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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