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Mets Hot Stove: All Manny, all the time...

Mike SteffanosFriday, December 30, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I give up. I understand now that bringing Manny Ramirez to New York will assure world peace, and I am now all for any deal, no matter how unsound from a baseball sense, that would bring him here. I am even growing out my hair so I can affect a personal "Manny look" for 2006. I am starting a web site called IDontCareWhatItCostsICantLiveWithoutManny.com. T-shirts are being printed up now and will be offered at a nominal cost reasonable price huge markup. I'll also be accepting PayPal donations that I promise to do absolutely nothing to earn. Basically, I will be looking to fleece you under the pretext of running a populist movement of Met fans.

Oh, by the way, the Post is reporting the Mets might be close to acquiring someone other than Manny:

New York Post: Baez coming?
Joel Sherman is characterizing the Mets as being "on the brink" of acquiring reliever Danys Baez from Tampa Bay. According to Sherman:

The Devil Rays would receive a package in return that would be headed by either Jae Seo or Aaron Heilman... If they did not include Heilman in the trade -- and they have been very resistant all offseason to move the young righty -- the Mets would have a late-game trio of Heilman, Baez and Wagner that combined for a 2.17 ERA in 2005, allowing just 161 hits in 216 innings.

I'm not in love with Baez. To me, he is a somewhat younger and slightly better Braden Looper. Even Sherman's description of Baez is reminiscent of Looper:

Though he throws hard (in the 93-95 mph) and has a strong split, Baez is not an overpowering strikeout pitcher and he does fight wildness at times.

I guess the key for me here would be if this trade could be accomplished with Jae Seo rather than Heilman. I like Seo, but understand the need to have a fallback closer if Wagner gets hurt. A bullpen with Wagner, Baez and Heilman, along with whatever retreads survive spring training, isn't too bad, and they wouldn't have to sign Tavarez.

My problem is if this trade includes Heilman, especially since we hear that Baez doesn't want to be a setup man, and can walk after the 2006 season. I'm not convinced that Baez is an upgrade to Heilman, to make this deal for one year of Baez is crazy. Even if you manage to resign Baez after the season, you'll be paying him much more money than you'd be paying Heilman, but will you have a significantly better pitcher? I'm not convinced.

Newark Star-Ledger: Some might characterize this as bad news
Dan Graziano informs us that a "Mets deal for Ramirez won't be easy". He states that the Mets are monitoring the Tejada trade talks in the hopes of being involved in a multi-team deal that would bring Manny to Queens:

According to two baseball officials familiar with the talks, the Mets have been involved in several complicated trade discussions with the hope of landing Ramirez. Both officials said the large, complex deals still required a lot of work, but that the Mets were keeping their toe in the water in case they still had a chance to add Ramirez to their 2006 lineup.

One of the possibilities would involve a multi-team deal in which Mets pitcher Kris Benson would end up in Baltimore, Tejada in Boston and Ramirez with the Mets (with a variety of other players and cash bouncing around in the deal as well). The Orioles like Benson and, earlier this off-season, offered reliever Jorge Julio for him. The Mets have been looking to trade him and certainly would do so if it meant bringing in Ramirez for right field


Even I couldn't argue against Benson for Ramirez -- it's just the rest of the players that the Mets would have to include that would make this deal suck.

My biggest hope right now is that the Orioles and Red Sox swing a Tejada for Ramirez and Clement trade that would put an end to this crap once and for all.

MinorLeagueBaseball.com: Can Anderson Garcia offer any relief?
Kevin Czerwinski pens a story on Anderson Garcia, a Mets minor leaguer who has the potential to challenge for a bullpen spot in 2006. The 24 year old Dominican came over to the Mets from the Yankees in the Armando Benitez deal of 2004. After a successful campaign for the Mets' High-A and Double-A affiliates, Hernandez was rewarded with a spot on the 40-man roster. Czerwinski offers the following scouting report on Hernandez, courtesy of an AL scout who saw him pitch in the minors this past season:

He's not bad and he has a good arm. He just needs to be more consistent with his finishing pitches. He's raw and a good arm strength guy who can get his fastball up to 95 miles an hour. But he needs to improve his command down in the zone. He's a prospect, though, and may develop into a closer type but right now it's a little too early to tell.

He doesn't have a good second knockout pitch. There are a lot of guys around now who throw in the mid-90s. If you don't have a second hammer, the fastball just isn't as effective. He needs to develop a second pitch where he can tell hitters, hey I have a good fastball but I also have this pitch. ... I'd say he's a seventh-inning guy now but he could get better, so them putting him on the 40-man doesn't surprise me.

That might not sound all that scintillating, but when you look at some of the guys who will be competing for a bullpen role in 2006, a kid with potential in the system couldn't hurt.

Gotham Baseball: The obligatory Manny rumor
From the people that give you those wild Manny rumors, Mark Healy provides the latest:

Mets would send Lastings Milledge, Anderson Hernandez, Aaron Heilman and Xavier Nady to Tampa Bay for Lugo, Huff and Baez. New York would then send Lugo, Huff, Kris Benson and Cliff Floyd to Baltimore for Tejada, and then send Tejada to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.

From New York's end of things, they would be saving more money than the original deal, but would be parting with their top three prospects (as well as Floyd and Benson) for an aging, but potent superstar player in Ramirez and a closer in Baez who's said to be against setting up another closer in his contract year.

I though Wednesday's GB proposed deal was a terrible one for the Mets, but I'll give Mark Healy credit, this one is worse. The Mets would be giving up Cliff Floyd, Kris Benson, Aaron Heilman, Xavier Nady, and prospects Lastings Milledge and Anderson Hernandez for Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez. Essentially Manny replaces Floyd and Baez replaces Heiman; Benson and Nady are just gone, and the farm system is a vast wasteland of mediocrity with little potential to provide anything of value over the next 2-3 years.

I heard one caller to WFAN yesterday tell Ed Coleman that he would trade everyone on the Mets to get Manny. If this trade goes through, he comes close to getting his wish. Funny, though, if the Mets get Manny and it backfires, guys like that are going to be bitching the loudest.

I don't pretend to have any "insider sources" feeding me information, I'm stuck depending on my own common sense. A year ago, Omar Minaya promised us a team that would be younger, more athletic and featuring pitching and defense. Was that just a joke or a sincere blueprint for the future? If we get Manny, Omar wins the battle for the back page of the newspapers, and we get to watch a team full of aging big names that really isn't well constructed from a baseball standpoint. Kind of sounds like that team in the Bronx over the last few years -- how has it worked out for them?

I need a drink...

MetsBlog: A new Matthew Cerrone Notebook
Matthew Cerrone has built MetsBlog into one of the best independent New York Mets web site by staying on top of all that is going on. The information he gathers from solid baseball sources, as well as his talent for presenting it, set his site apart.

One of my favorite features on MetsBlog is Matt's Notebook, where he goes into detail on a subject. This week it's the I-95 Rumor Drive, featuring all of the Ramirez/Tejada/Mets rumors.

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