A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Anatomy of a Trade

A day later and I have given this trade some more thought. Although I am the minority here, I really still think it is a lateral move that serves little to no point other than spend $4,000,000 + that we could have saved for next year after the buyout is taken into consideration. With baseballs inflated salaries, 4 mill may not seem like a lot, but in reality is pays 80% of Steve Tracshel's paycheck for the year. It is also roughly the asking price for Jose Guillen for two entire seasons. If four million dollars is really no big deal like everyone suggests, the Mets would not be in a right field predicament at this point if the bargain basement option was not chosen. That money can be put to better good than this. The consensus is that the money is not a big deal, and it may not be. I do not know what the Mets budget is. To me, if we got him and had to pay nothing, I'd be fine with it. This move just does not warrant having to take on any money at all. For instance, I am a huge fan of Scott Williamson coming here. Fact is, he will be pricey and perhaps that 4 million over a three year contract may be the difference between getting a player and not getting a player. Every dollar will count as the Mets are going to be spending some serious dough in trying to get a big bat in right, another starter, shore up the bullpen, and solidify the bench. If Wilpon had bottomless pockets, it is one thing. However, he is paying a significant amount of money to Doubleday every year paying off the team. He will be paying that over the next few years.

The majority believes the deal is a low risk high reward type deal. I guess it is, if you think he will produce. I am not so optimistic about it which is why if we add $1 it is too much. To me it is a marginal upgrade, if any upgrade at all. If I was confident he is going to perform, then fine. It is a small price to pay for some production. I do not mind losing Weathers or Griffiths, Weathers was wearing thin on my patience anyway and Griffiths does not fit into our plans at all. Hidalgo has hit 44 home runs in 2000 and this April hit .319 with four homeruns, so it is not like the ability is not there. But having the ability and using it is another thing. He has been sort of an enigma over the years. Do I expect Hidalgo to have an epiphany and just turn it on? No, which is why this trade is pointless.

Hidalgo did play in a hitter's park, which helped his #'s somewhat, but not as much as I thought. When I looked up his three year splits from 2001 to 2003 this is what I found:

Home - .287 average / 44 doubles / 28 homeruns / 117 RBIs
Road - .267 average / 45 doubles / 34 homeruns / 99 RBIs

Hidalgo has only topped 20 homeruns twice and is not going to do that this season unless something miraculous happens. I do agree there is some upside, but how much really? Is it really better than the dynamic duo that warrants opening the checkbook at all?

Through 58 games, Hidalgo has posted a .256 average, 21 runs scored, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homeruns, and 30 RBIs.

Astonishingly, his numbers are more scary than you would think. Hidalgo hit is first homerun on opening day. He then hit another three by April 13th. He has not hit one since then. That is an astounding 48 game homerless streak. That is not good for the kids keeping score at home. He has not had a ball leave the park since the third series of the season! In addition to that, 19 of his 30 RBIs came between opening day and April 17th. He basically had a sizzling 12 games to start off the year and has done zip since then. Isn't he supposed to be a power hitter in a hitter's park? The Mets picked up someone colder than ice, colder than their present options, which is why I do not think he presents much of an upgrade of what we currently have. On top of it, we are picking up salary? Am I completely alone here?

Karim Garcia has had 17 less at-bats than Hidalgo and has managed to hit three more homeruns and has a .236 average, 21 runs scored, 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 23 RBIs.

Look, I do not think Karim is as bad as his .236 average. Also, the power hitter we got to replace him has less homeruns than him.

Shane Spencer has 139 at-bats, a .309 average 15 runs scored, 6 doubles, 1 triples, 2 homeruns, 13 RBIs.

As for Shane, it is too bad he has had some health issues, I'd like to see him get more at-bats to see what he can do on a more consistent basis and I wouldn't have minded seeing him get in more games even when right handed pitchers are on the mound. So far he has hit righties better than lefties, and I think he may be the most productive option we have to stick in right.

Yes, Hidalgo may seem to be better run producer, but much better? Not in my opinion. Houston has a much better offense overall and there were actually people on base when he was up which skews Spencer's and Garcia's total playing for one of the more offensively challenged teams. If Hidalgo's 2000 and 2003 seasons were the rule rather the exception, I would just feel that maybe he is slumping currently. However, those two years really feel the exception and this year is more in line with what he typically does. Outside of two seasons, he has been absolutely average and overpriced.

