Magglio for 2005
I am not of the group of people that think that 2005 is lost year that should be dedicated to rebuilding with only stop gap players being acquired this off-season. I do think it will be transition year of sorts, but more so for Reyes, Wright, and Diaz to get more acclimated with the major leagues while Petit, Soler, and Humber prepare for major service in late 2005 or 2006. The Mets should be in a position to make a push for 2005 and play in some 'meaningful games' and for that reason, they need to be active players in the free agent market for guys that can help them not only in 2005, but 2006, 2007, and in some cases beyond when they could be considered contenders. The Mets need to bring in a big bat and top of the rotation starter. As I stated yesterday, Carlos Beltran will really not be a viable option for Mets. His cost will just be too high to get him here and he probably will not really want to come here. The Mets really need to concentrate on Magglio Ordonez. There is still a solid foundation in Shea if everyone can remain healthy with young stars in the making already here. There needs to be mix of established stars with the Mets young players and they could really surprise people.
Magglio is not high a lot fans wish list for a few main reasons, and all that have some merit.
Argument #1: Magglio is too old. He will be 31 on opening to start the 2005 season and the Mets need to get younger.
Magglio is not an average player. Guys that are stars in this league that are not at the catching position do not burn out at 33. They can be very effective until their mid-30's and beyond. Magglio would most certainly not be getting any deal over five years and if the Mets may be able to ink him for four years being there should be some people scared off by his knee injury, then the risk is not that high. Try a four year deal with an automatic option based on at-bats to give him a contract he would like. There is no reason to think Ordonez will not a productive player in his mid 30's.
Argument #2: Magglio is coming off a serious knee injury and there is no ETA when he'll be back or fully recover.
This is what doctor's are for. He initially got his knee surgery and his knee did not respond well to rehab and he was eventually shut down for the season. He went to Austria without letting the White Sox know to get more surgery on the knee. GM Kenny Williams said he would not be ready by spring training and Magglio rebutted that notion and said he will be ready. I guess no one knows, but Magglio will need to prove his health before anyone is going to sign him. If he is still a huge risk, like Garciaparra, he may have to accept a one year deal to prove his health. In either case, the Mets should jump on him.
Argument #3: Magglio played in a hitter's park and his offensive numbers are slightly skewed because of it.
There is no doubt that he hits better at home than he does on the road. However, he still has an average over .300 at home and on the road over the past three years and hits doubles at the same frequency with the homeruns stepping down some on the road. Magglio gives you a bunch of doubles per year in addition to homeruns. He has been an extra base hit machine as he hit 34/30 (doubles/homeruns), 34/32, 40/31, 47/38, and 46/29 in 1999 through 2003. His average did not dip below .300 in any of those years and he managed to pound out 117, 126, 113, 135, and 99 RBIs in consecutive years prior to his injury. If he comes to Shea, he will still be good for close to 30 homeruns and pound over 40 doubles. If Magglio could give .300/.370/.540 with 27-30 homeruns, 40 doubles, and 110 RBIs, then he would be a welcome addition to my team and better offensively than anyone the Mets ran out since Darryl Strawberry.
Argument #4: Magglio has a new agent by the name of Scott Boras.
I have nothing really on this one because I agree he is evil, but the market will determine his value and I just do not think there is a ton of interest. The White Sox and the Dodgers are the only teams that may have a fit for his service with San Francisco and the Cubs as outside shots. The Mets would not have that much serious competition in pursuit of Magglio to drive his price up so Boras may not be able to drive his price up sky high.
Since 1999, Magglio Ordonez has been one of the most consistent ballplayers in the majors. The guy hits for average, power, knocks in runners, and can field his position. Since 2002, Magglio is batting .319/.397/.584 with runners in scoring position with 195 RBIs in 404 at-bats. That is almost an RBI per 2 at-bats. With runners on, he is batting .321/.384/575 with 233 RBIs in 680 at-bats. Magglio is an accomplished hitter that hits in key situations and will be substantially cheaper and easier to attain than Carlos Beltran. With the hoopla surrounding his injury and the lack of overall interest in teams willing to cough up money for him a contract for a few years, he may just be a bargain. The Mets will have to do their due diligence and investigate his health and make a determination from there. He will not approach the money he made this past season at $14,000,000 due to the questions looming and the Mets should pounce. I guess it helps to understand what the injury he sustained and the resulting bone marrow edema means.
Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in cells, tissues or cavities of the body, and bone-marrow edema typically is caused by trauma to the affected area. In this case, the trauma was caused by Ordonez's outfield collision with second baseman Willie Harris during a game May 19 against the Cleveland Indians.
Dr. Ingrid Kjellin, an orthopedic radiologist at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center, one of the West Coast's leaders in sports medicine, said that surgery to alleviate bone-marrow edema usually needs six to eight weeks of recovery time. She suggested that a majority of the time, the injury isn't considered career-threatening.
Kjellin wasn't familiar with Ordonez's situation, but she was making general comments about the injury from experience with bone-marrow edema from sports injuries. Kjellin is highly regarded for reading MRI exams and diagnosing injuries.
"If there was surgery, that usually means there were tiny, nondisplaced fractures," she said. "If the patient had surgery, it could indicate mild damage to bone."
So while is injury is bad, there is strong reason to believe he will be 100% by spring and fully recovered without lingering effects. I am not hoping this affects the salary he commands in the free agent market, but if it does, I would not mind if the Mets benefited from something for once. Magglio is a star and the Mets need a big bat for the #3 spot in the order. If the price is right he'll fit right into the Mets short term and long term plans. When his contract would be due to expire after signing this off-season is when the Mets will be looking to re-up David Wright and Jose Reyes to long term deals. He fits into the Mets plan for the next five years and will be effective when the Mets are going to be jockeying for the lead in the NL East in 2006 and beyond. The Mets have some young arms that are going to contribute over that time with some great, young positions players. By trading for Benson and Zambrano in the off season, the Mets made a commitment to being competitive for the next few years while they are on the team they need to stick to that. Health is a key issue in their future success and there is no reason to think the Mets will not take significant steps forward in the upcoming season over their past three seasons. The Mets have every reason in the world to look at Magglio to anchor down the lineup for the next four to five years. Besides, if not him, then who? I am skeptical of Drew because he will be asking for a lot of money and has only been healthy for one season. After the 2005 season the best name out there is Carlos Lee (who I think the ChiSox will try and retain despite recent rumors) and after the 2006 season the best name out there is Torii Hunter. If there were other prospects on the horizon, that is one thing, but this is the year for the Mets to bring in a heavy hitting outfielder. They passed on Vlad last year and they need to come back with a prize this off season.
If you were Omar Minaya and were given a reasonably significant payroll increase for player salaries, what would be your first five priorities for 2005?
-- Paul O., Boynton Beach, Fla.
It's difficult to say where you should begin, but I would like to see the Mets get a bona fide first baseman.
I would also not count on having Victor Zambrano in the starting rotation next year, simply because of his suspect elbow. And Al Leiter throws too many pitches and doesn't pitch deep enough into games to be an integral part of the rotation.
Trading Cliff Floyd also seems like the best thing for him and the Mets. His history of injuries would make him better suited for a spot in the American League as a designated hitter, where there is much less stress. Moving Floyd would also give New York the opportunity to go out and get a big bat for left field.
Victor Diaz should be the right fielder next year. The kid has shown he can hit, was better than advertised in the field, and has just enough confidence to handle New York. Having him in right field could be a reality if the club does get the big bopper in left field or first base.
Finally, I'd try and move Mike Piazza. Yes, he's an icon and a fan favorite, but the Mets can upgrade behind the plate, save some money and begin to reshape their team with David Wright and Jose Reyes as the marquee players.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter
How about that vote of confidence for Victor Zambrano in 2005? I know it is just speculation, but this really necessitates the Mets picking up one or two starters this year. If Victor comes back healthy, then move Trachsel, but to go into next year without Zambrano and not picking up a free agent pitcher leaves you with Glavine, Benson (if he actually signs, Trachsel, Heilman, and Seo. Is anyone interested in that?
Randolph and Jaramillo remain the Mets' front-runners. Insiders believe Randolph is Minaya's preference, but the GM may have reservations because of doubts expressed by baseball executives in other organizations.
I wonder what doubts were expressed about Randolph?