You Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em
Rory (NYC): Can you take a question about Carlos Gomez? What is his ceiling? Has he jumped Lastings Milledge on the Mets OF depth chart?
SportsNation Jim Callis: I can. His ceiling is huge and this year, with the way he's performed, I have more belief that he can reach it. He's definitely ahead of Milledge on the Mets' depth chart and I bet Milledge gets dealt in the next six months.
It has been really encouraging to see Gomez perform at the big league level at his age and it realy seems like he is the real deal. However in regards to prospects overall, if a team had three impact prospects that they developed through their system during the same time period that profiled to be frontline/all-star type players, they would be ecstatic. The Mets have six position players and two starters who are in the bigs now or will be ready by 2009. 2009 at some point should feature all of them with the exception of either Gomez, Milledge, or Martinez and it seems Milledge will be the odd man out.
In an ideal world, Milledge doesn't get traded. He's not a malcontent like Elijah Dukes. Lastings has always been apologetic and remorseful when it hits the fan. His mind operates in different fashion and sometimes he may not make the best decisions, but he is malleable. Next season Gomez and Milledge should be with the big club and Fernando should be allowed to take his time to develop. He may not be ready for 2009 and I would rather hedge my bets than just blindly give a nineteen year old a big league postion when he is merely holding his own on AA and having trouble staying on the field.
Then when all are ready, you can pull the tigger on a trade. It's also possible that things happen. Injuries happen. Players do hit bumps in their developmental road and sometimes the bump is too big for them to overcome. That being said, if the right deal comes along you make the deal. Even if the player excels just as Hanley Ramirez has, the deal could very well still be in the best interest of the team and I think Bostom makes that deal again given what they know now.
On the pitching front, I am extremly less optimistic. The Mets do have a good number of second tier, mid to back rotation starters like Stoner and Niese, but their two front end guys in Pelfrey and Humber have lost a bit of their star quality. They are still two pitchers plenty of teams would love to have, but one had to has to lower expetations a bit give what they have done this season. Humber is coming off a major surgery and just needs time and Pelfrey simply needs to refine his secondary stuff. They do have a good chance at becoming frontline starters, but I'm not quite as optimistic as I was prior to the season.
Then there is Kevin Mulvey and his four solid pitches. I think he just might be pitching himself into frontline prospect status this season. His career stats truly compare favorably with the other two during their Minor League careers and he has done nice things in AA. He has only given up one homer in a hitters league in 81 innings this year and only two in his career in slighty less than 100 innings and has been a groundball pitcher so far as well. Also, he has kept lefties in check holding them to a 2.81 ERA in 32 innings though his .290 BAA could use a bit of work.
All in all, the Mets are in a very good position. Just letting everyone come along and stay with the big team could be extremely helpful to them winning multiple championships. The Mets may have done a lot of wrong things from '01 through '05, but they did draft well and the future definitely does look favorable.
Kevin (Washington, D.C.): "Eric, I am a terrible person. My lovely fiance and I have been together for seven years. About three years ago, her favorite aunt, who was 92 years old, passed away suddenly. She was a wonderful woman. My fiance was broken up about it, as was I. When my fiance (girlfriend at the time) asked me to accompany her to the funeral in New Jersey, I told her that I certainly would, but that's when it hit me that the funeral was going to be the day of my fantasy baseball draft. After agreeing to be with her at the funeral, I had to think of a way to get out of it. After all, this was the only league I was in at the time, and I was the defending champion. The house in New Jersey we would be staying at (her parents) had no Internet service, but I probably wouldn't have had time anyway since our drafts take forever. I contemplated what to do for a day or so, and mentioned my problem to all my co-workers. The consensus was that if I didn't go I am a terrible person. Well, I didn't go. After thinking about excuses, I told her that I really dislike funerals, and that they are too sad and I wouldn't be able to handle it. Eventually, she agreed that she would go to attend without me. I felt awful about the whole thing until the draft ended and my team was awesome. I had the first pick, got Alex Rodriguez, and ended up winning the league again. However, in the process, it solidified the fact that I suck. I am getting married to this girl in September, and she still has no idea the real reason behind me missing the funeral. Since that time, I have attended two of her other relatives' funerals, thinking that maybe that has made up for it. Am I the worst?"
Eric: I know this is a long e-mail, but I had to run it. Yes, Kevin, you are a terrible person. Priorities, people! We've been talking about how we check our fantasy teams while on vacation, but I think this crosses the line. I've forwarded this blog to your fiancé. Best of luck!
Ryne (Peekskill, NY): For the next 5 years, Mets or Yankees?
SportsNation Jim Callis: Mets.
The irascible catcher seemed annoyed his recent meltdown and suspension were receiving so much attention, griping, "I get thrown out of a game and it's bigger news than the war in Iraq."