Now, I will take some positives out of this trade. Although this is not my most favorite of deals, I do see some light here as a result of this move.

1) The Big O will get more experience and be relied on more heavily in tight situations. For any ladies out there, not this Big O, this Big O.

2)There is a bullpen spot cleared for Strickland when he comes back. Wheeler or Moreno would have been cast off to AAA once he returns, and since Wheeler is the long, man it might have been my boy Orber.

3)Yates remains on the ML squad once Orber returns. Orber takes a more prominent role with the team and Yates can get some experience in the lesser roles so the Mets can figure out what they have in him. Yates is 26 and not getting any younger. He needs to be in the majors now, if not next year for good.

4)The Bench just got a lot better. With Spencer and Garcia, although one of them is likely to get spun into another deal, coming off the bench and Zeile soon to be a reserve, the Mets bench is looking better than it has all year. The veteran presence off the pine is staggering and must be very comforting to Wilpon.

5)The number five hole in the lineup is more intimidating if only by a small margin and if only in the pitcher's mind. Fact is Richard Hidalgo is a more imposing figure in the batters box than Spencer or Garcia.

6)Hidalgo has an absolute cannon in right field.

7)A trade was made and no real prospects being lost in the process.

8)Less Gerald Williams. I do not care that he has a decent average or threw somebody out at the plate. With Prentice Redman's promotion and subsequent success so far in his second go around in AAA, Gerald seemingly has no where to go but home. The Mets sure won't bench Victor Diaz or Jeff Duncan for this spare to return to action.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope people are coming back to this board calling me a dumb shit, which I may be. I hope he tears it up, but I am not holding my breath. To me it is a kind of non-move and from reading the various websites and message boards, most Met fans are ecstatic about this move. Hell, even Steve Summers thinks this move is great, which really made me doubt myself. Some people believe that he just needs a change of scenery. I even heard on the radio that Mets see something he was doing wrong and believe they can correct it (as if the Houston coaches are very incapable?). The cheese stands alone. I am a bit more cautious in regards to this deal and think any dollar spent on him and is wasted. It is not like I think it terribly negative, but I can sum it up with one word, BLAH. Who cares? A guy got picked up that is producing less than I current options. Pardon me if I think $1 is too much pick up. I think Rob Neyer summarizes this move in Met management's eyes the most:

Three and a half million bucks for three and a half months of Richard Hidalgo? It's a gamble, but it's not a bad gamble. As awful as Hidalgo's been this season, Mets right fielder Karim Garcia has probably been more awful. More to the point, looking forward, Hidalgo's got a better chance than Garcia of not being awful.

I just do not see the reason why everyone is happy about this deal. It was a swap of underperforming players. Choose your own poison. The Mets took a flyer on a guy that may or may not better than what we have. Don't we have enough questions marks? On top of that, Wilpon does not like to waste money. With Hidalgo's $2,000,000 buyout coming, I can see Wilpon renegotiating his contract as long as he does average. It is not like Wilpon to throw away money willy nilly, so if you ask me, it scares me. We need Maggs and we could end up with Hidalgo so the buyout does not go down the drain.

Now everyone is free to yell at me and tell me how wrong I am, because I know it is coming.

  • Very good news out of Norfolk. No, Wright did not have any hits, but Bobby Keppel pitched 7 innings surrendering one earned run. Also worth some note, Victor Diaz has finally gotten over the .300 hump with a 3 for 4 night. He is now at .302 and expect him to starting climbing towards .320. This guy can hit.

  • Capital City won big, but Lastings did not contribute. The star was the guy who has been doing the heavy lifting for the team all season. Ian Bladergroen was 3 for 6 with 2 runs score, 1 homerun, and 2 RBIs and is batting .336 with a nutty 68 RBIs. Him and Pettit need to be moved up St. Lucie sooner rather than later.

  • In Binghamton news, Matt Peterson's control problems are persisting. He went 5.2 innings and surrendered only 3 hits, but walked 5 en route giving up only 1 earned run. Justin Huber continues to impress with the bat. He went 3 for 5 with two doubles and is now batting .281. He is on fire after an early season slump and has been picking up multiple hits nightly.

  • Remember this guy?

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