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Keppinger Traded, New Stadium Clears IRS Hurdle

Mike SteffanosWednesday, July 19, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

In a move that's been rumored for a couple of days, the Mets and Royals have swapped minor-league infielders. According to the AP:

The Kansas City Royals sent Ruben Gotay to the New York Mets for Jeff Keppinger in a swap of minor league infielders Wednesday.

Gotay will be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk and Keppinger will play at Triple-A Omaha.

The 23-year-old Gotay was hitting .264 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs for Omaha this season. The switch-hitting second baseman played 130 games for Kansas City in the past two years, batting .242 with six homers and 45 RBIs.

It's been obvious for a while that the Mets did not have a high regard for Keppinger. I wish that they held onto him until the end of the year as insurance for something happening to Jose Valentin, but I wish him well and hope he gets a chance. I won't speculate on Gotay, who I know almost nothing about.

Bloomberg: IRS Approves Tax-Exempt Bonds for Stadiums
Martin Z. Braun reports that the IRS has approved the tax-exempt bonds that will fund both of New York's new baseball stadiums. Supposedly, this is the final hurdle to seeing something go up in the Shea stadium parking lot.

Minor League Baseball: Humber dominates
Benjamin Hill reports that Phil Humber took another step in his comeback from Tommy John surgery with a strong effort yesterday:

Philip Humber struck out nine over five shutout innings to lead St. Lucie to a 4-1 win over visiting Lakeland on Wednesday afternoon.

Humber (2-1) scattered four hits and did not walk a batter. The 2004 first-round draft pick underwent "Tommy John" surgery last July, and did not make his 2006 debut until June 22. The 23-year-old allowed just one runner past second base, and his nine strikeouts marked a season high.

Thanks to Ed for the heads-up on this.

MSGNetwork.com: Joel, we have to stop meeting like this
I can't help it, I find myself agreeing with Joel Sherman again:

Right now the starting pitching trade market is slender. The starter the Mets are most associated with is Washington's Livan Hernandez. And short of the Nationals just giving him to the Mets and paying a substantial piece of his $7 million for next season, that feels like a really bad idea.

Because to like the concept of bringing Hernandez to Flushing means you have to believe that he is essentially jaking it for the Nationals. There is a theory that he has pitched so poorly in 2006 because he is not with a contender and, therefore, is not giving full effort and concentration. Is that really the kind of guy you want on your team?

There is a belief that thrust into a pennant race and playing alongside his half-brother, Orlando, that Livan would be re-energized and perform well. That is quite a risk to take. To give up prospects and pay a sizable contract all in the hopes that a pitcher is being unprofessional some place else.

It is just as easy to believe that Hernandez's giant workload of the past few years simply has caught up with him. In the previous six seasons, Hernandez had thrown the most innings in the majors. And he was not a low-pitch count guy within those innings. His success was always based on him being crafty, not overpowering. So if he has lost even a little of his touch and/or velocity, it is hard to imagine him being successful wherever he were to end up. And the clues are substantial that he has lost something.

... That is why Maine and, especially, Pelfrey are so important and interesting. They are young and untested. But they have big arms. Maine had 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. In the minors, Pelfrey was a strike-throwing, groundball machine. Does either have the endurance, consistency and fortitude to pitch in a big way now in the majors? Who knows?

But it is hard to believe that either is going to be worse than, at least, the 2006 version of Livan. Pelfrey, in particular, has a pedigree that suggests big things. Again, it may be too early for him to express those big things in the majors. However, count me in as curious to see if that is so.

The Mets may yet look back at when Pedro was injured as a key positive in their season.

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Comments (5)

Mike, I am all for keeping Maine and Pelfry with the Mets for this run into the playoffs; as long as Maine stays in the bullpen to help out Oliver on all those times that Randolph needs a pitcher in the 3rd and 4th innings(and, often earlier). Pelfry looks as though he has the moxy to make a significant contribution down the stretch, and if Maine can control his stuff, he could air it out in relief, and not worry about conserving anything like he does as a starter. I think the Mets should only look for extra starters if Pedro is hurt worse than they are letting on(that might well be true too), and only then if they can somehow get Willis or Zito w/o giving up the rest of the farm system and all of the short relief! Unlikely, so let's stick with Pelfry and Maine, and hope Bannister comes back strong. You know I'm a proponet of the power arm, and Zito realy doesn't fit that bill(but he'd be ok if we could sign him over the winter while going after another arm as well). I think there are enough veterans to keep the younger guys under control, and giving Pelfry a 1/2 season to get grounded will pay great rewards this fall.

What I would like to know is, is Reuben Gotay the son of Julio Gotay, who played in the 1960's? They are both from Puerto Rico, both middle infielders. But the timeline is less than perfect; Julio would have been 44 or so when Reuben was born.

I ask because Julio was a fellow mentioned in Jim Brosnan's first book, The Long Season. As I remember it, it was the Cardinals' spring training camp in 1959, and the 20 year old Gotay was getting a look-see. In one game he made three errors in an inning, doing some serious damage to the chances of a veteran pitcher trying to impress the team and get another summer wearing the sanitary hose; it's been forever since I read it, but I think it was Sal Maglie pitching. Anyway, as Brosnan tells it, "It can't have inspired confidence for Maglie, looking over to check the baserunner, to see Gotay, a player of almost unlimited potential, going into his crouch at second base."

Julio never realized that "unlimited potential," of course. Maybe this Gotay will fare better.

George, I'm with you. When you look at what's available out there, and the cost to acquire it, you might be better off rolling the dice with what you have.
dd -- I think they said something about Julio Gotay being his uncle during the game last night.


1. Im a fan of Kepp. But gotay was a good swap. Again Gotay IS insurance at 2B. He has ML experience. Also Ahern is a SS and hits like one.

2. The livian trade is at this point NONSENSE!! Bowden has continually asked for the Metworld in trade. The D-backs are a better match and likely give up Batista and cruz. I'd give em Arz resident Traxx in return (kidding). Likely Heilman (ala Kepp) is gone. Vic diaz loves the BoB and Arz are going to trade Green so that fits.

3. Its getting close but Livian is NOT the ans, Batista is better, younger and WS tested.

I hear you on Gotay, Ed.

We're going to always disagree on Heilman, because Batista is 35, and I'd rather see Heilman get a shot to start than trade him for a 35-year-old.

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