The Minaya Years – 2005 Outfield

Now that Omar Minaya is officially out as the Mets’ GM, this is no longer a pre-post-mortem, but a mere post-mortem on the career of Omar Minaya and the job he did as Mets GM.  What were his strengths, what were his weaknesses, and what were his patterns, and how can the next GM improve upon his performance.  Let’s take a look at the first outfield he constructed, the 2005 Mets starting outfield.

OUTFIELD AT THE END OF 2004:

Mike Cameron, Victor Diaz, Cliff Floyd, Richard Hidalgo, Eric Valent, Gerald Williams

Bold indicates starter

OFFSEASON CHANGES:

-Signed Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, $119 million contract.
-Allowed Richard Hidalgo to sign with the Texas Rangers as a free agent.

OUTFIELD AT THE START OF 2005:

Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron, Victor Diaz, Cliff Floyd, Eric Valent

Bold indicates starter

OUTFIELD AT THE END OF 2005:

Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron, Victor Diaz, Cliff Floyd, Gerald Williams

Bold indicates starter

ALSO MAKING APPEARANCES:

Marlon Anderson, Miguel Cairo, Chris Woodward

METS OUTFIELD WAR*:

Cliff Floyd:         3.9
Carlos Beltran:      2.2
Mike Cameron:        2.1
Victor Diaz:         0.4
Gerald Williams:     0.1
Eric Valent:        -0.6
TOTAL OUTFIELD WAR:  8.1

*Does not include infielders who played some OF, like Marlon Anderson.  He will be included with the infielder WAR.

There was only one real change in the outfield from 2004, but it was a big one, and that was the signing of Carlos Beltran.  He didn’t pay immediate dividends for the club, as he struggled for whatever reason in his first year with the team.  From what I remember, he seemed to be dealing with nagging injuries all season and right when he really started to get going, he had that ugly collision in right field with Mike Cameron.  Still, he would prove to be among the team’s best players in franchise history following this disappointing 2005 season.  Critics of the Jason Bay signing, take note.

It’s worth pointing out that the Beltran signing was at least somewhat questionable, not because of Beltran’s talents, but because the Mets already had a pretty good center fielder in Mike Cameron.  No question, Beltran was the better player, but part of what made Cameron so good was that his bat played better in center than it did in an outfield corner.  In addition, Cameron had not played much as a corner outfielder, and he struggled in right field, posting a 2.5 UZR/150 on the season, which isn’t bad, but is half of his career 5.3 UZR/150 in center field. 

You can already see Willie Randolph’s theory regarding reserve bench players, which is “If you are a bench player who doesn’t play catcher, you can play the outfield.”  Woodward, Anderson, and Cairo started a total of 25 games in the outfield, and we would continue to see other players who were primarily infielders play the outfield under Willie, usually with poor results.  Granted, the team was short-handed after the Beltran/Cameron collision, which actually helped give Gerald Williams a few starts as the Mets’ center fielder, but none of those guys were players whom you’d ever want logging significant time in the outfield.

Overall, this was a good outfield, but carried almost exclusively by the starters, none of whom were entirely healthy this season.  The primary reserves were replacement level glop in Eric Valent, Victor Diaz, and Gerald Williams, a real problem considering Cliff Floyd’s injury history.  Floyd mitigated that somewhat by having his healthiest (and best) season as a Met, but Cameron only played in 73 games.  Most of these guys were holdovers from the previous season, but it’s not like any of the reserves had a long history of production, either.  Diaz and Valent were somewhat justifiable, as they were both young and had good reputations from the minor leagues, but neither guy worked out.  It’s sad that Gerald Williams actually saw action for a major league team with playoff aspirations in 2005, but it would become typical of the Minaya regime to rely on retreads like Williams when the team failed to remain healthy.

One Response to “The Minaya Years – 2005 Outfield”

  1. The Mets can only go up from here. Madoff is behind bars, Minaya is gone, the outfield dimensions are being reconstructed, the young talent is getting their feet wet this season; it’s all going to be a matter of time but the Mets will get back.
    http://www.fromthisseat.com.

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