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

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Back In Business

I’ve been out of commission for a bit with PTDS (Post Trade Deadline Syndrome). I am still trying to recoup from the madness. Although I am a day late and a dollar short and I’m sure this has been tons written about this past weekend, I offer this:

With the flurry of trades on Saturday, the one move that obviously shifts the balance of power heavily is the Scott Erickson to Rangers for the infamous player to be named later. This move has serious playoff implications for the AL West as it now gives the Rangers some more ballyhooed veteran presence on their staff to go with Kenny “The Gambler” Rogers. I can feel the A’s shaking in their boots.

In reality, the Mets should have figured out a way to get Adrian Gonzalez. Whether they would have needed to throw in Yusmeiro Petit, Vic Diaz, or whoever, they should have found a way. They traded away their top two pitching prospects, they might as well have thrown in their 3rd best pitching prospect. With Texiera and Gonzalez, something has to give unless Texiera is going to be a permanent DH or shift to the outfield. I cannot think of a better fit for the Mets right now than a slick fielding, .300 hitting, 21 year old first baseman with pop in his bat. I’d rather have seen the Mets not pick up either Zambrano or Benson and use the other arm for Gonzalez. This may be just wishful thinking on my part, but I can dream can’t I? Rumor had it that Cliff Floyd was almost dealt to the Rangers as well. I’m sure with two years left on his contract, the Mets would have netted a very positive return on Cliffy if he was packaged up with some future pitching help for the Rangers. I mean, Benson may not even re-sign and the Mets now just forced their hand. They will pay whatever Benson asks for since it is paramount that the Mets ink him or else they just gave up Wiggie, Peterson, and Huber for a 60 game rental for a fourth place team. Not only that, but this move potentially blocks the Mets from getting either Clement or Pavano who would have been the cream of the crop in my estimation in terms of free agent pitching. They are already what they hope Benson will be. The Mets are banking on Benson being the next Clement or Pavano in being a guy who ‘figures it out’ at the end of their 20’s and puts their electric stuff to good use. It was just a weird day.

The Mets went from having a top ten farm system to falling into the mid 20’s presumably. With the fact that Wright and Moreno and are in the majors and Huber, Kazmir, and Peterson are now jewels of other teams systems, the Mets are left with no blue chippers until Humber signs. My, my, what a week will do. I’m still not sure how to feel about this one and will reserve judgment because these are deals that will not be able to be tagged as a failure or success until the unknown quantities are made known. I can see how Peterson was expendable being that Humber, Durkin, and Gabby Hernandez are very much along the same lines as each other, but the Kazmir deal is very shocking. Power lefties are difficult to come by, but for some reason, the Mets were not as enamored with him as they have led one. I’m not totally against moving top level minor league talent, but if you move one of the biggest names in the minors, you may want to get something more in return than Zambrano who may end up being gem, but shouldn’t the Mets be done looking for diamonds in the rough and maybe get some proven talent. You can talk to me about Zambrano’s BAA and his mid 90’s heater, look at his WHIP.

Here is a look from a Daily News article (or was it Newsday…does it really matter?):

The big picture is the Mets’ assemblage of arms with Benson, Zambrano, Fortunato, the recently signed Cuban prodigy Alay Soler, and the No. 1 pick Phillip Humber. In the No. 1 pitchers park in baseball, this has always been the staple for Met success, going all the way back to Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan.

Here’s the way one scout summed it up yesterday: “This is one time the Mets made the best of their hyped prospects and traded them at the height of their value. The Yankees have been doing that for years.”

