The first step in the rebuilding job is complete!
Alex Cora and Chris Coste have been brought into the fold and added to the 40-man roster, although Coste actually signed a minor-league deal last week. These moves, not surprisingly, were met mostly with derision in the Mets' blog kingdom. In a season where the Mets have so many holes to fill, you will forgive the fanbase by not being excited over a utility infielder and a second- or third-string catcher.
I have no problem with signing Coste - he hit reasonably well as a backup in Philadelphia for a few seasons, although the bottom dropped out of his offensive production when he was traded to the Astros last summer. I would've preferred the Mets make a run at Kelly Shoppach, who was traded to the Rays this week. That said, Tampa seems very unlikely to offer Dioner Navarro a contract now - I would love it if the Mets paired him with Santos and allowed Coste to mentor Josh Thole in Buffalo.
Cora is another story. It doesn't seem like a good idea to offer $2 million to a light-hitting backup infielder with a questionable glove and two damaged thumbs. Minaya's style as a general manager seems to include ranking the areas where he perceives the team has a need and then filling it as quickly as possible with the first available player who fits the bill. One can almost imagine Minaya scanning this list, seeing the phrase "utility infielder" and deciding that he needs to lock Cora up so he can move to the next task.
There are many problems with this approach, not the least of which is that Minaya rarely lets the market come to him. Was it really that important to lock down your utility infielder right now? Was the market for Cora so hot that Minaya stood to lose him if he wasn't offered a contract before December 1? Were there any younger, more athletic players in baseball who could've filled that role more cheaply?
Don't tell me that Cora's "leadership skills" were essential to a 70-win team that showed only a passing familiarity with how to play fundamental baseball, either. The Mets don't need leaders - they need good baseball players, and lots of them. Cora and Coste may play a supporting role, but they do not address what the Mets really need.