There must have been a meeting in some undisclosed bunker shortly after the news of Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. At that meeting Ken Davidoff of Newsday and Tim Smith of the Daily News apparently agreed that not signing Ramirez was the best move Mets G.M. Omar Minaya ever made, because they both wrote columns with that title on Friday morning.
To each writer's credit, they avoid any sanctimonious clap trap about steroid use while arguing that the Mets don't have enough going for them to weather the storm that Ramirez has created. Below, from Davidoff, is a summary the general bent of both pieces.
No, let's face it, if Manny were a Met, he probably would've hit very well to this point, putting the team in first place, only to yank the carpet out from under everyone. And chaos would have ensued:
"Another bad signing by Omar! The Mets can't control their players! The Mets never do anything right!" And so on.
We would've heard talk about how the Mets' clubhouse isn't strong enough to withstand this sort of blow. Calls for someone to take charge. Moaning about the Mets' shallow farm system, ill-equipped to replace the departed Manny.
Is it better for the Mets that they don't have to deal with Manny-related fallout right now? Absolutely. It's also better for the Astros, Cardinals, Pirates and every other one of the 31 teams that aren't the Dodgers. What does Minaya have to do with anything, though?
Seeing into the future when it comes to things like offensive production, run prevention and budget crunches are part of a G.M.'s job, but injuries and positive drug tests from previously clean players are beyond their crystal ball. Smith argues that Minaya looks smarter today. If that's true it's only because he's spent most of the season looking dumber and dumber as a result of handing Oliver Perez $36 million.
Minaya didn't sign Ramirez because he cost too much money, plain and simple. That's sort of like giving credit to someone for not buying a mansion they couldn't afford when it burns down. That's not smarts, it's circumstances. If Minaya had the Yankee payroll, would he have signed Ramirez? We'll never know and it doesn't matter.
Minaya, to his credit, isn't gloating. No one who thought bringing him here was a good idea should be crying in their soup, either. Both sides were acting on the information that was available to them at the time.