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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Counterintuitive? Yes. Beneficial? Perhaps.

The Mets have Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez, and Fernando Martinez relatively close to the bigs in the outfield and Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber, and Kevin Mulvey closet to the bigs on the mound with Maine and Oliver Perez already in the fold. The Mets have the depth to make a deal, but you could make the argument that trading any of those guys for the marginal upgrades available on the market would be a mistake (you would be 100% right), but what about a huge upgrade?

The Astros are not exactly in what I would call an enviable position. They had a minor league system ranked in the bottom third of all big league teams before Hunter Pence broke onto the scene. Next year, they could easily be be one of the three worst systems when you consider Matt Albers should be with the big club to stay and he is not even that impressive of a prospect. They are currently sitting at 13.5 games out and 1.5 games back from being tied for the worst record in the National League and three games back from having the worst record in the Major Leagues.

If you were the Astros, what would you do? We have seen the mistakes that teams make when trying to win while a certain player is around. The San Francisco Giants have made a series of horrible choices solely based around trying to win while the had Barry Bonds on the team with some other usable parts. The Astros, while in horrible shape, do have some positives going for them in Dan Wheeler, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, and Brad Lidge with another player in Mark Loretta who could add value by fetching a B- prospect in a trade.

Wheeler is under control through '08, Pence through '12, Lee through '12, Oswalt through '11, Berkman through '10, and Lidge through '08. There is a core there, but not much else. On the farm there are some decent arms that are mid to back end guys at best and the fact they did not have a draft pick until the 111st pick in the third round of this year's draft certainly does not help things. They certainly do not have the ability to buy what they need and do have enough talent to not give up. By trading Oswalt, you free up money to buy some players and get three or four players who could bring a lot to the ballclub for under $2 million.

What to do? Would you trade Oswalt if you were the Astros for two or three top 100 talents and a guy like Aaron Heilman? I'm not even sure if I would do a Milledge, Humber, and Pelfrey much less a Milledge, Heilman, Humber, and Pelfrey deal and I do not know if either team could even come to an agreement for what they would be giving up. Would three players even be enough considering the perennial Cy Young contender is inked for another four seasons after '07 at an affordable price? The Astros are far away from competing and are in dire need of getting some young impact players in their organization. If they could bring in three guys who could contribute on the big league level and at least two with possible All-Star talent, would they be better off?

Of course I do not think the Astros would do something like this, but why not? Why not a blockbuster like that? While it would certainly not be popular, it would be hard to argue that it would not be in the best interest of the team. I understand guys like Oswalt do not grow on trees and it would be impossible for the Astros to replace a pitcher like that for those dollars figures, but sometimes you have to trade your most valuable commodity to maximize your return.

On the Mets side of things, losing two or three promising prospects is softened by the fact Oswalt and Maine are under control through 2011 and they can still bring back Perez giving them three young and talented starters to form the base of their rotation. There are quite a few teams that could help themselves out with deals like this, but they never do for fear that no one would turn up the park (i.e. Bay in Pittsburgh). With the rising cost of free agents, teams are less willing to part with big time prospects for even a year and a half of a top tier player. They want young people that are under control for a long time. The landscape the game has changed quite a bit and so should the way teams look to improve their long term outlook.

* * *

  • In contrast to reports yesterday that Alou could be back in a week or two, it looks like he could make a return while the Mets in LA later this week.

    Also within the article it seems that there is a possibility of Duaner Sanchez returning late next month. I'm not sure what can reasonably be expected of him, but it is worth nothing.

  • We tried Heath...we tried.

    Reliever Heath Bell, who posted a 5.11 ERA for the Mets last year and was dealt to the Padres in the Ben Johnson offseason deal, has been terrific for San Diego (2.26 ERA going into last night). Said Bell, "I felt like if I just got the chance to pitch in a good role on the [Mets] that I could do what I'm doing now."

    Bell got a lot of support from a lot of us and I'm guessing the Mets would like a mulligan on that deal.

  • Lastings continues to have his head attached to his body and the common sense flowing from his brain to the rest of his body. I don't get why people are still so negative in regards to Lastings, but whatever. He speaks like a kid who knows his time will come and he will perform what that time does come.

