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

Monday, December 27, 2004

To Trade or Not to Trade

Obviously most Mets fans were outraged when Scott Kazmir was dealt at the last second on the trading deadline. It was not so much the fact that Kazmir was traded, but it was for who he was traded for. I'll bet that Zambrano would have been available and very cheap during the off season and would have no way come close to costing what he did. That is before the injury and him missing the end of the season. With him due to make $2 million to $3 million in arbitration and his bum elbow, he'd cost almost nothing to take that headache off the Devil Rays' plate who are looking to cut payroll any place they can.

I'm like most of the Mets fans in that I like to watch home grown players come up through the system and succeed. When we see David Wright and Jose Reyes on the left side of the infield there is certain level of pride that Yankee fans don't get nowadays since they have left behind the art of crafting a good team with players from their system. They still have Jeter, Posada, Williams, etc, but there has been a shift in organizational philosophy over the years and they have become a free agent eating monster. The days of them bringing up rookies are over for now. But for every David Wright and Jose Reyes, there are hundreds of guys who just burn out without even getting to the majors or making in impact.

Here is the list of all the guys who were listed as one of the top five prospects in the Mets farm system since Baseball American started ranking the organization’s top prospects:

Aaron Heilman, Al Shirley, Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, Anthony Young, Arnold Gooch, Bill Pulsipher, Billy Traber, Blaine Beatty, Bobby Jones, Brian Cole, Brook Fordyce, Butch Huskey, Calvin Schiraldi, Carl Everett, Chris Donnels, Craig Repoz, D.J. Dozier, Darryl Strawberry, Dave Proctor, Dave West, David Wright, Derek Wallace, Dwight Gooden, Ed Yarnall, Edgardo Alfonzo, Enrique Cruz, Geoff Goetz, Grant Roberts, Gregg Jefferies, Jae Weong Seo, Jay Payton, Jeff Bittiger, Jeromy Burnitz, Jesus Sanchez, John Gibbons, Jose Reyes, Juan Acevedo, Julian Vasquez, Julio Valera, Justin Huber, Keith Miller, Kevin Elster, Kevin Mitchell, Kirk Presley, Lastings Milledge, Lenny Dykstra, Matt Peterson, Octavio Dotel, Pat Strange, Pat Strange, Paul Wilson, Paul Wilson, Pete Schourek, Preston Wilson, Randy Myers, Rey Ordonez, Rick Ownbey, Ron Darling, Scott Kazmir, Shawn Abner, Stan Jefferson, Terrence Long, Terry Bross, Timo Perez, Todd Hundley, and Wally Whitehurst.

So out of 67 people on that list, there are only nine on that list that I classify as people that cannot be traded. I did include Kazmir and Milledge on that list, but in ten years I could look back and lump them in with the likes of Wally Whitehurst and David West. Some others are nice to have, but I'm not crying about losing them and some already did bring back some valuable players while others brought back some bad players. But in retrospect, there is not much going on. At one point, every guy on this list was a highly rated prospect I'm sure back in 1986 Kevin Elster and Shawn Abner where some of the hottest prospects around and I'm sure some hardcore fans were waiting for them to come up through they system too. Yes, others like Kazmir, Gooden, and Strawberry were the cream of the crop and way above most of those players, but the other guys were obviously no slouches and were highly regarded at some point.

With the next round of young guys coming up through the system we'll have the top talents of the farm system in Lastings Milledge, Gabby Hernandez, Ambriorix Concepcion, Shawn Bowman, Aarom Baldiris, Victor Diaz, Yusmeiro Petit, Alay Soler, etc. as the next round of trading chips or future contributors to the Mets. I am definitely guilty of wanting to hold on to every promising prospect but the fact is dealing guys like Peterson and Huber are not a big deal long run. Besides, how many of those guys I listed above will make an impact on a major league team? The chances are two, maybe three at best. Even dealing Kazmir may turn out to not be a big deal. He would not be the first highly touted arm to fail nor would he be the last. Where the Mets have gone wrong with most of their trades is that they trade for guys who are over the hill, stars on the decline, or plain old just not maximizing their returns. They do not use the chips they decide to use that wisely and do not extract the most use out of them like countless other teams seemingly do.

