If I Were GM....
Yes, with all the hoopla going around the league as the trading deadline gets near, teams that have false hopes of the Promised Land try to bolster their current meager lineups to get themselves over that hump. This includes our very own New York Mets. We all like to think that we are each respectively more intelligent than the manager and the GMs at times, if not all the time. Irrational? Maybe, but with the last few years, the Mets have not exactly looked good in either department. I do think that Jim Duquette has a better idea and more of plan than Steve Phillips did, but the jury is still out for me. No one can turn a team around in one year. To me, opening day 2005 will be the true testament. What key trades will he have made on his watch, what big free agent signings he has made will have been done by that time, and how has he executed his plan to get younger, faster, more athletic, and better defensively. Since the Mets are pretty much the oldest team now, he has his work cut out for him.
Since Monday was an off-day coupled with the fact that I did not really feel like working, I had plenty of time to plot out a plan that will take the Mets to 2005 opening day with a quality product on the field that can play for the ever elusive meaningful games that the Mets management has referred to on occasion. Not that I think this years version of the Mets is not quality, due to injuries they have not been as good as they could have been, they should be a bit better.
#1 - Hold off on pulling the trigger for a player at the trade deadline. I just think a major move to get Beltran or Ordonez is unwarranted unless you can guarantee a signed extension from it. It is important to not just go nuts and do something rash. I know I sound like a broken record, but once the Mets are 100% healthy, barring anymore setbacks, their offense will be vastly approved.
There are less sexy moves like Jacque Jones which could be done if the Twins can help their team out in other areas as a result of the deal. With Lew Ford, Torri Hunter, and Shannon Stewart (when he returns), Jones may become expendable. He could be a relative bargain. Outside of a deal similar to that, I would not do any blockbuster type deals.
#2 – Sign Phillip Humber. This BS about the market not setting itself is crap. Year after year, guys have a rough idea of what type of money you get at what area of the draft. Humber should be in the $3,000,000 neighborhood. Matt Bush, who was the #1 overall pick, got $3,150,000. Work off that number. I want Humber to get signed, not so he can work in games right away, but because he can start working with Peterson. He can go to Birmingham, AL and get his mechanics examined and meet Rick for a few bullpen sessions. Humber pitched over 115 college innings, and only one major leaguer went over 100 so far. That guy was resident workhorse Livan Hernandez. Ideally Humber gets four to six games total for the remainder of the year after maybe a month off. That would leave him with about 150 innings. That may seem like a lot, but after a month off, it should not be too taxing on his arm.
#3 – Give Scott Kazmir another month to get it going. If he continues to struggle, think about moving him to closer. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the concerns about his size and being a power pitcher are certainly warranted. The Mets have some serious starting pitching depth and this could be a surefire way to alleviate concerns about his elbow and fast track him to the majors. A guy with his stuff would be devastating as a closer and would be able to even possibly make a 2005 appearance. Believe me, I love the idea of a power lefty as a starter, but I like the idea of him being healthy and dominant for 15 years in Met uniform better.
#4 – Fast track Lastings Milledge. I’m a believer you should not rush prospects, but some are just special players (i.e. Jose Reyes) that they have the skills to get there sooner. Yes, it is still early for him, he’s only played about 25 games, but he’s got five tools and is showing them all. I say play him out for another month in Capital City, and give him a taste of St. Lucie for the remainder of the year, provided he continues to excel. Then see how he responds to high A ball and Spring Training of 2005 before you decide where he goes that season. Ideally you try and get him major league ready by 2006. He seems special so far, so I do not see why that would be a problem.
#5 – Give David Wright until the All-Star break to see how he handles AAA. If he rolls into the All-Star break looking like a future All-Star himself, give Wigginton his walking papers and see if he can be spun off into a deal. Let Wright ride out the rest of the year playing the hot-corner for in Shea Stadium.
#6 – Cross my fingers and hope that Prentice Redman has figured it out. What he does for the remainder of the year will be a vital piece of the puzzle. Prentice has tools. He can hit for some power, he can field, and he can run pretty well. If he can pick up in AAA where he left off in AA, he becomes an interesting piece to my puzzle. Hopefully he does well in AAA and gets some at-bats in his September call-up.
#7 – Make sure Matthew Peterson gets a shot at AAA at some point this season. He has been struggling of late, but not exactly getting killed. Like he got a taste of AA the end of last year, the same should be repeated with AAA this year.
I am not going to even try and guess how the Mets are going to finish this season. I think they will be vastly improved team with better management of the lineup and a 100% healthy team with all key cogs healthy. A second half run, with the present personnel and help from within the organization is not out of the question. In fact, I think it is very possible. Jose Reyes is such a catalyst. He makes things happen in a big way. The biggest problem the Mets have is no one on for Piazza and no protection behind him. A lineup with Reyes in front of Piazza and Floyd behind him has some serious upside.