  • The Mets are on the precipice of falling out of the top ten and I cannot argue their removal at this point. They do not look like a top team in any facet and are riding purely on how well they played last season and how good people think they should be. Now, the goodwill should be drying up and they are going to have to perform to get some respect.

  • Bob Raissman and his stilly moustache would like more TV time for Ralph Kiner. Similarly to players feeling that teams are obligated to play them forever, why must the guys in the booth have die or be near death to get removed? Ralph Kiner has been great over the years but was in the booth for a few years more than he should have been. He gets a weekly spot now and it is nice and enjoyable, but entire games? I think we can all agree that Keith, Ron, and Gary are lightyears better than Murphy and Kiner towards the end if their careers. The games does change...culture changes...people get older and crustier...new blood is not a bad thing and SNY is smart to keep up what they are doing and should not feel obligated to do anything more. They have been classy in regards to the way they handled things and gave him a great tribute.

  • You have to check out this banter between Mike and Ted. It pretty much sums up what we've all been feeling. They were both spot on.

  • It looks like Joe Torre's usage of a starter as a reliever on off-days is a bit contagious.

  • Zambrano's gut tells him he's staying with the Cubbies.

  • The Royals picking up Dotel in the off-season was extremely smart because of the value he could have had if healthy at the trade deadline. He is throwing hard and should bring some decent back.

  • After Beltran bizarrely doubled off the first base bag I was feeling some positive mojo...then Brian Giles made an unbelievable catch on what I thought was a surefire double and possible triple for Wright. If the Mets pull this one out tonight, it will be a close one.

  • Mike Pelfrey had a rough second inning but was otherwise pretty tight. He gave up all three of his earned runs in the second and gave up three hits and three walks overall while striking out seven.

  • Bobby Parnell got roughed up for Binghamton and gave up five runs in three innings.

  • Toby Stoner was impressive for St. Lucie going 6.1 innings while giving up three hits, two earned runs, and two walks while striking out seven.

  • Some people think Beltran isn't healthy. Of course I have not spoken to him, but it certainly looks like he is. Last night he was running around the bases like he was fine and does not look uncomfortable swinging the bat. It just seems like it is just a really bad slump.

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You know, man, you are my favorite Mets blogger normally and I'm one of your long-time readers. But when you write stuff like this about Kiner (I'm 99% sure you've written this kind of stuff before) it kills me.

    I could see, sort of, phasing Ralph out a little when he had just come back from the Bells Palsy and was really slurring his words. But he isn't anymore. I love Keith and Ron and Gary but Ralph is consistently the funniest voice in the booth. He is sharp as a tack (he was pretty much the only one at the ceremony not reading off paper), he keeps current with the game and, most importantly, he has stories of a bygone era that will be bye and gone when he goes.

    Raissman's article was great but really bothers me. I was always hoping that it was Ralph who decided to work less and not the Mets deciding that for him. I guess that isn't the case and I hate the fact that the Mets have treated him this way. So f'n shitty. Whenever I see Wilpon I always think he's a good guy but it's hard to square that with this.

    Sure, they gave Ralph his night which they barely promoted (yes, it was on every telecast but what a shitty promotion). And I can't help but think what took so long? Why couldn't this ceremony have taken place 5 yesrs or more ago? What if if he hadn't lived this long?

    Man, getting older blows.

    1:34 AM

    Anonymous sidd finch said...

    I like having Ralph around, he's doing much better, and I like that the Mets are letting him be there once in a while. He doesn't have to do play-by-play, and he surprises me with some of the funny stuff he comes out with when he's on. It would have been nice if Bob Murphy had been able to do that kind of a spot after he was done having a regular assignment, but he had slipped badly in the last couple of years, and face it, even Ernie Harwell had to retire eventually.

    After Beltran bizarrely doubled off the first base bag I was feeling some positive mojo...then Brian Giles made an unbelievable catch on what I thought was a surefire double and possible triple for Wright. If the Mets pull this one out tonight, it will be a close one.

    Nice call, Mike!

    El Duque is the first big league pitcher to steal bases in consecutive starts since the Mets' Tom Seaver May 17 and 22, 1967, against Atlanta and Los Angeles, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

    9:14 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...


