We deserved that.
Every one of us who thought “yeah, that's too bad about Valen…oh boy! Ruben Gotay is gonna play more!” deserved to watch Gotay throw away a sure double play ball in the sixth and, with it, any hope of keeping the Dodgers in sight Saturday.
For shame. For shame on anyone who took the least bit of solace in any Met's injury, especially one as serious as that which befell Jose Valentin.
I like what Ruben Gotay has shown with the bat, I really do. But he's a subpar second baseman. If he plays enough, he will be exposed. He has been exposed. He might get better and he might be worth it because he might hit, but I have to believe there's a reason that Gotay was made readily available by Kansas City last year and went unclaimed when he was dropped off the major league roster over the winter. As a part-time contributor, he qualifies as one of Omar's potential gems. As an everyday second baseman, I'm not nearly sold. Not yet.
I'm having a bit of déjà vu with Gotay. This is, on a less monumental scale, Melvin Mora all over again. Mora became the everyday shortstop when Rey Ordoñez went down in 2000. Mora could hit. There was no doubt about that. He was 1999's Endy Chavez except with added versatility. Problem was he wasn't an everyday shortstop, certainly not when he was asked to prove he was in the heat of a pennant race. Watching Melvin play short was painful seven years ago, as much because I had fallen in love with his hitting and outfield skills the fall before as because he wasn't a good shortstop and it was the costing the Mets baserunners and potential outs.
The Mets traded for a great shortstop, Barry Larkin. But Larkin vetoed the deal. Then they traded for a proven shortstop, Mike Bordick. He wasn't all that proven anymore at that stage of his career. Plus they traded Melvin Mora to get him. Mora went on to become an All-Star for the Orioles, if not an All-Star shortstop. Bordick went on to find the bottom of the hill as a Met.
Might have the 2000 Mets gone on to an N.L. flag with Mora at short? I honestly can't say. He really was a poor shortstop. I didn't want him traded, but I didn't want him in there at that moment playing at that spot. But injuries mean hard choices. Willie has one right now at second, juggling among Gotay's bat, Anderson Hernandez's just-recalled glove, Marlon Anderson's moxie and whatever Damion Easley has left once he returns to the roster. I've still got that fantasy trade for Brandon Phillips on the front burner, but I'm not the GM…of the Mets or the Reds.
I don't know who's going to play second or who should play second or if anyone's going to emerge as the answer. I do know none of us should have felt even ancillary relief that Jose Valentin was no longer an option. I know I did and I know I was wrong.