#8 – Let Al Leiter walk. As tough as it may be, it will make sense as you read down further in my master plan.
#9 – Make a run at Magglio Ordonez. Make sure you throw what is necessary to land him at him. Give him five or six years and the dollar amount he is looking for. He will fit nicely into the payroll and on the Mets team. The corner outfield spot has just been solved.
#10 – Make a bid for Scott Williamson. This guy is nasty. .121 BAA, 1.59 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and he has not surrendered a home run. He should take Weather’s spot in the bullpen nicely.
#11 – Let Franco and Weathers walk, their contracts are up. Give Johnny a golden watch and BMW, say thanks for the memories and take your tomato plants.
#12 – Get Matt Clement in Shea wearing the blue and orange. He has #1 stuff, and will only cost #2 money. He is posting a .213 BAA, 1.12 WHIP, and 3.15 ERA so far this year. With Rick Peterson as the pitching coach, and Shea a pitchers park, there should not be much arm twisting to convince pitchers to come here if you can show him the bats will be here to make a run.
#13 – According to Metsblog.com, Billy Beane is rumored to possibly look at his options this off season and will perhaps shop Barry Zito around. The A’s asking price will be high, but I think the Mets can have a combination that will make him listen. The Mets payroll will be low next year. Low in relative terms to what they can actually afford to spend so they can eat some contract money to make packages more attractive to Beane. What do the A’s need? A few things. They need a stronger bullpen, a real closer (Rhodes sucks), catcher (Miller’s contract is up and will be presumably too expensive) and an outfield position player to supplant Dye's impending free agency. Here is my pitch. Billy Beane was in love with Mike Cameron this off season. Gauge his interest and see if Cameron is still high on his wish list (we'll miss his glove, but we'll deal). If it is, see if he will make one of these two swaps. Offer #1, The Mets pay for 3 million per year for the remaining two years of Cameron’s contract, give the A’s Jason Phillips to catch at a very cheap price of the league minimum, give them Bob Keppel for a close to major league ready starter, and give them Victor Diaz as a potential OF/2b/DH masher that can assist them in ’05 or Craig Brazel for 1b/DH/LF (their choice). Offer #2, The Mets give them Looper in his last year of his contract while paying half of the remaining dollar value (approx $1,700,000) to close their games out and save Rich Harden from moving to the closer role, Vance Wilson as catcher, Prentice Redman, and Scott Kazmir. Obviously many teams will be vying for his services and I would like to be able to accommodate the A’s needs, which is partially why choosing to pass on an ’04 trading deadline move may prove very beneficial. I know you will all think I’m nuts, but these offers are just base offers, than can be modified whether you think I'm giving too much or not enough. You get the picture. I see no reason why a deal cannot be made and since he is on contract for two more years, it will be pricy.
#14 - Trade Steve Traschel. This hinges on getting Zito. Obviously he remains if Zito stays in Oak-town or goes somewhere else. He is affordable and will be signed for two years if whatever team has him picks up his option. Both years will only cost you $5,000,000 per year for a solid pitcher that gives you solid outings every five days. Who knows, maybe even spin him as part of a package for Zito so he can replace his rotation spot, move Harden to close games and bring up Blanton as the fifth starter for the A's. It does not hurt to ask
#15 – Move Reyes back to short.
#16 - Sign Rick Peterson to a lifetime deal.
So what will my new look 2005 New York Mets Look like?
With Phillip Humber , Matt Peterson , or Bobby Keppel (if he is still here) with an outside shot at a 4 or 5 spot.
Braden Looper (Dan Wheeler if Looper is traded)
Orber Moreno (Potential closer if Looper is traded)
Mike Stanton (I'd much rather dump him too and plug in Wheeler for good, but he is un-dumpable)
Tyler Yates (can work in long roles if Wheeler is not part of the bullpen)
With no true long man, it may be necessary to use a seven man bullpen.
Jose Reyes SS
Kazuo Matsui 2B
Magglio Ordonez RF
Mike Piazza 1B
Cliff Floyd LF
David Wright 3b
Mike Cameron CF (or Prentice Redman if Cameron gets dealt or a 1 year stop-gap)
Jason Phillips C (If Phillips is gone, then Vance Wilson, Mike Jacobs, or a make a run at Jason Varitek???)
Joe McEwing (for better or for worse, he will be here)
Shane Spencer (if he will come back, bring him back, I like him)
Danny Garcia (I think he will be good off the bench, Wilson Delgado would suffice too)
Vance or Jacobs (depends on who catches at the ML level, also a FA can be signed for backup catcher)
Also, If Wigginton does not bring much value on the market, he can be Zeile type guy off the bench. He should be able to play three of the four infield spots.
Crazy or not, those are my long winded plans.
Has any noticed how long every single damn post is?