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

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Only Big Unit In NYC Will Be Mine

I'm sick of the Yankee fans spouting out that they will get Randy Johnson, Todd Helton, Preston Wilson etc. When does it end?

Yes there are some truths to a rumor between the Yanks and the D-Backs.

Truth #1: The Yankees want Johnson (big shocker)
Truth #2: Johnson has to agree to waive his no-trade clause and said he would consider the New York Yankees

Ok, now that the truths are out of way, we can add in reality. The D-Backs may move Johnson, but only if it makes sense. Garagiola said that money is not the issue here, which it may be, but we do not really know that. If he lets it out that money is an issue he loses leverage by teams knowing he has to make a move. Johnson is the D-Backs franchise right now. Without him, fans essentially have no reason to show up and they do not show up in droves as it is at this point. The trade has to make sense. Garagiola is in no position that he absolutely needs to move Johnson like Littlefield needs to shop Benson or get nothing in return at the end of the season. Johnson is signed through 2005 which makes him even more attractive being a 1 1/2 year rental instead of a 1/2 year rental. The names being thrown around in a possible deal are Dioneer Navarro, Robinson Cano, and Kenny Lofton. Now Navarro is the only Yankee prospect to be regarded in the top 50 prospects usually being listed in the mid-40's by most people. The biggest plus on him is his age at this point. He is 20 years old and playing in AAA. He had a breakout year in AA in 2003, but didn't even manage to crack .270 this year in AA with three homeruns in 72 games. He is struggling mightily after being promoted to AAA. He was promoted only because the Yankees wanted him to appear as if he is close to major league ready. There is no doubt he is a solid prospect, but no can't miss. Robinson Cano is in the midst of his breakout year. He was a second baseman coming into this year, but his lack of foot speed which affects his range may ultimately put him at third base. He hit .295 at AA with seven homeruns in 76 games. Not bad, but that sits in 14th in average and no where near the top in homeruns. Like Navarro, his best trait is that he is only 21 and playing in AAA. Unlike Navarro, he is actually hitting well in AAA. He is hitting .333 with two homeruns and eight RBIs in thirteen games. Coming into the year, he was not on anyone's radar as a hot prospect but has played well enough to open some eyes, but still not regarded as one the tops. As for Lofton, he is the throw in. That gives the D-Backs a center fielder so they can move Finley if they choose too. I do not need to go into Lofton's uselessness.

The bottom line is this, according to Jason Stark's latest Rumblings and Grumblings column, the Yankees are not in the hunt for Benson because Littlefield told them to take a hike.

The Yankees have been telling people they backed off Kris Benson because they didn't believe he could win a big game in October in New York. But other clubs that have been in contact with Pittsburgh say it was actually the Pirates who told the Yankees they just don't match up, because of the Yankees' dearth of upper-level position-player prospects.

So am I to believe that Garagiola knows a lot more about these two than Littlefield? If one team did not even think they had enough to get Benson, how they hell can it then be enough to get a Hall of Fame pitcher that is actually good? Look, Johnson may be traded, but it will take more than the likes of Navarro, Cano, and Lofton. Garagiola should have learned a lesson from the Schilling trade and the Sexson trade. That lesson is no more stupid trades. He did not get nearly enough for Schilling from the Sox and ask Milwaukee how they liked the Sexson deal. Smart money is on the Angels. They have wealth of prospects and we know Arte will spend the cash. If a deal gets done, it has to make sense to the D-Backs. I believe it is beyond money since Johnson brings his fair share back into the franchise. If the Yankees did get Johnson for two fringe prospects, it would be the steal of the century. The best thing the Yankees have going for them is that will offer Johnson an extension with no problem. That would be the major sticking point and biggest thing preventing other teams from getting involved, but I still think Garagiola has to make a good move for the team and the Yankees cannot offer that.

