Well, the second full offseason of free agent signings and trades is nearly completed and Omar, for better or for worse, has been one busy beaver, adding 15 new players to the roster since the end of the disappointing 2005 season and sending 20 more players off to new horizons.

The latest bit of manoeuvring leaves one scratching one’s head even harder than the one before it, scratching hard enough in fact, that tufts of hair might come falling out soon as the starting rotation is bled yet again and another mediocre reliever is brought in to the mix.

No one will mistake Kris Benson for Cy Young, not even now that he’ll have Leo Mazzone on his side. And we’ve already visited the puzzling nature of the Seo for two Dodger nobody trades, one we might add who was supposed to have been the set-up man for Wagner already. In Benson we lose an opinionated female (and let’s face it, Anna was always more interesting than Kris) and gain another set-up guy for the bullpen more mediocre than the last.

True enough, Jorge Julio was once a contendah. Once he had 61 saves in his first two seasons as an Oriole and of course, if he was even a shadow of that man, Jim Duquette wouldn’t likely have gotten rid of him, not even to acquire Kris Benson a second time (yes, it was Duquette as GM for the Mets who brought the Anna Mouth Show to New York to begin with.)

But the most frightening thing you can say about Jorge Julio is that he reminds scouts of Armando Benitez.

I can’t help but recall that last week we were told the two Dodgers brought over for Jae Seo were for stabilising the bullpen, one of course, the all-important set-up guy and now here we have another Met starter tossed away for yet another set-up guy, this time one whose ERA has gone from 1.99 to 4.38 to 4.57 to 5.90.

In the interim the Dodgers picked Seo, ridding themselves of two pedestrian bullpen arms in the process AND got the set-up guy Omar was rumoured to have lusted after, Danys Baez, to boot. Looks like Omar got pantsed again.

Not to second-guess or anything but with old man Glavine and sore-toed Pedro leading the somnambulist charge for the rotation this Spring, why would it not have made sense to have let Seo, Hielman, Zambrano Benson and Trachsel duke it out in Spring Training and then trade whomever was the least useful of the quintet and get whatever useless bullpen help they could have gotten in return rather than trading two of them now and leaving not only big holes in the rotation but big holes in the bullpen as well?

Psst, Omar: it’s quality not quantity which will make or break your bullpen.

On the other hand, there is always the hope that the unproven John Maine, who came over from the O’s with Julio, will suddenly catch fire after a 4-3, 6.30 ERA audition last season and make the Mets rotation. Oh wait, and then there’s Yusaku Iriki, lest we forget and there’s always the esperanza de largo distancia, Alay Soler the Cuban defector.

”We have numbers,” Omar understated the other day. ”Do we need to improve our quality? We’ll make that evaluation when we get to spring training, when we see how some of these guys pitch.”

Imagine yourself playing this game at home. You’re looking for a new girlfriend, a keeper. You go from one bar, one library, one grocery store on a Friday night, to a few dodgy locales in the red light district, a few college campus study halls, picking up one or two girls at each venue and take them all home at night. You get them to wash a few dishes, vacuum a few tight corners, baby sit a few days, evaluate how they handle a cucumber, sample their cooking, speak with their mothers, register the pitch of their voices on the Nag-O-Meter and finally, of course, learn them in the biblical sense to find out just what, out of the little audition, you wanted to find out in the end. Do you need to improve your quality?

Well hell, if baseball were like dating, I suppose Omar’s method of finding a few solid arms for the rotation and the bullpen might be fun, if not useful. But as far as I can tell, the entire winter, at least where finding a set-up man and a legitimate starter are concerned, has been a series of dissatisfactory one night stands in an alleyway. And now, worse still, we’ll no longer have the vociferous Anna Benson to poke fun or ogle at anymore.


jdon said...

How depressing would it be to see Omar fleeced in a deal with Jim Duquette? Pray that this is a prelude to a Zito pitch. Pray! I cannot understand why he would dismantle the starting staff like he has unless he has something up his sleeve.

Jaap said...

I hope you're right jdon, I've read the rumours of there being an underlying, unspoken brilliance to all these seemingly idiotic trading going on. Then again, when Omar traded Cameron for Nady every thought it was the prelude to something bigger and as it turns out, it simply was what it was, a bad trade and a salary dump.

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