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My Prison Without Bars by Pete Rose

 

January, 2006

The Mets Turn Latino

And the two liners abound: If Ricky Ricardo was still alive, he'd be playing for the Mets. If your first name is Julio, there's a 60 percent chance you'll be playing for the Mets by September. 

Let me say I love Latino people and Latino players, but as a casual observer, one can't help but notice how Omar Minaya is turning over the Mets roster and seems to be favoring acquiring Latino, specifically Dominican, players. 

First there was his overpaying for Pedro Martinez a year ago. At the time, he said something about how NYC had a large Dominican population, and he wanted to get players that those folks could identify with. Imagine the general manager of the Utah Jazz saying that there was a large white population and therefore he was going to acquire white players.   

Since then Minaya has publicly courted or been rumored to be courting Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and Miquel Tejada. He acquired Carlos Delgado for first base. He acquired Carlos Beltran for centerfield, giving him all the millions that Scott Boras asked for despite the fact that no other team felt he was worth that much money. Julio Franco plays for the Mets. And he's what, 65? Looking at the Mets transactions, both major and minor, since Minaya took over the team, one could easily get confused and think Minaya is methodically trading away white, black, or Japanese players for Latinos.  

This seems true even at a minor league level. 

  • On December 14, 2005, the Mets signed LHP Matt Perisho, INF Juan Tejada, C Sandy Martinez and OF Julio Ramirez to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training. 

  • On December 19, 2005, the Mets signed LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Jose Parra and LHP Pedro Feliciano to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training; they released LHP Kazuhisa Ishii. 

  • On December 20, they non-tendered RHP Tyler Yates and OF Wayne Lydon, making them free agents. 

  • On December 23, they signed OF Endy Chavez, who had been with the Phillies, to a one-year contract.

And all of this is fine and good if it makes the Mets a better team. What you hope doesn't happen is that the general manager give up more talent than he's getting in a trade (quality young starter Kris Benson for mediocre middle reliever Jorge Julio?). A general manager should be getting the best ballplayers for his team, regardless of race or nationality. The Mets are put at a disadvantage if Minaya is just trying to get the best Latino preferably Dominican ballplayers. 

-- LouV

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