Guys, this is critical. Imperative. We must not deviate.
I get that we could be on the cusp of something big. There's certainly evidence of that. A lot of young pitching, some with star potential, at least one guy that's already one. An MVP-caliber guy anchoring our infield. We finally have RF figured out, too. Sure, there are holes -- shortstop is a nether void, for example -- but even our catching situation looks like it has promise with a young up-and-comer. But guys, we're a season removed from a 90-loss season, give or take. And our run differential this year puts us at 78 wins -- that's still sub-.500.
We need to stay the course and let our young guys develop.
We need to resist the temptation of veterans with big stats -- and big salaries. And the cost in players! We've all heard what it'd take to get the marquee bat in this lineup. We've all heard the rumors and innuendo. We need our front office to say no.
That's right guys.
Just say no to Gary Carter.
Let's start with the team as its constructed, OK? 94 losses last year, and that's *after* getting Keith Hernandez (for a song, thankfully). Yes, we had 90 wins this year -- 1984 was a good year on paper -- but look closer. Look beyond Strawberry and the heaven-touched arm of this 19 year-old Gooden kid. We scored 652 runs and gave up 676. You don't need to be Ralph Houk to realize that teams can't win too many 90-win seasons when they're being outscored on average!
Don't get me wrong, Gary Carter is a huge upgrade over Mike Fitzgerald, but let's not go around making this out to be more than it is. Carter is going to be 31 next year. He's two seasons removed from a 17 homer campaign. He's a catcher. He's going to break down sooner or later. Fitzgerald won't even hit like Carter can and had a really bad rookie year, I get that. But he's also seven years younger and finally showed some real power at Tidewater the year before. Oh, and he'll get like $50,000. Carter is getting paid MORE THAN TWO MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
That's one of the top salaries in the game! It's more than ten times the average salary!
And it's not like this would be a salary dump for Montreal. No way. The rumor mill has us also sending over at least two other guys. Herm Winnigham was a first round draft pick just a few years ago, hit .354 (!!) in AA and has speed like Mookie. Hit over .400 with five RBI in a cup of coffee this year for the big league team. If he develops even a bit more power, man, could you imagine him in center and Strawberry in right? And if Foster finds the fountain of youth?
And then there's Floyd Youmans. Yes, the walks are a problem, but the 87 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched in AA are AMAZING for a 20 year-old. Worst case scenario he joins the Orosco-led bullpen as the righty part of a shut-down tandem. Best case scenario he's the John Tudor to Dwight Gooden's Joaquin Andujar.
Honestly, $2 million for a 31 year old catcher -- a great catcher, no doubt -- is a lot to start with. Add those three guys and it really gives me indigestion. But yeah, at least we're not creating any new holes. And yes, a Hernandez/Carter/Strawberry lineup could be pretty awesome. But I'm on the fence.
Add in Hubie Brooks and ... ARE YOU INSANE, FRANK CASHEN?
Seriously, Frank, go see a doctor or something. You've built this great farm system. GIven us great flexibility. Stole Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals. And you're going to fall victim to the siren's call of All-Stars?
Hubie Brooks just turned 27 last year. He hit .283 with 16 homers and 73 runs batted in.
Gary Carter, two years ago, was 29. He hit .270 with 17 homers and 79 runs batted in.
That's the same player, Frank.
THE SAME PLAYER.
Yeah, Carter has a history of hitting 25 homers or more, and bounced back last year at age 30, I get that, but he's a catcher and catchers break. Hubie is a third baseman -- who is going to play third if you trade him, by the way? you going to go get a free agent with your ZERO DOLLARS LEFT AFTER YOU PAY FOR CARTER? -- and he could last for a decade. Like Mike Schmidt. You wouldn't trade a poor-man's Mike Schmidt for a 31 year old catcher, would you?
Seriously, this trade is terrible for the team. We need to stick with the youth movement. We have a plan. We like our plan. I want to see Mike Fitzgerald catching strikes from Floyd Youmans at Shea Stadium in 1986. I want to see Hubie Brooks driving in Herm Winningham with a double in the gap. And I want to see them wearing Mets uniforms while doing it. The future's bright; don't blow it, Frank.