    You are entitled to your own opinions, but I’ve written back in ’04 that it was time to move on before he did in fact move on. You may like him, but I prefer guys who are smoother like the current guys. Why is it sacrilegious to write something negative about a guy who was past his time in the booth in my estimation? That being said, I enjoy his little Friday in the booth thing, but I would prefer to keep the current set up (I’m apparently not alone because the team thinks that way too).

    Raissman’s article annoyed me incredibly because again, it assumes that teams cannot decide that maybe they are looking to go in a different direction and if they do, they are evil monsters who are not treating the guy justly. Once you get someone, it’s like they have to hold onto their spot like they are the pope and in no conceivable manner should a team decide to move on. Looking forward to Cohen in about fifty years still doing games….I’m sure there are a ton of people who agree with Raissman and would prefer to have Murphy on the air every game. Understood, don’t count me as one of those people. I enjoy these telecasts more and not by just a little bit.

    This is not a personal attack on Kiner. He seems like a genuinely great guy and a pleasure to be around. I just wasn’t into them in his later years…not sure why this and not being enthused with every one of Randolph’s moves illicit such fervor. Let me know who else and what else is taboo to talk about.

    Sidd…I agree. The current set up is nice and I do think the Mets are doing the right thing…others don’t.

    You have to love The Duque. He takes hitting/running seriously. A pitcher with a green light? Swellicious. I was not feeling good about having Peavy on the mound down 0-1 already, but it worked out well to say the least. Milledge looks overmatched against top tier pitchers…but he has time to work on it.

    10:25 AM

    Anonymous joe said...

    Side Note: After the game Willie said "walks are sexy" ...i agree

    Also, have HoJo and Rickey made their presence known or what?

    11:42 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    It was good to see Willie joke around. This team has seemingly been too serious lately and it would not hurt for some pranks to go down and more smiling.

    Rickey seemed like a knowledgeable guy during his in-game interview. If nothing else, HoJo and Rickey might have provided a spark, but it is also possible HoJo is a better hitting coach. I'm sure people will be keeping tracks of the post Down era.

    11:53 AM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm with you on the Kiner thing - I think the Mets have treated him well. His last year in the booth was painful. Instead of keeping him in the same role while everyone cringes, or pushing him completely to the curb, they put him in a role where we can all enjoy him. Once every week or two allows him to be part of the team, allows us to enjoy him, and leaves us wanting more Kiner not less. I think this is just a classy, classy move.

    On another front, I have quickly become a big fan of Hojo as hitting coach. If nothing else, at least he has a gameplan. He asked around the team, and found out some of the players would like a bit more early batting practice. (Never mind that I find it amazing Down never ran one of these). He's working on some specific things with Valentin and Beltran already. And he's preaching a gameplan. Maybe none of this will work, who knows. But one thing's certain - the Mets looked better at the plate last night in terms of approach than they have in six weeks. Maybe it's just coincidence, might just be a blip, but I am encouraged at least. Keep it up Hojo...

    12:59 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Never mind that I find it amazing Down never ran one of these...that just hit me a few minutes ago I was writing tomorrow's post and put it in. Mind blowing! The team that has been struggling all year never took extra BP? What?

    I agree that we'll never no if HoJo helped even if the team rips it up. What is clear is that he at least is using some sort of plan here. We cannot be sure that Down even had one. But really...never asking to take extra BP?

    1:46 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    One other thing - Darling had some good points on the broadcast last night. Yes, he's a friend of Hojo but I think they were good points nonetheless.

    Basically, he said that Hojo wasn't a superstar but still had superstar years. So he wasn't this extremely gifted player, but rather someone who made himself a multi-time All-Star through hardwork and a good gameplan. Plus, he's such a down to earth guy, you're not going to get any "When I was playing, I used to..." type comments from him.

    I think if you throw in Darling's comments with the idea that Hojo wasn't just handed a major league coaching job, but rather worked his way through the minors, there is reason to be optimistic about what Hojo can bring to this team.

    Or maybe I'm just grasping at straws.

    2:00 PM

    Anonymous joe said...

