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On Air: The Official Blog of WSJU Sports

“Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?”

This is the question most Mets fans are asking themselves after team owner Fred Wilpon gave his clear vote of confidence towards Omar Minaya’s future with the team.  How are Met fans supposed to feel when it seems clear that ownerships main goals don’t seem to be centered on the 2011 season? How can they be? This front office has seen mild success, and catastrophic failure.  For Fred Wilpon to come out and say that the G.M. position is not under review in a year that the Mets are looking at not making the playoffs for the 4th straight season is an utter embarrassment.  What has Omar done (other than the Santana deal) that would allow him a free pass. NOTHING. And this is a concern

The Problem – 700 million dollars.  That is the alleged sum of money that the Wilpon family watched spiral down the drain in the Bernie Madoff scandal.  I don’t know about you, but if I lost that kind of money, I would be hesitant on wasting any more money i.e. Oliver Perez.  Other than eating the 12 million owed to Ollie this season, the Mets have decided to essentially play with a 24-man roster and let him rot in the bullpen. A decision based entirely on money.  The Mets are in a position eerily similar to the one the Knicks were in prior to this summer, with one issue. There is no potential LeBron James at the end of the tunnel, or even for that matter an Amare’ Stoudemire.  Due to the current front office’s contractual blunders such as the four-year 25 million dollar disaster for Luis Castillo, and the seven-year 199 million dollar contract signed by Carlos Beltran.  With an abundance of bloated contracts on the current payroll, and the new money conscious attitude in the front office, it seem likely that the 2011 Metropolitans are doomed to another season of ineptitude with a lineup consisting of over-paid and under-performing players, sprinkled in with the likes of AAA level talent such as Ruben Tejada, and Josh Thole starting at key positions.

The Bigger Problem There have been teams that made drastic personnel changes to cut salary that managed to remain successful, ex. Marlins.  Granted it took them a few seasons to get back in the winners circle, but they did it. The Marlins had two things going for them that the Mets don’t, a fan base that has about as much passion as a grapefruit, and a farm system.  Rebuilding is never easy in New York, especially in the shadows of the Yankees and it doesn’t help that the current front office regime has stripped the farm system down to the studs.  The farm is filled with one-time blue chip prospects, full-time busts.  Fernando Martinez a one-time top rated prospect has watched his value plummet at the Mets expense.  In order to get rid of some of the unwanted contracts on the club, the Mets will need to blow teams away with offers that just aren’t there.  Can you imagine any team giving up a solid pitching prospect for the likes of Ollie Perez and Mike Hessman. No chance.

The Solution – In all of this mess, Jerry Manuel seems to get a free pass, which too is sickening.  Although he has been hamstrung by ownership with the personnel he’s given to field a team, he has done nothing to spark the team and it seems more and more every day that the team has given up on this season and this managerial regime.  Although that type of attitude is unacceptable for a paid athlete, players are there own commodities, and if they don’t feel they are being put in a situation to succeed they will shut it down early regardless of what anyone says. The solution to this mess is simple. Bobby Valentine. A proven winner, and a New York personality, Bobby V seems like a no-brainer.  I defy anyone to say the Bobby managed 2000 Mets team was more talented than this Mets team as currently constituted.  An outfield consisting of Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and Timo Perez is nowhere near as good on paper as Bay, Beltran, and Pagan.  Paper doesn’t win games, players and coaches do.  Valentine gets the most out of all of his players, and demands 110% of everyone at all times.

There is no doubt that this is an extremely talented team, on paper.  The thing now is converting paper to the playing field, and Bobby Valentine is the best candidate to make that dream a possibility.

-Frank Giambrone

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