* * *

  • The Mets lose for the second day in row 5-2 to the Marlins. One swing basically decided this one. Conine closed his eyes and swung as hard as he could as he hit grand salami against Al Leiter who left after three innings and threw 88 pitches with four earned runs. The Mets dropped into fourth place, but remain two games out of first place which positive I guess.

  • The Futures games was yesterday. David Wright went 1 for 3 with an error and a mental error in the field. Yusmeiro Petit went 2/3 IP and let two inherited runners scored, which were unearned, but did not allow an earned run himself. I know people are going to say "hey what's the big deal with that Wright kid" after that game and that one tough inning in the field he had. But no worries from anyone that has followed him all year. His glove is good. Anyone that saw him in spring knows he can make the dazzling play. I thought they both looked good in the short time I got to see them and good to see them both represent.

    From his mouth to my page:
    "I don't let the media or the hype affect my game," Wright said before playing yesterday in the All-Star Futures Game, where he went 1-for-3 with a line-drive single. "As a player you always have to feel you're ready, but I need to prove I'm ready. I feel I'm right on track, but I'm learning all the time.

    "The pitching has been a little different in Triple-A. They're smarter, they throw all their pitches in any count; you can't just sit on a 2-0 fastball, and that's made me a more patient hitter. The big thing is you can't be intimidated when you move up. It's still baseball."

    How do you not like this attitude? He's the anti Brandon Phillips who thought he should be in the hall of fame already without even sticking in the majors.

  • On WFAN this weekend, the entire Saturday was spent on Wigginton and how no one wanted to see him go. A few people even suggested holding onto Wigginton and dealing Wright. Now look, I love Wiggie as much as the next guy, but David Wright is special and the future. Wiggie is a guy that will give you .275, 20 homers, 80 RBIs and play OK defense at his peak. He is someone that could a very solid player and be very good major leaguer for years to come, but no superstar. One guy went as far to compare him to Jeff Kent. Jeff Kent won an MVP award. I can safely say Wiggie will never win an MVP award. Wiggie is someone everyone pulls for succeed, but his best contribution may be what we can get back in a trade. If we cannot get anything decent, I am content to have him be a super backup.

  • Hunsicker is not buying Hidalgo's hot streak.

    "What's it been, two weeks? Anyone can be hot for a short period of time. At the end of the year, we'll look back and evaluate this trade,"

  • Leiter is exhibiting some out of the box thinking in Jason Stark's latest Rumblings and Grumblings column.

    Mets pitcher Al Leiter thinks baseball should consider limiting the number of deals each team can make -- so a club like the Yankees couldn't just add players at will and a going-nowhere team like the Pirates couldn't unload everybody but the batboys.

    Leiter's suggestion is to assign Type-A, B and C rankings to players before the trade deadline the way baseball does to free agents every winter. Then a team would be limited to trading away, or acquiring, only two Type-A or B players a year during the season.

    "I think it would be great for the game," Leiter says. "It would be great for fans to call the talk shows and debate which two moves their team should make. And it would make teams more accountable for their decision-making.

    "That way, the deep-pocketed teams couldn't just keep tweaking and tweaking. And a team like we were last year couldn't just trade away a bunch of players. You could trade (Armando) Benitez and (Robbie) Alomar. But you couldn't trade Benitez and Alomar and (Jeromy) Burnitz and (Graeme) Lloyd and Sanchez. I think there's a lot of merit to that idea."

    Hmm...Well the already have a grading system for arbitration hearings and for draft pick compensation, so there is not much to rework, but I'm not a fan of it. I'm usually a fan of anything that would restrict the Yankees, but I think a team should have complete control of whether it can dump 100% of their roster or 0% of their roster. It helps the fans, because it prevents fire sales, but fire sales are not always bad. Look at Cleveland. They are close to building a long sustained winner there from firesale deals. That would not have been possible without having 100% control of who you can get rid of and when. Rebuilding can be good if it is done right. Problem is it is not always done right. Pittsburgh has been rebuilding for over a decade now.

  • Is anyone else hook on the poker tournaments on ESPN? I cannot stop watching them when they are on.


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