Thursday, June 07, 2007

Minaya vs. Cashman - Not Even Close, Pt. 1

As promised, time for the Minaya-Cashman comparison.

Cashman has been with the Yanks since '98, and in the first weeks of this blog, we covered his track record. But because Minaya has only been with the Mets since late 2004, I'm only gonna compare Cashman and Minaya's performances since that time.

One big big factor comes up when you evaluate two big-market teams; a lot of good moves are made simply because a team had tons of money. So, for example, I can't give Minaya too much credit for signing Beltran, because it was move he made because he had the resources. On the other hand, when a team ties up a ton of payroll in a lousy player, then a GM deserves to be ripped for that.

I've structured this piece as follows: I will divide each GM's moves into four categories: good moves, dumb moves, guys they only got because they had the most cash, and lucky moves.

I'll start off with Minaya.

1) Good moves -
Pedro Martinez - Very good move. Even though Pedro hasn't performed too well as a Met, count me as one of those who believed that signing Pedro gave the Mets credibility to attract other guys like Beltran.

John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa, Endy Chavez - In the winter of '05-'06, Minaya got ripped for trading Jae Seo and Benson, to the point where people accused him of favoring Latino players -- but hey, those two aren't even pitching right now. And right now, Minaya's reputation has been bolstered by John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Jorge Sosa. Endy Chavez and Joe Smith have helped as well.

And give Minaya credit for not taking Mike Franseca's advice to trade Jose Reyes for Alfonso Soriano.

Bad moves -
Doug Mintkiewiecz - lousy at first in '05 - not a good signing.

Kris Benson - Re-signing Kris Benson for $7 million/year seemed crazy at the time; on the other hand, that ultimately got John Maine to the Mets.

El Duque, Shawn Green, Moises Alou, Julio Franco -- Minaya's biggest weak spots are where he gets players for PR. He got El Duque because he was a Yankee, and the guy couldn't even pitch last October. He got Green because he's Jewish, and the guy had a good start, but now he's injured. I think he'll cool down as the year progresses. Minaya also got the injury-prone Moises Alou because he urinates on his hands. And of course, Alou is on the DL. The ultimate PR guy on the Mets is easily the ageless Julio Franco. He did hit .273 last year, but hasn't done much this year (.552 OPS). Will Minaya ever have the nerve to dump the guy?

The only defense of Minaya's signings for the outfield is that Green and Alou are temporary placeholders for long-term solutions like Milledge and Gomez. But if the latter two guys don't pan out, Met fans will wish Minaya had splurged on Soriano or Carlos Lee this past offseason.

Jorge Julio - was a disaster in New York, but at least Minaya didn't give up a kid like Kazmir to get him.

Money guys

Carlos Beltran - but see Pedro (above).

Billy Wagner - after suffering through Looper and Benitez, the Mets would've given Wagner more money than Clemens will make this year.

Carlos Delgado, Paul LoDuca - both came from Florida's fire sale; can't say Minaya's a genius for getting those two. However, Minaya does deserve credit for not giving up any top prospects in those deals. Mike Jacobs has had more lasting power than Kevin Maas, but the Mets don't really miss him.

Lucky moves -

Jose Valentin, Damion Easley - I don't give Minaya too much credit for Jose Valentin. It was a no-lose signing, kind of like the Yankees picking up Aaron Small. The same is true of Damion Easley. But I do give him a lot of credit for getting Endy Chavez. He showed sparks of talent with the Expos (32 SB in 2004) and has come through so many times, I don't think it's flukey.

Part 2 is gonna cover Cashman.

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