The Mets made a couple of moves Saturday morning, releasing Alex Cora and demoting Jesus Feliciano. In their places, the Mets called up two of their most promising prospects — Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada. These are excellent moves that could breath new life into the dormant club.
Tejada hit just .212 in 35 games for the Mets filling in for Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo as they battled injuries, but he showed flashes of promise. I predict he will get the bulk of the playing time at second base, with Castillo finally being shown the door.
As for Martinez (left), I can’t imagine he is being called up to sit on the bench. I think he will replace Jeff Francoeur in right field, who will stick around and get some spot starts until Jason Bay comes back from his concussion, and then he will join Castillo either on another team or on the unemployment line. It’s about time for Martinez. I called on him to start the year in center. It’s time to see what the Mets have in this kid. Either he will live up to his potential or he won’t, but let’s find out already. He hit just .176 with one homer in 29 games with the big club last season.
The Cora move is more about next season than this one. In that ridiculous contract Omar Minaya gave him, if Cora played 80 games this year, he would get $2 million guaranteed for 2011. Cora, hitting a whopping .207 this season, was 18 games away from that guarantee, and almost certainly would have achieved it had he remained with the team. I wonder if a grievance is in the offing. Cora would likely lose that since his performance this season was so subpar and warrants being released.
In dumping Cora and possibly Francoeur, the Mets do lose something from the clubhouse. But their positive vibes did not translate into wins, and that’s what it’s all about.
These latest moves show what a poor job Minaya did building this team during the off season. The opening day bench consisted of Cora, Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews, Jr., Fernando Tatis and Henry Blanco — a bunch of washed up veterans except for Blanco, who is the only one left from that unimpressive group. If Minaya can’t even asssemble a strong bench, what does that say about his ability to put together a solid club?