This also comes down to free agent signings that will cost draft picks. Obviously you cannot give up your draft picks every season, but sometimes you need too. The Mets got four capable arms in last year's draft and this year they will retain their first round pick, if the Mets are eyeing someone, they need to go after them as they did with Pedro Martinez. At his point, the Mets only gave up a 59th pick to get the best free agent pitcher on the market. After Carlos Beltran, Derek Lowe, and Odalis Perez sign, it will be a 60th pick (assuming Phil Humber and Jeff Neimann will sign and Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew don’t) and if they can manage to sign Beltran they will be giving up an 88th pick as well. Arbitration should not get in the way as those are two relatively high draft picks and acceptable casualties for the Mets right now. You can point out that David Wright was a supplemental pick and this guy was a second round pick all you want, but take a look at all of the past Met top picks. It's OK to gamble and lose a pick or two in 2005's draft when the Mets have their first round locked up. They can make up for it by making some risky deals like Boston when they signed 12th-round pick Mike Rozier for $1.575 million and the Angels who signed 18th-rounder Mark Trumbo for $1.425 million. They were both supposed to be top tier talents who were going to go to college so teams passed on them. The Mets took a similar risk with Brad Meyers this past draft and lost out. If they miss out on their 2nd and 3rd round picks, they should have some extra cash to gamble with in later rounds.

The Mets farm system could stand to have as many picks and as many prospects as they can get. However, if a free agent can make a huge impact on the team, fire away. The odds are against anyone they draft. I am by no means saying they should follow the Yankees model of business by relying solely on free agents or be like the Giants and simply give them away every year, but they could stand to spend wisely when they need too and sacrifice when they need to. As for the guys in the farm system, most of the guys that make us fans salivate that are in the minors will not shake out in the long run. Some will, but that's the Mets job in figuring out who they should hold onto and who they should spin off via trade to strengthen the team now. As much as many of us do not want to see our top prospects sent away, it probably makes sense to trade some of the guys and make some calculated gambles and hope they turn out right and hope no 35 year olds are traded for in return.

History of Mets top 10 prospects according to Baseball America:

2004

1. Kazuo Matsui
2. Scott Kazmir
3. David Wright
4. Matt Peterson
5. Lastings Milledge
6. Justin Huber
7. Bob Keppel
8. Jeremy Giffiths
9. Victor Diaz
10. Craig Brazell

2003

1. Jose Reyes, ss
2. Scott Kazmir, lhp
3. Aaron Heilman, rhp
4. David Wright, 3b
5. Justin Huber, c
6. Matt Peterson, rhp
7. Pat Strange, rhp
8. Jaime Cerda, lhp
9. Bob Keppel, rhp
10. Craig Brazell, 1b
The Future: New York officials consider Brazell the most promising left-handed hitter they’ve developed since Rico Brogna. He should be a candidate for the big league club in 2004.

If that does not speak volumes about the lackluster performance of the farm system over the years, I'm not sure what does.

2002

1. Aaron Heilman, rhp
2. Alex Escobar, of
3. Jose Reyes, ss
4. Pat Strange, rhp
5. Billy Traber, lhp
6. Jae Weong Seo, rhp
7. David Wright, 3b
8. Grant Roberts, rhp
9. Jaime Cerda, lhp
10. Neal Musser, lhp

2001

1. Alex Escobar, of
2. Pat Strange, rhp
3. Brian Cole, of
4. Timo Perez, of
5. Grant Roberts, rhp
6. Enrique Cruz, 3b/ss
7. Nick Maness, rhp
8. Billy Traber, lhp
9. Tsuyoshi Shinjo, of
10. Dicky Gonzalez, rhp

