Some Suggestions at the Mid-point
Some suggestions for Mr. Willpon and Mr. Duquette:
(in no particular order)
Do find someone to take Karim Garcia off your hands even if you have to give him away. There is a backlog on the ML level in outfielders and Karim is the least desirable of them to keep.
Do see if George Steinbrenner will take Mike Stanton and his 2005 salary. It is known they would like to get some left-handed help out of the pen and they certainly liked him while he was there and the Mets would certainly not be looking for anything more than bag of balls and an A-Rod autograph in return. Afterall, Stanton's ERA is almost half of what their current left-handed option is.
Don't overpay for Kris Benson. I do not consider him worth much more than Jeff Suppan who was the "prize" last year and Suppan only netted Freddy Sanchez. The other interested parties in Benson are not stepping up and are do not seem willing to give up much for him. Sit back and see if they will come back down to Earth then see if you can get him.
Do explore these rumors that keep surfacing about Barry Zito. If Gammons is not just making this stuff up to fill up his columns, then Zito is worth it to go after and worth parting with a blue chip prospect plus other pieces for. The Athletics will be bringing up Joe Blanton at some point this year from AAA. Whether it is in the rotation or in the bullpen he will be there. Blanton will also be in the rotation in 2005. Right now, the Athletics have five starters so something has to give. Hudson, Mulder, and Harden will be there, so that leaves Zito and Redman. Redman is not exactly desirable at this point and would not yield much of a return if he was dealt and all. Zito, despite his bad numbers this year, is still very desirable and will still net them a good package in return. In addition, they will not be high on Zito’s 2006 salary of 7.0 million as they are going to make a push to bring back Hudson and will need every dollar they can get to do it. It looks like Zito will be dealt at some point in the future, but the question is when.
Do check into the availability of Buddy Groom or BJ Ryan. The Orioles are definitely a trade partner I am interested in after that Denny Bautista for Jason Grimsley move. Bautista is lighting up the minors for the Royals after that ill-advised trade. They must be smoking the good stuff down in Baltimore, see if you can take advantage of it.
Do promote Lastings Milledge in time so he can play the final month of the season at Port St. Lucie.
Do give Gerald Williams his walking papers for once and for all. After the acquisition of Hidalgo and Valent, Garcia, and Spencer (with sprinkling of McEwing if needed) with the big club, he is no place in this organization. Demoting Jeff Duncan who needs AAA at-bats much more than Williams is very counter productive to his trade value and his progress overall.
Do give Ginter another chance. If this is his last start, it will certainly be disappointing. Yeah he had two bad starts against the Yankees, but a lot of people do. He did not pitch himself out of the rotation on Wednesday night and it will not exactly send the best message to your youngsters. Never slump or you will be replaced with a 40 year old.
Do give Orber Moreno and Joe Parra some more important innings. I cannot bear to watch the important stuff go to Stanton or Franco anymore. Howe uses Moreno, Parra, and Wheeler when they are behind, and Franco, Stanton, and Bottalico when they are ahead. Transplant Parra and Moreno for Franco and Stanton. Can they really do worse?
Don't even think about signing Franco for 2005. My smarter half tells me not to get my hopes up. I believe Wilpon will keep bringing him back every year as long as he wants to pitch. I may be able to live with that on one condition. That condition is if he is a situational lefty that only sees the light of day rarely and is not leaned upon heavily in game deciding situations. I believe we can survive without him and with Royce Ring in the pen as our only lefty in 2005 if we can manage to dump Stanton. If we cannot dump Stanton, then we certainly should not bring Franco back. Put that cow out to pasture.
Don't give Al Leiter more than a one year contract if he wants to return. With the lack of depth for starting pitching at the 4 or 5 spot in the rotation we may need him. Seo, Ginter, Heilman, Strange, etc. just will not cut it. Peterson, Humber, Keppel, and Kazmir will most assuredly not be ready for opening day 2005, so we can actually use him next year.
Do look to acquire a top tier starter this off-season in the form of Carl Pavano or Matt Clement to fill the #2 spot in the rotation.
Do look to strengthen the bullpen in the off-season. In order of importance, there will be BJ Ryan (lefty), Scott Williamson, Steve Kline (lefty), Felix Rodriguez , and Bob Howry on the market next year. There is some help for the taking.
Don't pick up Trachsel's 2006 option before the 2005 season even starts. Keep all of your options open. You own the option, you can exercise it at the end of the 2005 season if you need to. We need to get younger eventually in the rotation.
Do push the damn city to get a Stadium moving. The city has not built a new venue since the year of the flood. The Mets should be next in line since a West Side Stadium for the Jets is not the greatest idea in the world. If a second rate city like Philly can build a new football field and baseball field within a year of each other, the greatest city in the world should be able to figure out a way to fit it in the budget.
Don't always look for the most cost effective solution for all the holes on your team. Major dollars are coming off the books in the next few years, you need to make a blockbuster signing of a superstar. It is better done sooner than later since the Mets are proving to be able to contend in the NL East with what they have now. Do not let the big fish of this upcoming free agent class slip away.
Do switch Reyes and Matsui at the end of the year. It is painfully obvious that Kaz's arm is just not strong enough. I think he will be a very productive player and very good second baseman for years to come in Shea.
Do let go of your dependence on crusty veterans. Older is not better.
Don't bring up Wright unless Wigginton is moved. If we are unable to move Wigginton for anything of value, let Wright finish the 2004 season in AAA with a September call-up. There is no need to fix something that is not broken.
Do figure out what to do with minor league backlogs. Huber will be at AAA next year with Jacobs and Brazell. In addition to a catcher backlog, Humber, Kazmir, Peterson, Scobie and Musser are all looking to be on the AAA rotation in 2005 as well. Either Brazell is traded and Jacobs and Huber switch between first base and catcher, or Jacobs is moved to make room for Huber and to keep Brazell at first. As for the rotation a lot of deadweight was to be moved to allow all of them to fit on the roster. With Keisler, Heilman, Strange, and possibly Seo and Ginter, I do not want anyone blocking the path of the Mets’ better prospects at the upper levels and we may be able to improve the team by dealing some of the uneeded chips in the minors. Norfolk was devoid of a lot of impact prospects over the next few years, but that looks to be changing next year.
The All-Star game is a sham. Back when men where men, Pete Rose actually ran over a catcher during an All-Star game. They actually wanted to win that one.