A heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack

October 19th, 2006 → 3:36 pm @

Hey Mets fans, remember Armando Benitez? Come on, I know you do: he’s the guy that a) blew Game 1 of the 2000 World Series, b) blew Game 2 of the that year’s NLDS. c) blew Game 3…actually, I’m not a sadist. If you want the gory details, you can read all about them on your own.

Bill Wagner was supposed to finally put an end to the Benitezes (and Braden Loopers) of the world parading through Shea. He’s a flame-throwing stud who has topped 35 saves in six of the last eight years, and he was injured the two other years. But since arriving in New York, Wagner has been anything but the Sandman; if anything, Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” would be more appropriate entrance music. I know: Wagner had a great second half. I know: he converted 21 straight save opportunities. I also know that in 1999, Benitez saved 42 games and had an ERA under 2.00.

It was only the fact that the Mets had a four-run lead that allowed the team to escape with a win last night, as Wagner did his best to make So Taguchi this year’s Chad Curtis (or Bucky Dent). (It’s never a good sign when a closer’s “diary” entry is headlined “This One Didn’t Get Away From Me.”)

The Mets might very well beat the Cardinals tonight and head to Detroit for Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday. Once there, Wagner likely won’t matter much; the Tigers are gonna smoke whichever one of these teams limps its way to the pennant. But Wagner’s struggles are a perfect example of why I think Omar Minaya is — and I’ll try to put this delicately — not the sharpest GM at the winter meetings. Wagner’s 35, and he’ll collect $11 mil a year until he’s 38. He’s also 5 feet, 10 inches (a full four inches shorter than Mariano)…which means Minaya the miracle worker is on the hook for another $62 million over the next three years for two pitchers (Wagner and Pedro) who are both shorter than I am and both weigh about the same as I do…and I’m not a big guy. If you could short baseball players, I’d put a lot of money on these two not being worth it in 2008.

I know it’s possible (albeit difficult) to spend a buttload of money and still lose a buttload of games without any previous success to show for it (see Knicks, New York); Minaya seems intent on demonstrating how easy it is to spend a boatload of money as a way of crippling your team for years to come. And when they don’t win this year’s World Series, all he’ll have to show for it is the fact that his team played further into October than the Yankees.

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Billy Wagner & Not so oblique references to Billy Joel songs & Omar Minaya