By Mike Steffanos
I've taken some extra time to put together a full opinion on this trade. I wanted to avoid any type of knee jerk reaction and come up with something resembling an intelligent judgment.
Despite the fact that I really liked all 3 young players the Mets shipped out, I can't kill Omar on this deal. The Mets feel that they need to put together a team to win now, and from that standpoint this was a good step, especially since it is now clear that Delgado has no problem coming here. Delgado is still a very productive player, and plays a position (first base) that doesn't beat up an older player as much as most.
We can argue the point as to whether the Mets should be so committed to winning now. My preference would be for them to go slower and target a year or two down the road as the "win now" season. I worry that undo haste on their part will lead to more mistakes, a scenario that has played out all too often over the years for the Mets. But as a fan, I understand that the Mets are under absolutely no obligation to do the things that would make me happy. I have to put aside my personal preference and judge this trade for what it is.
The Mets gave up a promising player in Mike Jacobs, but they wouldn't have a position for him if they were able to get Delgado for someone else. They also gave up Yusmeiro Petit, their top pitching prospect and rated the #2 overall prospect in the system by Baseball America. That certainly is a loss, but in giving up Petit Mets' GM Omar Minaya was dealing from what is the only real position of strength in the Mets farm system. 4 of the remaining 8 players in BA's top 10 (Jacobs was #4) are right-handed pitchers, and 2005 top draft pick Mike Pelfrey will immediately make the top 10 once they sign him. Grant Psomas is a nice young player, but projects as a utility guy in the majors.
From a solid baseball point of view, this wasn't an excessive amount to give up for a player of Delgado's caliber. I don't really buy the argument that the Marlins would have taken less for Delgado; maybe they would have if trading him to a team outside the division, but not to the Mets. They would have alienated their fan base even more if there was a perception that they just gave Delgado away to a team in their division. And remember, the Mets received one of the top left handed power hitters in baseball, not just some 20 HR, 80 RBI run of the mill first baseman.
The Mets offense has improved far beyond the bare numbers Carlos Delgado can contribute. Having Delgado on this team should take a lot of pressure off Carlos Beltran. David Wright will no longer be the only bat protecting Cliff Floyd, who will no longer have to bat cleanup. Victor Diaz will have the opportunity to take control of the right field job with few expectations and away from the glare of the spotlight.
I can understand the feelings of Mets fans that weren't happy with the deal. The Mets farm system is not deep in talent as it is, and to give up 2 of their top prospects took a big chunk out of it. In addition, many of us feel the Mets place little value on their farm system, and are unwilling to show the patience it takes to develop their own talent. A legitimate concern, indeed, but that's an issue for another day.
On the merits of this deal, Omar did a really solid job. He got something the Mets really needed and did not give up anything that he could not afford to give up. In my opinion, to say differently is just unfair.