2000

1. Alex Escobar, of
2. Pat Strange, rhp
3. Grant Roberts, rhp
4. Brian Cole, of
5. Enrique Cruz, ss
6. Lesli Brea, rhp
7. Jorge Toca, of/1b
8. Jason Tyner, of
9. Eric Cammack, rhp
10. Dicky Gonzalez, rhp

1999

1. Alex Escobar, of
2. Octavio Dotel, rhp
3. Grant Roberts, rhp
4. Jae Weong Seo, rhp
5. Terrence Long, of
6. Jorge Luis Toca, of
7. Lesli Brea, rhp
8. Juan LeBron, of
9. Jason Tyner, of
10. Scott Hunter, of

1998

1. Grant Roberts, rhp
2. Ed Yarnall, lhp
3. Preston Wilson, of
4. Geoff Goetz, lhp
5. Jesus Sanchez, lhp
6. Fletcher Bates, of
7. Octavio Dotel, rhp
8. Derek Wallace, rhp
9. Vance Wilson, c
10. Jay Payton, of

1997

1. Jay Payton, of
2. Terrence Long, of
3. Arnold Gooch, rhp
4. Grant Roberts, RHp
5. Derek Wallace, RHp
6. Corey Erickson, 3b
7. Brett Herbison, rhp
8. Preston Wilson, of
9. Pee Wee Lopez, c
10. Octavio Dotel rhp

1996

1. Paul Wilson, rhp
2. Jay Payton, of
3. Rey Ordonez, ss
4. Juan Acevedo, rhp
5. Alex Ochoa, of
6. Preston Wilson, of
7. Terrence Long, of
8. Sean Johnston, lhp
9. Eric Ludwick, rhp
10. Bryon Gainey, 1b

1995

1. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
2. Paul Wilson, rhp
3. Rey Ordonez, ss
4. Edgardo Alfonzo, INF
5. Carl Everett, of
6. Jason Isringhausen, rhp
7. Terrence Long, of/1b
8. Jay Payton, of
9. Kirk Presley, rhp
10. Preston Wilson,, 3b

1994

1. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
2. Preston Wilson, 3b
3. Butch Huskey, 3b
4. Edgardo Alfonzo, ss
5. Kirk Presley, rhp
6. Brook Fordyce, c
7. Jason Isringhausen, rhp
8. Chris Roberts, lhp
9. Quilvio Veras, 2b
10. Mike Welch, rhp

1993

1. Bobby Jones, rhp
2. Jeromy Burnitz, of
3. Brook Fordyce, c
4. Al Shirley, of
5. Butch Huskey, 3b
6. Preston Wilson, 3b
7. Ryan Thompson, of
8. Bill Pulsipher, lhp
9. Edgar Alfonzo, ss
10. Rafael Guerrero, of

1992

1. Todd Hundley, c
2. Jeromy Burnitz, of
3. Anthony Young, rhp
4. Butch Huskey, 3b
5. Julian Vasquez, rhp
6. D.J. Dozier, of
7. Joe Vitko, rhp
8. Tito Navarro, ss
9. Bobby Jones, rhp
10. Brook Fordyce, c

1991

1. Anthony Young, rhp
2. Pete Schourek, lhp
3. Todd Hundley, c
4. D.J. Dozier, of
5. Terry Bross, rhp
6. Brook Fordyce, c
7. Tito Navarro, ss
8. Julio Valera, rhp
9. Alan Zinter, c
10. Jeromy Burnitz, of

1990

1. Julio Valera, rhp
2. Dave Proctor, rhp
3. Chris Donnels, 3b
4. Todd Hundley, c
5. Brook Fordyce, c
6. Terry Bross, rhp
7. Butch Huskey, 3b
8. Terry McDaniel, of
9. Alex Diaz, ss
10. Jamie Roseboro, of

