Former “super-prospect” Fernando Martinez was placed on waivers yesterday. Never having played a full season in the majors or minors and still just 23 years old, Martinez was jettisoned – along with Danny Herrera – to clear out space on the 40-man roster for must-haves Ronny Cedeno and Scott Hairston. Let that sink in for a minute. Fernando Martinez – our beloved F! or F-Mart – who could have been part of packages that fetched Manny Ramirez or Roy Halladay, has been kicked to the curb in favor of a backup infielder and fifth outfielder. Granted, right now, he more resembles a burned out 12-year utility guy than the five-tool potential star who captured our hearts and imaginations at age 16. But if you think about it for a minute, you come to an “of course,” conclusion. It actually falls right in line with this team’s narrative over the past eight years.

General Manager Omar Minaya, gone from here two-plus years now and newly installed in the front office of the San Diego Padres, left New York a legacy of failure and dashed hopes, much like that callow 16-year-old he signed with so much fanfare. For all his celebrated skills in player evaluation and scouting, it turns out that Minaya lacked the foresight and – frankly – the luck to have his major decisions pan out. His mono-focus on the most glaring problem at hand — at the expense of some of the less urgent issues with the team –cost the Mets at least two division titles. The 2006 team – a marvelous collection of talent that took us to the brink of a championship – lacked a dominant starting pitcher once Pedro Martinez sustained an injury. No worry, said Omar. We’ll support the pitching by buttressing the offense. OK, in a vacuum, no quarrel there. Except…he banked on aged second baseman Jose Valentin repeating his surprising 2006 production and remaining injury free. Neither happened and the team scrambled until Luis Castillo – insert the joke of your choice here – arrived at the trading deadline. He also brought in the historically – if not hysterically – injury-prone Moises Alou to replace the merely injury-prone Cliff Floyd in left field, and never found an adequate replacement for the declining-as-you-watched Shawn Green in right field. This all resulted in – dare I say it? – seven-up-with-seventeen-to-play.

So for 2008, Omar seemingly solved the starting pitching problem by bringing in the shiniest toy on the shelf, Johan Santana. Once again, Omar chose to fight last year’s war, ignoring the lack of depth in the bullpen and the two black holes on either side of centerfielder Carlos Beltran. Santana pitched brilliantly – and down the stretch, heroically – but the Mets again came a cropper at the end. Adding injury to insult, that 2008 season has been Santana’s sole healthy season since donning the orange & blue and we fans head into spring training this year with everything crossed that Johan will make upwards of 25 starts and be Magnificent once again. That’s the difference between Sandy Alderson and Omar Minaya: Omar would have banked on it, while Sandy is lining up alternatives and tempering expectations.

Omar — like Fernando – will bear the “epic FAIL” tag until time softens opinions.

9 comments on “Farewell Fernando: Martinez A Fitting Symbol Of The Omar Minaya Regime

  • Brian Joura

    While I don’t doubt it’s true, it is interesting that the official 40-man still lists Herrera and Martinez as of 11:29 AM.

    BTW – what are the alternatives to Santana that Alderson is lining up?

    • Charlie Hangley

      He has said he’s still looking at a couple of pitchers — swing men who could start or relieve. Chris Young-Zach Duke-Rich Harden types. Sandy might sign one to a major league deal and one or two on minor league contracts.

  • Dan G

    Your are right on target. The Mets have always done just enough to fix a known problem never enough to improve and always expecting better play then should be expected from their players.
    But I wonder how much was Minaya and how much was the unknown till then crash of the owners empire. They have not been honest with us now. Look at the stupidity now. Have a bad product then cut the cost make it worst and expect the people to buy it. A good or perceived trying effort would save the product. Picking up a pitcher and Yes the signing of Fielder out of the blue. Would solve the budget problems with great sales. But since it won’t solve the underlying problem, bad owner financials, what good will that do. The team will only turn around with new ownership. And Minaya could not talk if I am right because he would be black balled by the other owners.

  • NormE

    I agree with Dan G. The Wilpons are the villains—willing to spend enough to appear competitive, but never willing to go beyond to make the team a consistent post-season force. They never would have signed Piazza if it wasn’t for Doubleday. The Wilpons probably looked at the balance sheet and decided that being good enough into Sept. put enough people in the seats and built the tv ratings. Spending more was too big a gamble for them because their cost analysis didn’t support it. If it wasn’t for Madoff, the Wilpons could have perpetuated this philosophy for many more years.
    I may not like the Yankees, but you have to admire the Steinbrenners’ desire to build and maintain a winning team.

    • Bus

      The team was favored to win the division every year from 2006-2009. They spend millions upon millions and had the highest payroll in the league for years. Your blame is completely misplaced and while I can sympathize with your anger towards the Wilpons I can’t agree with the notion that it was them and not Minaya’s shoddy roster construction that lead to all the near misses and could-have-beens.

      Piazza wasn’t signed by the way, they traded for him and inked him to an extension later on. To say the Wilpons have operated the team in a David Glass-esque way in which the bottom line is all that counts is ludicrous. They spent, they spent, and they spent some more. Even then, you don’t think they would want the money from playoff tickets and WS shares?

      Their problem was their staunch following of MLB slot restrictions in the draft, but you can’t expect real estate guys to know that Scott Schoenweis wasn’t going to hold up, or what kind of player Carlos Delgado would turn out to be- that’s on the front office.

      Don’t even start with the Steinbrenners. The Yankees were perennial cellar dwellers in the late ’80s and early 90s until George got his ass thrown out of baseball for hiring the mafia to try to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. That dude was a nut and if given the opportunity he would have traded Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte straight up for George Bell or Juan Gonzalez.

      • NormE

        Bus, you’re correct that they traded for Piazza, but it was because of Doubleday injecting himself into the process.
        As for the Steinbrenners, they were smart enough to learn from the Gene Michael stewardship and not screw it up.
        What have the Wilpons learned? From what I have read Jeff Wilpon is among the least respected MLB figures. Omar,as all GMs, made mistakes, but Fred Wilpon’s insistence on having his son as part of the front office is part of the problem.

        I still believe that Fred Wilpons ownership is based on: 1. giving Jeff a job. 2. his vanity as a club owner (not unusual)
        3. his philosophy of cost v. benefit which leads to a view that the gamble in higher pending is too costly for the possibility of a large reward (the World Series).

        I admit that my anger towards the Wilpons colors my perception, but your dislike of the Yankees/Steinbrenner distorts
        your view of their success. By the way, I thoroughly despised George S.

    • Metsense

      It would be nice if the ownership sold because they can’t afford this team, they are bad public relations people, and they have allowed the previous front office(s) to mismanage the team. I call them the Wilponzies because EVERY stock prospectus states that past performance is not an indication of future performance, and these fools funded a team disregarding that very basic principle. I can’t condemn them as being cheap because they have spent the money, albeit foolishly. $142M last year alone. They just don’t get value for their dollar. My criticism is that they have cut the payroll too far to remain competitive. A 20% cut would have been more palatable then the current 30%. I admire the Yankees desire to spend and win but I’m impressed by Tampa Bay a heck of alot more. I really thought we were getting Moneyball with money.

  • […] what you might about the Omar Minaya regime – and Lord knows I have – but he stocked some nifty little players during his tenure, it turns out. Now what remains is […]

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