Every baseball "expert" has been offering free analysis as to what is ailing the Mets. From fire Willie, to dump DelGado, to trade Beltran, to we need the "Stache" back, to trade for Millar, etc.
What is the difference between the 2006 team, and the 2007 and 2008 team? I have what I believe to be the answer. It's three words...Cornelius Clifford Floyd. More commonly known as Cliff Floyd. This is not a stance that the Mets should not have let him leave after '06. He was oft injured (like Alou), and getting older (mid 30's). This position is solely on the man. I have not heard one bad word about Cliff Floyd (Bobby Valentine not included) from any of his team mates. You don't think his loss is a big chasm? Just ask David Wright. Wright still has Floyd on speed dial.
What Cliff brought to this organization was professionalism. He embraced the new kids. He showed them the ropes. He helped Milledge, when Floyd knew he was helping the kid who was going to replace him. He even made the comment that he couldn't wait to see David Wright play when he was retired, and nothing more than a patron. Cliff was rumored to have a new suit hanging in the locker of a new call up.
It was Cliff and Mike Cameron, Cliff in his second year with the Mets, Cameron in his first, that urged Art Howe to let Reyes come up and dress and be with his team in 2004. Reyes had been playing in AAA recovering from another leg injury. Where were the "Team Leaders"? Was Al Leiter a help...nope, Tom Glavine...nope, John Franco...nope, Mike Piazza...nope. These "leaders" were nowhere to be found. Cliff and Mike showed what being a team leader really is.
Being a team leader isn't always yelling and waving the pom-poms. Many times it is the subtleties that touch team mates.
All these baseball "experts" have their opinions, but the answer is not Millar, or trading players. The heart of this team departed once one Cornelius Clifford Floyd cleaned out his locker for the final time.