1989

1. Gregg Jefferies, 2b/3b
2. David West, lhp
3. Wally Whitehurst, rhp
4. Terry Bross, rhp
5. Blaine Beatty, lhp
6. Kevin Brown, lhp
7. Mark Carreon, of
8. Kevin Tapani, rhp
9. Brian Givens, lhp
10. Todd Hundley, c

1988

1. Gregg Jefferies, ss
2. Kevin Elster, ss
3. Dave West, lhp
4. Wally Whitehurst, rhp
5. Keith Miller, 2b
6. Todd Welborn, rhp
7. Joaquin Contreras, of
8. Jack Savage, rhp
9. Randy Milligan, 1b
10. Chris Donnels, 3b

1987

1. Gregg Jefferies, ss
2. Randy Myers, lhp
3. Keith Miller, 2b
4. Kevin Elster, ss
5. Craig Repoz, 3b
6. Dave Magadan, 3b
7. Dave West, lhp
8. Reggie Dobie, rhp
9. Marcus Lawton, of
10. Brian Givens, lhp

1986

1. Kevin Elster, ss
2. Shawn Abner, of
3. Stan Jefferson, of
4. Dave West, lhp
5. Randy Myers, lhp
6. Gregg Jefferies, ss/2b
7. Keith Miller, 2b
8. Billy Beane, of
9. Jose Bautista, rhp
10. Reggie Dobie, rhp

1985

1. Calvin Schiraldi, rhp
2. Stan Jefferson, of
3. Shawn Abner, of
4. Randy Myers, lhp
5. Lenny Dykstra, of
6. John Gibbons, c
7. Wes Gardner, rhp
8. John Christensen, of
9. Rick Aguilera, rhp
10. Dave West, lhp

1984

1. Dwight Gooden, rhp
2. Ron Darling, rhp
3. Lenny Dykstra, of
4. John Gibbons, c
5. Kevin Mitchell, 3b
6. Floyd Youmans, rhp
7. Herm Winningham, of
8. Stanley Jefferson, of
9. Eddie Williams, 3b
10. Dave Cochrane, 3b

1983

1. Darryl Strawberry, of
2. Jeff Bittiger, P
3. Ron Darling, rhp
4. Dwight Gooden, rhp
5. Rick Ownbey, P
6. Jose Oquendo, ss
7. Mark Carreon, of
8. Herm Winningham, of
9. Terry Blocker, of
10. Dave Cochrane, 3b

* * *

  • Beltran acknowledged interest from the Astros, Yankees, Mets and Cubs, but said offers have not yet been exchanged during meetings with teams. Last week, Houston brass denied reports it had made a six-year, $96 million offer.

    The Mets began their pursuit late, "but they entered and they are being aggressive," Beltran said. "To this point, they have not made an offer. I believe that we will have a meeting very soon."


    At least we know Omar is going to make a solid effort at taking care of this. The Mets may not be able to sell the win now idea as well as the Yankees, Cubs, and the Astros, but they can certainly point to their farm system as a point of being able to strengthen the team via trades or through players coming up through their farm system. They've seen what the Yankees have run into problems with in that lack of farm system. The Mets and Omar can sell him on a vision of him being the centerpiece piece of the team and building a sustained winner like the Yankees with substantial pieces from their farm with the ability to buy big ticket free agents with their resources and their upcoming cable channel. Anyone that gets him will be overpaying since his true value is about $13 based on similar signings over the past two off seasons but I certainly hope it will be the Mets overpaying. He fits the mold of what they are trying to do better than anyone else on the market. Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Diaz is certainly not the worst group of four players to try and start dynasty around with some very good, young pitching on the horizon.

  • In a move out of left field, the Indians are on the cusp of signing Kevin Millwood. Despite the fact he had an off year, he could rebound to pitch well and could be a very good pickup that strengthens their bullpen. For me, he's their #4 and a pretty good one at that. Think he's happy he passed up that 3 year $30 million dollar offer prior to the 2004 season?

  • According to ESPN Insider, the Yankees are offering six or seven years at $15 million to Carlos Beltran.

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