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Mets Hot Stove: Omar on the Cameron Trade

Mike SteffanosSaturday, November 19, 2005
By Mike Steffanos


I'm reading a lot this morning about Omar justifying the trade on a conference call last night. I guess some of the general unhappiness among the fan base is getting back to the team.

New York Post: Wagner and Cammy
Mark Hale talks about Billy Wagner's upcoming visit to New York on Monday. The Mets sent Wagner and his wife a video of some area highlights like schools and places to live, and a pitch to Wagner about how great it would be to pitch for the Mets. I'm going to take a wild guess and assume they didn't include highlights of Looper getting booed last year.

Hale then gets to Minaya's conference call, mentioning there were about 5 million good reasons for Omar to make the trade. When asked about the money, Hale reports that "unprompted", Omar said, "[Cameron] was uncomfortable playing right field."

But Hale goes on to report that last night Cameron repeated what he had told the Post Thursday night: that he would have been willing to play RF again, and "A lot of the stuff out there about me demanding [a trade] is pretty much a farce because I don't do stuff like that."

Daily News: Omar: Dealing from a position of weakness
Adam Rubin quotes Omar from the conference call on the trade:

You're dealing from a position of weakness because of the injury. There's no doubt about that. The truth of the matter is there are a lot of people looking for center fielders. But let me tell you, we shopped around.

Omar told reporters that he didn't want to wait until spring training for Cameron to prove himself because teams wouldn't have "financial flexibility" and might have been unwilling to take on all of Cameron's salary.

Meanwhile, Rubin quotes Padres GM Kevin Towers: "We felt it would be wise on our behalf to move swiftly and quickly before more clubs came into the fold and started pounding on Omar's door," (once they realized just how much free agent CFs were looking for).

Newsday: More Cameron.
David Lennon on last night's conference call reports that Omar did not come out and say that Cameron demanded a trade, but repeatedly said Cameron was "uncomfortable" in right field. Lennon also reports that Cameron denied forcing the move, though he did quote Cameron on his desire to play CF: "I just felt like I needed to give myself the opportunity to be happy. I expressed that to Omar, he understood it and we tried to do something different."

New York Times: More on the trade
Ben Shpigel spends more time than most on Xavier Nady, the player the Mets received. He quotes Omar: "Given the opportunity, he will hit for power and drive in some runs. He hasn't been given a chance to play every day."

Also, according to Sphpigel:

Minaya said last night that he imagined Nady would be a fixture in the Mets' lineup for years, at one point mentioning him in the same breath as the team's nucleus of José Reyes, David Wright and Beltran.

Shpigel reports, however, that when asked whether it was possible that Nady would be included in a deal for Ramirez or Delgado, Minaya wouldn't answer the question directly, only saying that he looked forward to watching Nady develop.

NorthJersey.com: More Cammy
Finally, Steve Popper provides a really nice view more from Cameron's perspective, and how the collision with Beltran made him feel it might be better to be a CF elsewhere.


Enough already
Look, there were a lot of reasons the Mets didn't want to go into 2006 with Mike Cameron in RF:

  • Cameron was a better CF than Beltran, and there was some pressure to switch them. Simple logic dictates that you don't crap all over the ego of your $17 million a year star.
  • Cameron's salary was commensurate with what a gold glove CF should be paid. As a RF, his offensive production didn't justify the money, and...
  • ...Omar had other things in mind for that money.

What irks me somewhat is the spin that the Mets put on this that Cameron was forcing this deal, other teams were hesitant to offer real value, and this deal was absolutely the best deal that could have been done. While I have no doubt the injury questions had lowered Cameron's value, we've seen enough out there from various sources that, given the scarcity of talented centerfielders available, there was probably a better deal out there.

What seems obvious -- whether you believe Nady will be a Met in 2006 or packaged for a slugger -- is that this deal eliminated a ton of salary and brought back a young, cheap player with some potential. And you know what, if Omar had just said that, this wouldn't have bothered me as much. Something like, "hey guys, Cameron wasn't really in our plans and I was looking for a deal that would save us a lot of money to be used elsewhere." I wouldn't really be able to argue with that. Maybe I wouldn't do it if I was GM, but hey, I'm not the GM. Omar, stop trying to justify this by blaming Cameron or insulting our intelligence, and we'll be fine. A Classic
At Mets Geek, Damien Heath offers up The David Sloane Files, a comprehensive and funny look back at last year's Delgado circus. With today's news about a possible Beckett trade, Damien is right; "this is wonderful, horrible payback."

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