Congratualtions to Jonathan Sanchez of the San Francisco Giants on throwing the first no-hitter of the 2009 season.
Pulled from the rotation a few weeks agao, Sanchez was pressed into duty when Randy Johnson went on the disabled list. However, reports already have Sanchez heading out of town via a trade.
It led me thinking about how the Giants are currently leading the NL Wild Card race. The are doing it with pitching, pitching and more pitching. They have Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain as a potent 1-2 with Barry Zito, Randy Johnson (now Sanchez) and Ryan Sadowski, who was called up from AAA to replace Sanchez. The best hurlers right now for the Giants are the three younger, homegrown talents.
Similar to the Mets and CitiField, the Giants have a big ball park with a few quirks out in right field. They use their pitching and defense to help them win games.
To coincide with their deep pitching, the Giants young hitters are beginning to shine. Pablo Sandoval is their best young slugger, but other hitters such as first baseman Travis Ishikawa and RF Nate Schierholtz also have begun to hit as well. The hitters aren’t as talented as the young pitchers, but the Giants are on the right track.
Ishikawa and Schierholtz both have been given time to adjust and improve to major league pitching, and each has held their own. And new call up John Bowker (.347 BA, 17 HR’s, 63 RBI’s in AAA) has already homered for the Giants.
With the taste of the playoffs going on right now for the Giants, they have entrusted their first serious run for October baseball at the hands of many young players. And as the Tampa Bay Rays have shown the last two seasons, major league baseball has turned into a young man’s game.
That is something the Mets need to emulate. They are now 6.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies (another team using their homegrown players), and need to leapfrog both the Atlanta Braves (6.0 games out, more developed players) and the Florida Marlins (4.o games out) to get into second place.
The Mets need to do it the way the other teams are; by getting younger and using better pitching in a bigger ballpark. The Jeff Francoeur trade was a step in the right direction in getting younger. Forget about the other big sluggers, who offer nothing but fly ball outs in spacious CitiField.
Let the young guys have at it, Omar! Bring up Jonathan Niese to replace Livan Hernandez and let Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans more playing time, but Evans was just sent down and replaced by Angel Pagan.
On the various radio shows I appear on as a baseball analyst, I have long documented how Omar Minaya’s moves as GM have always been about winning now, and not for the future. Omar has systematically let the Mets minor league system fail as there were no top prospects to come up and help now and last season, when the team needed such players.
As a GM you can try and win now and still continue to build the farm system.
Now, if the Mets decide they are going to make a trade to get better players, they will have to further deplete the farm system. That is on Minaya’s head as the Mets did not have anyone to adequately replace Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, Maine and Oliver Perez.
Well…they actually performed better when Perez went down.
But you can’t say that the Mets traded a bunch of prospects for Johan Santana as the reason for their depleted base of ready young players, as only Carlos Gomez from that group would have stepped in for those injured players.
It is time for Minaya to reverse course and go with the youngsters and trade veterans for more young kids, specifically some better pitching. Give the kids time and lets see what they can do for a half season and into next year.
You aren’t catching the Phillies this season or maybe even next year, and that is a tough pill to swallow. Last time Minaya thought he could catch a powerful team ahead of him in the standings, he traded Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon. The Montreal Expos (also 6.0 games back at that time) only ended up 19 games behind the Atlanta Braves that season.
So Minaya needs to improve his current organization for the future…even if Minaya is not here to bask in the glow.