Alright, it's been too long since I proposed a convoluted trade and I usually do not like to do them for obvious reasons. It is hard for us normal, non-baseball people to value prospects properly, not skew the trade in our home team's favor, and properly gauge the payroll/cash considerations involved as well. However, I'm bored so here we go.....
This deal kind of spun out of the comments section yesterday and it involves three teams that are seemingly open to potentially dealing these respective players.
Mike Cameron (from NYM)
Jose Cruz Jr. (from TB)
$4,000,000 (from NYM)
Aubrey Huff (from TB)
Danys Baez (from TB)
Devil Rays Get:
Conor Jackson (from AZ)
Matt Lindstrom (from NYM)
Koyie Hill (from AZ)
Before anyone gets their panties in a bundle, let me explain. The Devil Rays and Vincent Namoli are always looking to cut some payroll. Aubrey Huff costs money, but he produces big time and only makes $12,000,000 over the next two seasons. However, $12,000,000 dollars over the next two seasons to a team that had spent $49,186,667 over the past two seasons is a lot. If they stay steady at about $30,000,000 for the next two seasons and spend $60,000,000 overall in 2005 and 2006, the Mets could help them shave off 28% of what they would have paid. If you take Huff's $4.5 mill salary in 2005 and his $7.5 mill salary in 2006 with Danys Baez's $3.5 mill salary and his $1 mill buyout, the Devil Rays can save $16,500,000 over the next two years. If they can move Cruz to the D-Backs, that is a savings of almost 33% off what they would have spent over the next two years. It looks like they Devil Rays are getting the short end of the stick, but I believe that Namoli and Lamar would be open to any move that can save them that much money.
Danny Baez had a good year in '04 and is worth the salary he is getting paid as a closer, but salary relief is the name of the game in Tampa Bay and they really do not need him. He'll be long gone before they are good and Jesus Colome and his 100 mph heater can be downright nasty and he might as well start taking his knocks in the closer's role now. Lance Carter proved to be a solid set up man in '04 and can close if needed as well. So, can the D-Rays live without Baez? Absolutely. As for Huff, he'll be long gone before they are good as well. Why not get something back for him before he just leaves? In return, the D-Rays get an outfielder who can also play first base, which is a need for them organizationally and could be ready as early as late 2005 or more likely early 2006, a power arm in Matt Lindstrom that is an intriguing prospect, and a guy in Koyie Hill to fill in a catching void as big as Star Jones. The D-Rays are rumored to be looking for a major league starter, preferably a pitcher, and two top-notch prospects. Hill satisfies one need, though not a pitcher, as a starter since he has nothing left to prove at AAA and was regarded as one of the top catching prospects in the minors over the past few years, Jackson and Lindstrom are solid prospects, and the D-Rays save a boatload.
The D-Backs get their centerfielder that they have been looking and one that is a legit 30/30 threat in the BOB (3rd best park to hit homeruns in overall) and a switch hitting right fielder that can keep the seat warm until 2006 when Carlos Quentin should be ready that could also push 30 homeruns in the right park. The D-Backs also deal prospects from positions of strengths as Chris Snyder looks like a better catching prospect than Koyie Hill and the D-Backs have plenty of outfielders when you add Scott Hairston in the mix, who projects better to be an outfielder unless he fixes his fielding woes at second base. If this ever got done, a lineup of Luis Gonzalez, Jose Cruz Jr., Troy Glaus, Chad Tracy, Mike Cameron, Chris Snyder, Alex Cintron, and Scott Hairston does not look so bad and has a lot of youth there with some more on the way.
The Mets satisfy two needs in getting a right fielder with some pop that can bat fourth and a legitimate guy to set up games for Looper and one that can even close should Looper falter or succumb to an injury. They add on a minimal amount of payroll in case they need to thrown a million or so to the desert with Cameron to help fray some of the $14 million owed to him over the next two years. If the Mets throw the D-Backs $4,000,000 for Cammy over the next two seasons, he only costs them an average of $5,000,000 per year and only $4,000,000 in 2005. I know money is tight right now and adding $7,500,000 more in '05 seems like a lot for Arizona to absorb, but it makes them a better team. This all would leave the Mets with about a $108 million dollar payroll with a very, very solid and well rounded team with their bullpen questions somewhat answered by getting another reliable arm.
Sure a guy can be added or substituted, but you get the idea on the main cogs. The Mets could switch out Matt Lindstrom and add Shawn Bowman to upgrade the package on their end to Tampa Bay, the Mets can toss in Jae Seo or Matt Ginter as a warm body who they can stick into the rotation who can resemble a major league pitcher, the D-Backs can switch out Koyie Hill for the player formally known as Adriano Rosario, The D-Backs could add in another mid-level prospects with the Mets throwing in money, etc. Will this ever happen? There is not a chance in hell, but it sure makes sense to me.
Ordoñez, a three-time All-Star and the last big-name free agent of this baseball off season, is on the verge of joining the Tigers for a deal estimated to be for five years and $75 million, Newsday has learned. Similar to the contract to which the Tigers signed catcher Ivan Rodriguez last off season, it is voidable if Ordoñez misses a number of games with the meniscus tear in his left knee that torpedoed his 2004 season.
It seems like a lot of money for a lot of years, but it is voidable based upon his meniscus tear so there is nothing really to complain about. It really gives the Tigers the lowest risk possible with their investment since they will not be on the hook for any cash should he go the way of Mo Vaughn.