The Wave of the Future
The new regime in Tampa seems to be doing something, which is a stark contrast to the previous Namoli regime. First, the bold move in shipping Young out. In shipping a very talented young outfielder with only one year of service time, he got back a potential front end starter, a potential electric bullpen arm, and a solid shortstop that helps the Devil Rays vastly improve what was a horrible defense.
Longoria, Bartlett, Iwamura, and Pena on the infield with Crawford, Upton, and Baldelli/Gomes/Floyd in the outfield is pretty tight. They jettisoned off Upton and Wigginton who were just terrible defensive players on the infield and stand to really provide defensive support for what all of a sudden is looking like a tight rotation.
The Wheeler move seemed suspect at the time being the Rays were bad and the picking up a guy with two years left seems a bit unnecessary, but now that this team has a defense, solid offensive potential, and a solid rotation, they needed a bullpen. Now the are having Percival close out games with Wheeler, Reyes, and possibly Niemann in a set-up role with Morlan possibly making an impact this year.
Now the franchise makes another statement by inking James Shields for seven years and $40 million dollars. That buys out his last four years of team controlled years and tacks on three more. Even if he misses two seasons because of injury, this contract has value. Of course it has less value, but value. The only way this deal will look horrible is if Shields is unable to remain a starter, which really does not seem likely to me.
The Rays also get some cost certainty because they are going to have a lot of players over the next few years going through arbitration and having all that uncertainty settled gives them a much better idea of run to run their team's budget. This deal is going to look brilliant in three years when you factor in the current asking price for less than mediocre pitching and the ever escalating salaries.
With the impossible task of assembling a solid rotation at a bargain price by picking through the free agent market, this might become the norm. Tampa has $40 million on the table in terms of risk should something go horribly wrong, but they stand to lose quite a bit more if they had to match his innings from someone off the free agent market. If they do plan to be competitive in '09, '10, '11, and '12, and it seems they will be, this move makes a lot of sense.
Regardless of any trade possibilities, this move had to be done and was a solid one.
Which makes me wonder: Will today be the day that Santana finally is traded?
I know what I'm hoping. I hope that we never hear another rumor, never read another story – after this one – about Santana coming to (fill in the blank). And the only way that will happen is if Santana goes somewhere, anywhere.
So Mets, get it done. Give up four prospects. Give up five. Give up Fernando Martinez. Get it done.
The Mets can get by this season without him, and they still might be the favorites to win the East. But the reason they should go for Santana is the one that critics would tell them not to make the deal for -- the future.
Martinez may turn out to be a star. Deolis Guerra could turn out to be an ace. Or maybe they won't. But in Santana, arm health permitting, the Mets would ensure the future of their pitching rotation, something that they are desperately in need of beyond this season.
Get it done at all costs? Why? These young guys have a lot of value and we are not just talking about Martinez, Guerra, or Gomez. The Mets still have a formidable front three that a lot of teams would not mind having and can admirably fill in the last spot in the rotation with Livan Hernandez and get some league average innings.
I just cannot get on board with giving Smith whatever he wants just because he wants it. How about we give him what he deserves? The fact is, he was asking for way too much to start and his best offers were on the table already and have seemingly been pulled back at this point. Maybe I am missing something, but why does Smith have all of the leverage here?
The best solution is a long term deal as I stated before, but Howard does not seem like the type of guy to take a Reyes or Wright-esque deal. He wants to get paid. Get paid a lot. And get paid now. This all sets bad precedents and you can point out his RBI and homer totals to me as much as you want. Giving him $10 million in his third year will put him on track to just about have market value by his fifth year if he had his way. Good luck with that Pat.
Shit, I'm optimistic about their '08 rotation and infield as well. The bullpen? I think it could be good, but it could also be bad as well.
Aardsma, acquired last off-season with left-hander Carlos Vasquez for Neal Cotts, was a disappointment. He was 2-1 with a 6.40 ERA in 25 relief appearances in two stints with the Sox and spent time at Triple-A Charlotte.
Aardsma, 26, is out of options. The Sox have 10 days to trade or waive Aardsma, a former No. 1 pick of San Francisco.
He has been more bad than good for his career and walks a ton of batters, but he can still strike people out. His minor league numbers are pretty decent, but he still has walked four batters per nine on the farm as well.
That being said, why not try and get him for a minor league deal? Relievers are so year-to-year that he might be able to do something good.