I hear where they are coming from. Rick Peterson was on WFAN stating a large part of the reasoning behind the deals. The Mets brass felt that their window to win would be as soon as 2005 and 2006. Realistically, they figure that pitchers coming up through high school to the majors need about 500 innings before they reach the majors. Matt Peterson was figured to be MLB ready by 2007 and Kazmir may have been major league ready by 2006. However, a rookie pitcher would most likely need a year or two of seasoning before they will be really effective. So by that logic, Kazmir would not be an impact until 2007 at the earliest and Matt Peterson would not be a huge impact until 2008 at the earliest. By the organization’s estimation, that was just too long. They Mets still have some decent arms and Humber and Petit would still be considered amongst the most promising in all of the minor leagues so they still have some arms in the stable. It is an interesting outlook and a truly bold move on the Mets behalf. The truth of the matter is, this will not be registered as a success or failure until Peterson and Kazmir actually reach the majors and make an impact. We may not have to wait too soon for that to happen as the Devil Rays may have Kazmir in the majors in September 2004 and in the rotation in 2005. I still feel like they could have netted better pitchers with the talent they gave up, but Rick Peterson and Jim Duquette feel like these guys have the tools and are at a point they would wish Kazmir and Peterson would be at the height of their career. So they decided to go with proven with upside vs. unproven with upside. The Kazmir deal really floored me. The Mets truly had a love affair with Zambrano and it will be interesting to see how effective he will be and the numbers he puts up in 2005 after a chance to work with Rick Peterson. But to give up on a guy like Kazmir who could pitch in the majors right now in a relief role is strange. I do not believe Kazmir was as far away from the majors as they are saying. If they had other reasons fine, but do not pass on BS. There are plenty of good arms on the market in the off-season that would not have cost them Kazmir who are better than Zambrano at this point.

In Peterson We Trust?

Rick Peterson’s fingerprints were all over these deals. He has been infatuated with Victor Zambrano and has heavily factored into the Benson deal. He wanted to give up the Mets two most prized arms for major leaguers who have yet to distinguish themselves besides having ‘tools’. He also had an obvious heavy influence on the draft. Matt Durkin was selected as the second pick despite a player like BJ Szymanski being available. BJ is a toolsy outfielder with a tons of ability and upside. Durkin is a guy who no one is high on but was a highly touted pitcher in his first two years of college but not really any longer besides the fact the Mets already had a deep farm system in terms of pitching. A pitching coach is going to favor pitching, but at some point, other needs have to be addressed. The Mets would have gotten a few quality arms without Durkin and that pick may have been served better to strengthen other areas like the outfield. After these two deals and the second pick of the draft, I am left wondering if Peterson has too much influence. It is good to respect his views on things, but he is kind of looking like pitching coach and GM. I’ve been drinking the Peterson Kool-Aid, but right now I’m scratching my head. Does he have too much say at this point?

All of the above crap aside, the one thing that is certain is that the Metropolitans need to bolster their offense in some large way in the off season. The fact that they will be five starters deep will hardly matter if they cannot score enough runs to support them. The bullpen was partially addressed by getting Fortunado in the deal, but he is a question mark as he is 29 and still in AAA. He is still a long way off for being something to bank on and the Mets need to grab a stud so Looper has a legitimate set-up man that can be counted on. The Mets are not far away and if they show the cajones in the off-season that they showed when they made their deals this past weekend, they can make some noise. By mortgaging out their young guns, they poised themselves for a 2005 run at the title by putting together one of the more imposing rotations 1 through 5 in the league. If they can put together an imposing offense and solid pen, the Mets may have a shot at good things.

The moves they made are a far cry from horrible, in fact they may actually end up being good, but right now they are kind of head scratchers to me. I thought Benson was not 100% necessary at this time and Zambrano could have been had for less. If Benson was not picked up, Peterson could have been a centerpiece in the Zambrano deal with more added to it.

  • Anna Benson is already proving to be quite the quote machine. I think she’ll provide a few gems over the course of time Kris will be a part of the Mets.

    “Each Player has his own ritual, and Kris’ is no sex when he pitches,” she said in May/June issue of Player Magazine.

    “I hate it . There’s no scientific proof that sex is going to hurt your pitching performance,” she continued. “I like having sex with Kris. We’ve had some issues and pretty nasty fights over the issue.”

  • Beltran to stay in Houston? Well he is sending out signals he may be open to the idea.

    "I don't want to sign here if it means they have to start getting rid of guys," he said. "If they sign me, they have to sign Lance Berkman, too. If they sign me, they have to sign Roy Oswalt and Adam Everett. Those guys are our team. I look around our clubhouse and see a lot of good players. If we stay together, we can win."

    It would certainly be a coup for the Astros to steal him from the clutches of the Evil Empire or the Boston Red Sox. Maybe Beltran to the Yankees is not as automatic as widely believed.

  • Houston may be interested in Don Baylor for their managerial position. However, a promotion from hitting coach to manager on the Met is not our of the realm of possibilities.

  • RIP Bob Murphy.


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