If there is not an unwritten law that you should not trade the farm system when you are sitting in dead last place, there should be. Everyone knows how much I wanted Manny Ramirez here and how much I would have liked to have Alfsono Soriano at the right price, but what is the right price? The Mets were parting with Yusmeiro Petit, Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman, Mike Cameron, and most likely one or two other players or prospects in return for Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez. John Hart was asking for more players than the Red Sox were first reportedly asking for Manny Ramirez and if that does not illustrate how out of his mind Hart is, I do not know what does.
A player of Manny Ramirez's caliber is going to cost a lot. He is a future Hall of Famer that still has plenty of RBIs left in his bat and was going to cost a ton of talent for any team looking to trade for him. As much as I think the Mets are one masher from making the playoffs, it was a risk. It was a risk because it makes the Mets a competitive team this year, but this year's NL race is full of flawed teams that would not be sniffing the playoffs had this been just about any other year or if they were in the American League. The first place team in the NL West is three games below .500. The Mets are in it largely because this year is an anomaly. They are sitting at one game over .500 on August 1st and only four games out of the Wild Card. If the Mets miss the mark this year, they literally could of set the franchise back ten years by giving up what little premium talent they had in the Minors.
Do not get me wrong, if they picked up Manny, they would have been a much better team for the rest of the season and the three more years of his contract. At one point, the Red Sox were giving the Mets $15,000,000 in cash which would basically replace Piazza's salary after it comes off at the end of the year and the Mets would still have some wiggle room. However, did the gamble make sense? As of right now, I am very down on this team after going 2 and 5 on this last road trip after getting to within 3.5 games of first place in the NL East and one game off the Wild Card lead. With Manny, they are better, but would they have been good enough to warrant dumping just about all of ther best prospects amongst some valuable Major League players also?
This year marks the year that some general managers got a bit too big for britches and seemingly did more harm for their teams than good. John Hart was willing to move Alfonso Soriano and had a motivated trade partner in the Mets, but for some reason tried to wrench more out of the Mets than any other team basically costing any deal that could have been made. The Cubs and the Twins were interested in Soriano and were the most serious interested potential trading partners along with the Mets. The Rangers asked for Felix Pie and Rich Hill. For those of you not familiar with those two, Pie is comparable to Lastings Milledge and was rated as the 31st best Minor League prospect while Milledge was rated the 11th best prospect and Rich Hill is a 25 year pitcher that was historically a starter, but has been doing some bullpen work and more recently been starting for Kerry Wood and owns a 3.78 ERA. He had a 4.24 career ERA in the Minor Leagues coming into this year. He has great stuff and tops out 93 mph on the gun, but projects as a reliever. The Twins were being asked for Kyle Lohse, Brett Boone, and one or two Minor League pitchers. The Rangers were trying to nab Francisco Liriano, a lefty who can throw 97 mph, but the Twins were reluctant to make a move like that being that they rely so much on their farm. So what do they ask the Mets for? Cameron, Milledge, and Petit. There were other proposed deals on the table, but they were all just as absurd being that Mike Cameron is a gold glove outfielder and a solid player and the Rangers were asking for more premium players as well and a larger package by far than they were asking from any other team and not just by a little.
Lamar and Hart kept saying they did not need to make a deal, but what are they left with now? Lamar's demands of Hanley Ramirez and John Lester from the Red Sox for Aubrey Huff and Yusmeiro Petit and possibly another prospect for Danys Baez seems borderline insane. The crazy thing is, Lamar at one point was rumored to be getting Milledge, Petit, Anibel Sanchez, and Kelly Shoppach for Baez and Huff. A deal that was so utterly ridiculous, it was mind boggling and incomprehensible. A year after the Kazmir for Zambrano deal, the Mets were on the verge of dealing Yusmiero Petit and probably more for Danys Baez. Ultimately the Red Sox were losing a lot and wanted more from the Mets and the deal just did not make sense for the Red Sox unless they raped the Mets, but how well advised would the Mets have been for paying a kings ransom and what effect would it have had long term?
Ron Villone was dealt for some mid level pitching prospects, Shawn Chacon was dealt for basically nothing, and Kyle Farnsworth was traded for Roman Colon and Zach Minor. Omar would have been better off making deals of that ilk, but Minaya was in a tough place. Teams for some reason held the Mets at ransom and Omar could not make a fair deal that made sense organizationally. Ultimately Omar did the right thing by cutting things off when they got out of control and he can revive all these deals in the off season when things will be more reasonable. LaMar was trying to prove something and could have had some excellent prospects for Huff and Baez, but instead has two vets that will be there for one more year maximum and probably will not get more value than the Mets and Red Sox almost gave him. LaMar should be out of a job and if he is not, I cannot see many GMs being motivated to deal with him. As for Hart, he successfully made his rotation thinner by trading the under performing Chan Ho Park for Phil Nevin, but at least Park was a warm body to throw out there every fifth day. Kenny Rogers' deal with the Devil is going to end soon and Hart could have had a few good pitchers that were under his control with manageable salaries, but instead he has the worst rotation in baseball until Rogers comes back and may have the worst rotation even when he comes back. You have to give credit to Omar for trying and he was willing to give up a lot, but prices just spiraled out of control and the deals ceased to make sense organizationally. As much as I wanted a bat and would not have been upset if the Mets parted with some of their top prospects, there is a breaking point.
Enos (Roxboro): No big names will be traded today, my cat just told me.
Sonny W. (South Bend, Indiana): What kind of razor do you use Gary?
He was asking Gary Gillete that question.
- Norfolk beat Columbus 8-0. Anderson Hernandez went 1 for 5 as his average dipped to .290 and Eric Valent went 2 for 3 with three runs scored, a walk, two homers, and four RBIs. Neal Musser went six innings of two hit ball and walked one, while striking out five. Heath Bell finished the game up by tossing three inning of one hit ball and struck out two.
- Akron beat Binghamton 9-3. Aarom Baldiris went 3 for 4 with a double, a homer, and two RBIs and Brett Harper went 1 for 4 with a homerun.
- St. Lucie lost to Sarasota 6-3. Grant Psomas went 3 for 4 with a run scored.
- Hagerstown had a double header with Kannapolis and both games were cancelled.
- Brooklyn lost to Lowell 2-0. Nick Evans went 2 for 3. Bobby Parnell went five innings, giving up three hits, no runs, two walks, and struck out eight.
- Bluefield beat Kingsport 3-2. Sean Henry went 2 for 4 with an RBIs.