By Mike Steffanos
Note: please actually read this before leaving a comment. For those of you that don't get sarcasm, thanks for stopping by.
Something has been nagging me lately as I read all the reports in the papers about Omar's willingness to give up top prospects in the right deal. As much as I appreciate what Mr. Minaya has accomplished with this team in the last couple of years, and as much as I appreciate the intelligence, imagination and energy that he brings to the job, it's time for me to face up to the inescapable truth: Minaya has to go.
The final nail in his coffin comes to us courtesy of Joel Sherman of the New York Post. In a story that makes me glad that Billy Wagner is not the General Manager of the New York Mets, Mr. Sherman offers this glimpse into the mind of Minaya:
... those close to Minaya said he would be open to trading Milledge or Pelfrey, his top two prospects, if [Dontrelle] Willis were available.
Joel Sherman isn't the first columnist to share with us that Omar Minaya would trade Mike Pelfrey in the right deal. Several others have informed us of the same thing. Since we all know that New York sportswriters would never embellish the truth, we are forced to face the sad reality that Omar Minaya is incompetent to perform the job he was hired to do. You would think a baseball man that has reached the top of his profession would know the most basic rules of the game. If he had internet access and checked out the FAQ page on Baseball America's web site, he would find out that was he was trying to do was illegal:
For how long is a player unavailable to be traded? For one year after he signs? For one year after his draft day?
A player can't be traded until a year after he signs his first pro contract.
Could it be any clearer? Pelfrey signed with the Mets in January of this year, the earliest they could trade him would be January of 2007. Since sportswriter after sportswriter have all assured us that their sources tell them that Minaya is shopping Pelfrey, the only logical assumption is that Omar Minaya and his entire staff are incompetent buffoons. The only real question is why other GMs would even talk to him about Mike Pelfrey. Don't any of them know the rule? Perhaps they are all part of an elaborate practical joke being perpetrated on the sadly uninformed Mr. Minaya.
I have to admit that I wasn't totally up on this rule earlier in the year. I knew there was a moratorium period on trading drafted players, but I wasn't exactly sure of the time period. Vinny from Metsville.com left the answer in a comment on my site, and then I found the FAQ at BA. I am not a professional sportswriter making a good living supposedly informing the public based on my greater expertise. You would think that they would know the damn rule. The guys on WFAN are just as bad. I'm getting a headache listening to and reading about Mike Pelfrey trade rumors that have no basis in fact.
I'm not sure who "those close to Minaya" in Sherman's story really are, but I am fairly confident that they aren't anybody with any real knowledge of what Omar is planning to do. Same with all the "team sources" who speak on the condition of anonymity and provide equally misinformed rumors for other writers. The usher who wiped off your seat for a tip may be a "team source", but that doesn't make him credible.
As someone who strongly believes that the future of this club lies in creating a farm system that provides players rather than endless trade rumors, I could only hope that if Lastings Milledge is traded, it is not for someone like the banged up and burnt out Livan Hernandez nor some 2 month rental. What I am confident of, however, is that Mike Pelfrey will be going absolutely nowhere for no one before next January.
ESPN Insider ($): Livan
On his ESPN Insider blog, Jayson Stark quotes an unnamed GM on Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez:
I worry about his knee, especially since they want your best prospect back for him. But Livan is one of those guys who can pitch well when he wants to pitch. If he wants to pitch, he'll pitch. And if he doesn't want to pitch, he won't pitch. I think if he goes to the right team, he'll pitch. But for what it's going to cost, I'm not sure it's worth it. You don't want to pay that price and then find out you're wrong.
While it would be hard to argue against trading prospects for a young pitcher like Willis, to me Hernandez is another story. He's older, banged up, and not pitching well and has a huge contract through next year. Yet the Nationals are fairly confident that can land somebody like Milledge in return, because the market is bereft of anything palatable. Big mistake, in my mind.
ESPN: Pena Signed?
Enrique Rojas is reporting the Mets have signed 16-year-old catching prospect Francisco Pena, the son of former major-league catcher Tony Pena, although they won't announce until next week.
AP: A Mets prospect in the Futures game
Mike Fitzpatrick reports that a young Mets pitcher performed well in the All-Star Futures Game as the USA beat the World squad:
Flashing a 99 mph fastball, Matt Lindstrom of the New York Mets struck out two in the seventh and final inning for the save.
"I was floating out there. I never pitched in front of that many people. I had a great time," Lindstrom said. "Those guys told me how hard I was throwing. I didn't really realize it. I knew I had something on it today."