    Last night it was also stated that during that early bp HoJo got Beltran to stand up straight. He found that he could be pushed over from behind, which explains why he some times falls across the plate on outside pitches. With a more balanced stance Beltran may be able to shift his weight better. They should try the same thing with Green.

    2:12 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    On the subject of Henderson, this is from Buster Olney's blog today, describing a scene from one of the Met-Cincy games at Shea last week:

    "Jose Reyes reached first, and Henderson assumed the same kind of stance in the coach's box that he had when he was a baserunner -- getting low. He spent a lot of time fiddling with the stopwatch he held in his right hand, and the thought occurred to me that Henderson probably never cared about pitcher's delivery times or catcher's release times when he was stealing bases. And for the second time in two days, Reyes was thrown out stealing. Henderson, always positive, clapped his hands at the inning's end and went back to the dugout."

    From everything I've read and heard about Ricky, I thought he was some kind of savant about understanding the characteristics of pitchers and catchers which determine how easily they can be run on. Is Buster suggesting that by using the stopwatch, Ricky is interfering with his ability to impart this wisdom on Reyes? Does this make any sense? I'm seriously asking.

    2:13 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Darling brings up good points…Darling is just full ‘o them. I've been really impressed with him this season...again, love when the trio is in the booth.

    The entire balance thing with Beltran is going to be something I keep my eye on. Not his actually stance, but his production. If that truly is a turning point of the season for him, then I’m going to be have to rethink the entire hitting coach thing. Is it possible minute tweaks mean that much difference to a hitter? I mean, Beltran isn’t even close to his ’06 form. So far, so good with HoJo….

    I saw that Bookied and I’m not sure what Buster is saying. He’s saying (from what I can gather) that he is a buffoon which I do not think is the case.

    2:55 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    With the shortage of quality pitching available a team will have to pay a steep price in terms of young talent to acquire one. If you set your sights lower you still will still have to pay a price in young talent that is not commensurate with the veteran talent received. The only exception would be if a team is considerably over paying a pitcher and will take less talent if the acquiring team picks up the entire salary. Since I can’t see the Wilpon’s do that I would prefer them not to mortgage the future for an all your eggs in one basket approach. I would be interested to see if stats are available that analyze trade dead line moves and see in general who has come out best, the sellers or the buyers. The Mets have a history of failing as both sellers and buyers buy some teams have done extraordinarily well.

    If I’m the Astros I do not trade Oswalt since he is basically a bargain if you compare his contract to other pitchers of his quality, is hard to replace, puts fannies in the seats and is still reasonably young enough that the Astros can build around him. The Mets have shown that if you are willing to spend a little and couple it with some smart pickups you can build a representative team in a hurry.

    LM is having trouble with the slider b/c in the minors you don’t see a Peavy’s type slider too often. Wright had some difficulty with it too. Peavy is an exceptional talent and sometimes you just have to tip your hat to him. With LM’s bat speed he can learn to look for the off speed and breaking pitches and still catch up to most fast balls. He has to learn to adjust to major league pitching and sending him down to triple A won’t accomplish that. He can hit triple A pitching.

    Mr. Met you were premature in burying the Yankees. As I type this they are 7 back in the loss column behind the Red Sox and 6.5 behind the Indians for the WC. The Yankees are on a roll while during the same period the teams they are chasing are playing mediocre ball.

    The Reds sweep the Braves. I’m starting to think if the Mets play .500 baseball the rest of the season they will win the division.

    The Braves sign Franco. Talk about desperation.

    Tom Seaver once said that for a major league pitcher the difference for a talented pitcher being successful and unsuccessful is usually a small adjustment. I believe it’s the same for a veteran hitter. But finding the incremental change to be made and implementing it is not always easy without help. Thus the need for an astute pitching and hitting coach.

    7:56 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The Yankees are just hot right now and the Red Sox are better than the .500 ball they have played the last 40 or so games. The might make it interesting, but they have no margin for error. What are there, like 70 games to make up a that big of a gap? I'm going to run a few scenarios to see what it would take for the Yankees to win the division and/or make the wildcard. Not just everyone else playing .500 ball because that just is not logical. Also, it's been widely noted that have a soft schedule for the next 28 games so they need to feast. In the end, I'm still not a believer even though they are not your normal barely over .500 team.

    10:56 PM


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