GROTE'S GRIPES: WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE; BASEBALL'S WINTER MEETINGS

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by Grote2DMax

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This one is for Mike In The Excelsior- a regular here…

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Baseball’s Winter Meetings kick off here Monday, so it is time to talk a little baseball. Lots of blockbuster trades happen at these winter meetings, so teams have a chance to pull something big off to change their fortunes. Since I’m a Met fan, I’ll use them as a template you can tweak for your team. This may be a tad painful for Met fans, though, if their recent trade history is any indication. It also might make The Meetings more intriguing for the rest of you, as Met GM Omar “The Giver” Minaya will again be there, ready to to be had.

Traditionally owners and GM’s kick the tires to see what kind of talent is available via trades and get marked up sticker prices on free agents from Scott Boras. The Mets historically make a bigger splash in trades than they do in the free agent market. Unfortunately, too often the Mets spend their money in the off-season like they were on the original version of Wheel of Fortune hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford.

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Chuck Wollery: Congratulations Omar Minaya, by not getting fired. You are our big winner!
Omar: That’s great, Chuck.
Chuck: You have $65 million dollars of the Wilpon’s money to spend. What do you think you’d like?
Omar: I’ll start with brass coffee grinder.
Chuck: That leaves you with $45 million dollars left.
Omar: I’ll take the diamond pendant.
Chuck: You still have $29 million.
Omar: How about that Lapiz gold cuff link.
Chuck: You’ve got $16 million left.
Omar: The mahogany dinette set.
Chuck: Now you have $1 million left.
Omar: What’s left for $1 million?
Chuck: Pat Mahomes is $980,000.
Omar: OK, I’ll take him.
Chuck: Do you want the remaining $20K on account or a Tiffany’s gift certificate.
Omar: But I also need a starting first baseman, left fielder, right fielder, catcher, two starters, three relievers and some bench players.
Chuck: That’s all the time we have for today, so come back and see us again tomorrow on Wheeeel Of Fooorrrtune.

As Chuck will tell you, teams are like contestants – they make the same mistakes, over and over. With the Mets, they are traditionally hellbent on three flawed strategies during the Winter Meetings:

EASY COME, EASY FERGOSI – Trading away young talent for aging veterans like the Nolan Ryan Deal nearly 40 years ago that started it all. Angry Ward has highlighted the J.J. Putz deal here from last year on multiple occasions.

METSIE SEE, METSIE DO – Unloading one bad contract to take back a much worse contract. Mo Vaughn and his astronomical contract came to town when the Mets shipped Insane Ape Kevin Appier out to Anaheim.

I’M ALL IN – Bidding against themselves for mediocre at best free agents. Spending $36 million for Ollie Perez left them handcuffed last year and now they are crying poverty. The should have made Ollie take or leave $15 million over 3 years and signed Randy Wolf for $5 million for one year if he balked.

For the most part the Mets have not fared well with the free agents. As far as I can remember, the Mets didn’t start signing free agents until the 1990’s. Until then their main tact was building through the draft and making trades. In 1990 they burst onto the free agent scene by signing Vince Coleman and Rick Cerone. The following year they signed Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Willie Randolph and Shea Stadium quickly became an unsafe place for women and children. Mayor Dinkins was in City Hall and all hell was breaking loose in Queens. I’d rather go to Rikers Island than go see that crop of free agents play.

It wasn’t until the 1999 signing of Robin Ventura that the Mets actually bought a free agent that helped them win – and he was only productive for 3 years. Carlos Beltran has been their best-ever free agent signee and 2nd place isn’t even close. That is scary. It’s Pittsburgh Pirate scary.

I have it on good authority that at future introductory press conferences the Mets will not provide free agents with brand new Met jerseys. Instead, they have the new savior don the following tee shirt during the photo op with Omar (at least until he’s fired):

Maybe one day the Mets will figure this free agency thing out, but with Omar Minaya making the shopping list, I doubt it will be anytime soon. At least that mahogany dinette set will look sweet in Omar’s CitiField office… And all of you can dream of the deals your team undoubtedly finagle from him.

P.s… Feel free to chime in with your team’s Met-isms and/or worst trades.

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