Omar, as a friend — okay, a very distant acquaintance — I’m asking you to put down whatever social drugs you were using when the trade deadline came and went, and start promoting from within.
You see, I’m a gambling man — and based on some of your past moves, I gather that you are as well. Since there doesn’t seem to be any prize available on the post-deadline market (no, Livan Hernandez does not represent a “prize”), I want you to justify your non-moves and let these guys move to the big stage.
Yes, in the midst of this tight little NL East race.
I want you to start pushing the young guns. Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz, Dan Murphy, Nick Evans, Brian Stokes and even F-Mart — these are the guys we’ve been protecting. These are the beacons in the storm. These are the few, the proud, the cornerstones of our barren farm system.
If they come up and succeed, you look like a genius, and the Mets continue to compete into the fall. If they fail, then we revert back to the shaky bullpen and corner outfield platoons we’ve used all year, coming to the sad realization that we might not be as good as we thought. But at least then we’d know.
I can already hear the cries…“They’re not ready!”…“You’re pushing them too quickly!” I say bull. No one is expecting them to come in and dominate. But if they don’t offer a level of play at least comparable to our current bullpen; or our experiments with Claudio Vargas and Nelson Figueroa; OR the patchwork “outfield of infielders” that we’ve sported all year, then maybe these guys aren’t as “untouchable” as we first thought.
And what about the team’s recent improvement?
Remember, we were in first place for a matter of hours, not weeks, and now stand three games back once again. Let’s put to rest the idea that this team was molded from a script to a Disney movie. They’re pretty good. They need to get a lot better.
John Maine is now on the DL, and it’s starting to look like he should have been since May. Pedro can go down at any moment. This week, Pelfrey returned to earth, while Perez resumed watching his fastball leave the stratosphere. Wagner is hurting, too. On the fielding side, well…we’ve been watching a semi-resurgent role player and a career pinch hitter man the corners, while we remembered why Endy isn’t a full time starter. Yeah, I’m not feeling 100% about this, either.
Maybe a rotation of: Santana, Martinez, Perez, Pelfrey and Niese could hold down the fort while Maine recoups. Stokes could help out when Pedro gets damaged by a stiff breeze. Kunz has closer written all over him. Evans has done a serviceable job in left, and Murphy seems ready for infield and outfield work. Is he better than Easley, Castillo or even A. Reyes? Given the overall dearth of production, now is as good a time as any to find out.
Omar, you made your bed last week when you said this team was good enough to move forward. Now back that up and let these young ‘uns step into a pennant race to see what they’re made of. No “untouchable” ever remained that way while playing for the Zephyrs.
Roll the dice, and let’s see just how good we can (or at least will) be.