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

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Does Piazza to the Angels Make Sense?

The Mike Piazza rumors are certainly interesting because the Angels are a team that Mike would most likely consider approving a trade too and the Angels also have two somewhat attractive packages in either Jose Guillen/Jarrod Washburn or Darren Erstad/Jose Guillen. The Mets could fill two of their needs with this trade. However, neither Erstad nor Washburn excite me. Washburn posted career best numbers in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series and his ERA has gone up significantly in each season since then from 3.15 to 4.43 to 4.64 after a string of three successful years. While he has maintained a consistent K/9 innings over his career and he still allows too many balls in play. The Mets have enough guys that have a mediocre K/9 and they need a strikeout guy in the rotation. I just think there are better options on the free agent market and the fact that he is a lefty is a plus but I hate when people get caught up on that issue. For instance, Matt Clement held lefties to a .234 BAA and righties to a .224 BAA in 2004. Campare that to Washburn's .225 BAA for lefties and .283 BAA for righties in 2004. There are many more righties than lefties in the majors so who you would you rather have? For me, the Mets could do better than Washburn. As for Erstad, his body has taken a lot of punishment from his Lenny Dykstra style of play in center field over the years. He has played 192 games in the last two years after being healthy his entire career. In 2004 he went on the DL on May 8th until June 16th for a hamstring injury and he missed most of 2003 with a hamstring injury as well. On top of it all, he added the Mets to the list teams he could not be traded to in November of 2003. Does anyone know if he could even be traded to the Mets?

From an ESPN article in November of 2003 on Erstad:

Why is it indicative of the Mets loss of perspective to even contemplate trading for him? After getting off to a decent start to his career in 1997 and 1998, Erstad had a miserable 1999 season. He followed this up with an amazing year that has proven to be so completely out of context with the rest of his career it looks as though it was channeled to him by a spiritual medium from some long-dead 1930s ballplayer.

Darin Erstad has been an incredibly mediocre hitter other than his fluke 2000 season. Since then, he has done nothing to warrant the kind of money he makes (over $7 million a season), posting OPS numbers in the .600s and low .700s. What is more, he missed a good portion of 2003 with a hamstring injury. That the Mets think he is what they need to start moving up the ladder again is disturbing, but, given what they've had roaming their outfield for the last five years, it's no wonder they've lost sight of what a quality outfielder looks like.

Why I do think that is bit overly harsh on Darren since I think he is a quality baseball player, he would not come without serious question marks. Which player would the Mets get? Well if history repeats, then the answer is the bad version of Erstad....at least in 2005, 2006 should be the good one. Check out the strange pattern.

1999 .253/.308/.374
2000 .355/.409/.541
2001 .258/.331/.360
2002 .283/.309/.333
2003 .252/.309/.333
2004 .295/.346/.400

He has not hit over .260 in any odd year except for 1997. For the record I don't believe he is cursed in odd years or something, he is just not consistent, which is my point. For $16.5 million dollars for a guy who could be big letdown, I'd rather have Piazza and another defensive specialist at first. I like Erstad for his hard nosed play and his Gold Glove at first, but I see more potential negatives than positives with him. Doug Miadljalrjeoahdlkfjaldjnm,neuou398342093ka.dnf.a is out there and should be available for a trade. If you are going to get a slick fielding lefty, his .231 average in 2004 and the $3.75 million dollar salary in 2005 tells me he may not cost too much. He also is not on contract past 2005 (he has a small buyout on his option) and is less of investment and therefore less of a risk for the Mets. Despite the fact that Guillen is a malcontent, I'm not 100% against him. For a one year contract he may be worth the risk if nothing else presents itself, however, I think the Mets can do better than Washburn and Erstad. If you move Piazza, there should be a pretty damn good option to replace him if this move is not a precursor to a run at Beltran or some other big bat not named Sammy Sosa. He will still give you 20 homers out of the catcher’s position and dealing for Erstad or Washburn does not present a significant upgrade from other possible moves that do not necessitate the Mets creating a hole at catcher by dealing Mike. Can the Mets rest their hopes in the notion that Jason Phillips regains his 2003 form? Or that Vance can hold up over the course of a full season? I still think Phillips has value and I think he can be a solid major leaguer, but if he can be spun into one of the games premier set up men (see below), then by all means, he can be shown the door. He is not irreplaceable I have my sights set on Ramon Hernandez after the 2005 season anyway. The bottom line is that Mike Piazza should be a Met in 2005 unless he can be moved in a total salary dump which is about as likely as George Steinbrenner telling Brian Cashman that he needs to slash some payroll so his employees can have dental benefits.

* * *

  • This is some crazy film from the fighting in Iraq that has been going on in Fallujah. Hard to imagine what it is like actually being there.

  • The new Mets mailbag is out and Kevin Czerwinski is increasingly becoming a favorite of mine. He successfully quelled my fears about Jose Reyes being traded for the time being and he has this to say about the outfield situation:

    The Mets are exploring several options for right field at the moment, the least palatable of which is acquiring Sammy Sosa.

    He is not enthused about Sosa, but he is not enthused about Ordonez either.

  • I think we all knew this was coming. In all likelihood Al Leiter has pitched his last game as a Met. I hope the breakup will not be messy because it would sure be nice to have him on the brand new Mets network and take Fran Healy out of the equation.

  • If Billy Beane really wants Jason Phillips, would he consider that a starting point in negotiations for Octavio Dotel, who is unlikely to be wearing an A's uniform in 2005?

  • Sosa is basically being fitted for his blue and orange threads at this point. Why couldn't the union say no friggin' way to dropping that clause in his contract that kicks in 2006 if he is traded? Why Minaya would want to invite such a primadonna into the Mets clubhouse that thinks he is bigger than the game is beyond me. Talk about the possibilities of a 24 + 1 team. Is it just me, or does it seem like Steve Phillips is actually calling the shots behind Omar?

    In spite of all these rumors and the union saying he can opt out of his kicker clause, Sammy is happy to be a Cub and expects to stay in Chicago. If that is the case, then who is pursuing this issue with the union?

  • Alfonso Soriano is such and ideal example of a team player. He would do anything to help accommodate whatever team he is on in an attempt to win. Alfonso is such a great figure in the game of baseball today and should be admired by all kids.

  • From Newsday:

    The Mets seem more intent on re-signing free agent Kris Benson, and a baseball official said yesterday that a deal could be completed by the end of this week. Benson is looking for slightly more than the three- year, $21-million offer currently on the table.

  • The Sox are set to host Carl Pavano for visit on Thursday. The article also states that Hanley Ramirez is tearing up the Dominican League and may push the Red Sox to let Cabrera walk and seek a Barry Larkin type guy for a one year deal. Another one of Omar's guys seeking a home cannot be good for us Met fans.

  • Wally fires back. Backman still should have at least been able to play this year out. He was an employed by the team already and nothing was a problem before. Who knows if sensationalism played into this, but I cannot help but feel that Wally Backman got a raw deal.


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