Take Two Crazy Pills and Call Me In the Morning
Everyone else does it, so why can't I?
What to do with Xavier Nady? That is the big question. Lastings Milledge has been playing so well that he has opened enough eyes to consider keeping him around even when Xavier Nady returns to the team. How is that going to work? I'm not sure exactly, but Nady going to the bench serves no purpose. For one, it does not make sense to put a guy who was on track for about forty homeruns on the bench to be a utility player and they just picked up a guy who would be manning the same utility spots in Eli Marrero. Marrero would require getting passed through waivers to be placed in Norfolk and he would most likely get picked up.
If Nady is not starting, he does not fit on the team. Furthermore, if Nady and Marrero are both on the team, there is only one backup up the middle infielder in Chris Woodward. Something has to give at this point. The big problem is that Cliff Floyd is leaving after this season and the Mets presumably are not going to retain him and the original plan was to have Nady and Milledge manning the corner outfield spots. However, there are options.
It is Sunday and today should be a day off for thinking about real baseball, so for discussion's sake, what should be done with the Mets sudden glut of outfielders?
Let us look at the Mets current tradeable commodities:
1) Xavier Nady - Lastings' play of late has opened some eyes and there may be a desire to keep him around even when Nady returns.
2) Cliff Floyd - With him in his walk year, Floyd may be moved to a team in need of a left-handed power bat down the stretch.
3) John Maine - There does not seem to be much room for John Maine on this team being he is now the 7th or 8th starter on the depth charts. Maine still has some upside, is young and cheap, and can succeed on Major League level.
4) Brian Bannister - With the rotation looking set right now, Mike Pelfrey looking at a AAA call up probably round July 1st, and Evan MacLane pitching himself into a decent back up plan for the rotation, Bannister is expendable and has proven he can hold his own on the big stage right now.
5) Heath Bell - He has the stuff to succeed in the bigs, but seeing him do that as a member of the Mets is becoming increasingly slim.
6) Victor Diaz - He has no future with the Mets, but few doubt his ability to hit in the majors.
7) Carlos Gomez - Lastings Milledge + Carlos Beltran + Fernando Martinez = Carlos Gomez left out.
Xavier Nady for Philip Hughes
While I hate helping the Yankees, sometimes business is business and worrying about not wanting to help the Yankees needs to take a backseat. The Yankees are desperate for a corner outfielder and are not in much of a position to bargain and the Yankees do get younger and cheaper in the process with a versatile ball player. Hughes may be struggling at AA, but he still has not turned 20 yet and still is a top tier talent. While not many teams in a pennant race trade for prospects, it is important to balance the future with the present. The Mets could keep Hughes to bolster their 2007 and 2008 rotation, or they can parlay him into something bigger.
One idea is for the Mets to look towards their 2007 outfield. The Diamondbacks have Shawn Green signed through 2007 and have Chris Young doing well at AAA. Eric Byrnes is certainly endearing himself to the organization and could be brought back for a reasonable amount of money to keep the seat warm for Justin Upton. That leaves Carlos Quentin as the odd man out and though the Diamondbacks need bullpen and rotation help today, Hughes might be just too good to pass up as a front end for the future. Quentin is young and brings a lot of much needed patience at the plate and a hitting game with a much bigger upside than Xavier Nady’s. He would also give Fernando Martinez plenty of time to develop on the farm and not be rushed.
Xavier Nady, Brian Bannister, Heath Bell, and Carlos Gomez for Barry Zito
Are the Mets giving up too much? Perhaps. But without a true blue chip to build around and the Athletics situation with Rich Harden being injured and still being in the race, Billy Beane has little incentive to move Zito. Beane is always looking for right-handed power bats for the lineup and Nady could easily displace Jay Payton giving them an outfield of Kotsay, Nady, and Bradley. Beane also gets a young and cheap player under his control in Nady as well as two guys that are under his control for a while that he can insert into his Major League squad right now in Bannister and Bell while having a talented player in Carlos Gomez with a lot of upside as a bonus.
The Mets guarantee they have all their draft picks intact next season by getting Zito now and have the obvious benefits of Zito in 2006 as insurance in case one of their aces goes down. As for the outfield situation in 2007, Nady will be gone but the Mets can bring back Cliff Floyd on the cheap and possibly platoon him while fast tracking Fernando Martinez for 2008. Yeah, Martinez is that good and though it is optimal to let him take his time, I think he can handle it. If Beane did require a blue chip back and the Mets were able to pry Hughes away from the Yankees, they could certainly build a package around that if that help things, but Beane would have to be conceding this year. Sometimes small market GMs have to do that to look at the big picture and ensure success for years to come.
There are other options like the Mets moving Floyd, but I do not think he will net that much making it not worth it in my mind. If they can perhaps get some good value back for Floyd, that is the way to go. However, that has little chance of happening in my mind. That being said, the Mets should not be desperate to move anyone as they are in the driver's seat and can easily shift Milledge back to AAA. In my opinion, Nady back to right and Milledge to AAA should be the move, but if the Mets did want to keep Lastings around, there could be some interesting options out there and some that could even include Alfonso Soriano.
"I've had more confidence in the last couple of outings," Soler said. "I threw the ball over the plate and let the hitters do their part."
Jose Reyes picked up two hits and a stolen base, Beltran stole third on some great heads up baserunning, and Milledge picked up his first swipe on an ill advised successful stolen base attempt. Life is good.
Marrero on playing golf with El Duque:
"He's a cheater," Marrero joked shortly after his arrival yesterday. "I know he's all serious, but he's cheater."
Marrero on playing third base:
Asked about his experience at third base, Marrero replied: "Like, zero. But how hard can it be? Catch the ball and throw to first before the guy gets there."