plan in place other than acquiring high-priced free-agents.
Either Harper is quoting his scout friend, Cpt. Obvious, out of context, or they both have serious logic problems.
To be fair, the Mets did surrender a total of 11 players in the trades for Johan Santana and J.J. Putz the last two years, and at the time of the Putz deal last winter, Minaya made a point of telling reporters that his farm system deserved more respect.
To be just as fair, however, major leaguers Aaron Heilman and Endy Chavez were the key cogs in the Putz trade, and the Mets got Santana because the Twins were backed into a corner, unable to get the Yankees or Red Sox to package their top minor-league talent.
OOP!! Or perhaps it reflects well on Minaya's ability developing the farm and as a General Manager that he didn't trade his best young players for Santana? No, no, no, the Twins had to trade him because the Red Sox wouldn't offer Ellsbury and Buchholz.
"Sir, the Yankees won't trade Chamberlain, Hughes, and Kennedy all at once."
"Who's that team that keeps offering four prospects for Mike Lamb? Y'know, the really impotent one?"
"Yea, see if they'll take Santana on too."
Did you ever think the Twins, arguably the greatest scouting team in the majors, might have liked Gomez and Guerra, both of whom were ranked as top prospects?
In addition, it's worth noting that outfielder Carlos Gomez, the centerpiece of the Santana trade, was in the Mets' system before Minaya became GM, and the Twins have been disappointed in the three minor-league pitchers, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, and Philip Humber (who was released this spring), in the deal.
It's like...pitching prospects have a high rate or attrition...or something crazy like that! I'm sure the Twins would have been much happier getting the mythical Ian Kennedy/Phil Hughes package Harper alludes to. Those two have never disappointed.
P.S. Omar Minaya left his position with the Mets, where he was heavily involved in international scouting, in 2002. Carlos Gomez signed with the Mets as an international free agent in 2002. If you asked Omar Minaya what he thought about Carlos Gomez before he became the Mets' GM, he'd probably have an answer.
On the other hand, under Minaya the Mets have developed pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Bobby Parnell, as well as infielder Daniel Murphy. And signing free agents has cost them a couple of top draft picks in recent years.
but you already made me do the list!
But the real sticking point is the apparent failure to cash in on the Pedro Martinez signing five years ago. At the time Minaya essentially said he was willing to overpay for Pedro, in the form of $52 million over four years, because of the dividends it would provide, because every kid in the Dominican Republic would want to sign with the Mets.
Since then, however, the only such signings of significance appear to be Fernando Martinez, 19-year-old shortstop Ruben Tejada and 17-year-old shortstop Wilmer Flores. That's not exactly a pipeline of talent.
Those three players certainly don't suggest a pipeline of Dominican talent, mostly because only one of them is Dominican in the first place. Here are some Mets' prospects that are actually from the country he's talking about: Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Francisco Pena, Cesar Puello, Greg Veloz, Jeury Familia, Elvin Ramirez, and Juan Lagares. Notice that list does not account for many of the most recent signings and the Mets Dominican Baseball Academy in Boca Chica, DR.
"By now I thought their system would be loaded with good (Latin) players," one major league scouting director said recently. "But for whatever reason, it hasn't happened."
Is it so bad the Mets don't throw three million dollars at every international prospect on the market? Yes, I wish they would go after more talents like Ynoa, but they seem to get the best bang for the buck of any MLB team. Which makes me wonder, has Harper ever heard of Jenrry Mejia? Signed for a relatively small bonus from the Dominican Republic...throws a 95 mph sinking fastball...is dominating AA as a teenager...no? Nevermind.
The same baseball people say the Mets do have attractive prospects at the lower levels of their minor-league system, Flores especially, and righthander Brad Holt, their first-round supplemental pick a year ago who was recently promoted to Double-A.
Brad Holt, a very attractive lower-level prospect, in the Mets upper-levels...
Either one would get the attention of a team looking to make a trade, but considering how few such prospects the Mets have, it hardly seems worth it to include them in quick-fix deals for someone like Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson or Aubrey Huff - or even Mark DeRosa, who was traded from the Indians to the Cardinals on Saturday.
Wow, how'd we get here? Yes, the Mets should not trade top prospects for a player that will only help minimally, but not because the farm system is barren. They shouldn't make those trades period. They're not going to be worth their prices, and the Mets have much bigger problems than what a DeRosa-type or Adam "0 WAR" Dunn is going to solve.
Listen, I blame Minaya for alot, but not for the work he's done internationally or with the farm system. The Mets have their best farm in 10 years and are in a great position to develop a fantastic young team. There was nothing before Minaya, except what he had left behind from his scouting days and Steve Philips' favorite Jose Cruz Jr. trade bait, David Wright.
Which reminds me, do you remember why the Mets are so desperate for a trade, Mr. Harper? They lost a shortstop, who you affectionately called a headcase, who Minaya signed for nothing out of the Dominican Republic. Does that count as major-league ready talent?