By Mike Steffanos
The two hottest rumors for outfield help this weekend seem to be Arizona's Shawn Green and Houston's Preston Wilson. The Green rumors have been around since before the trade deadline, while Wilson was just designated for assignment by the Astros yesterday.
In a story today, the local Phoenix area East Valley Tribune seems to be of the opinion that a trade is imminent. Although contractually Green could be traded only to a limited number of west coast teams, they feel Green's close relationship with Carlos Delgado going back to their playing days together in Toronto would make him consider coming here. I'm sure the chance to be in the playoffs wouldn't hurt either.
The problem for me is that the 33-year-old Green is in the midst of a career decline that's been progressing steadily downward for 4 seasons. Green's contract runs through next year with an option for 2008 with a buyout. The Tribune seems to feel that the Diamondbacks would be willing to pay to clear Green out of Phoenix:
From the D-Backs' perspective, a deal would be more about clearing right field for Carlos Quentin while gaining payroll flexibility moving forward. Green is due $9.5 million in 2007 and has a $10 million option with a $2 million buyout for 2008. Newsday reported that the Mets would want the D-Backs to pay half of Green's 2007 salary and the $2 million buyout in 2008.
While the D-Backs make it a practice not to include money in a trade, this might be an exceptional case, sources indicated.
Green is still a solid player, and would bat down in the batting order for the Mets, but he's a guy who has managed only 10 home runs in that launching pad in Arizona in almost 400 ABs. Do we really want to give up much value for Shawn, and pay him almost $5 million next year in what's likely to be a reserve role? Also, unless the Mets foresee problems with Cliff Floyd returning at all, there is going to be a glut of left-handed hitting outfielders on this team. Is Green at this stage of his career a significant upgrade over Tucker and Ledee? I'm not convinced.
Which brings us to Preston Wilson, stepson of Mookie and right-handed OF. Houston has designated him for assignment because his creaky knees have turned him into a shell of the All-star talent he once was, and his power numbers aren't there. We all know that Houston is a right-handed power hitter's paradise that can make mediocre guys look like great players (see Morgan Ensberg), yet Wilson managed just 9 dingers in almost 400 ABs.
When the Mets played the Astros this year it was painfully obvious that Wilson could barely chase down fly balls. I wouldn't make a deal with the Astros for Wilson unless it involved very minor prospects. Now that Wilson has been DFA, the 'stros have 10 days to decide what to do with him. The team beat writer for MLB.com thinks it's most likely Preston will be outright released:
Assuming [the Astros] do not succeed in trading him to another team, they will be responsible for paying the remainder of his $4 million contract, which calculates to approximately $1.6 million. ... The Astros have been discussing trade possiblities with several clubs, but it's more likely that Wilson will be granted his release after 10 days and become a free agent.
At that point it might be worth it to take a flyer on Wilson. If he could give the Mets anything as a right-handed OF, why not? Honestly, though, this guy is standing on the threshold of retirement. I don't think it's reasonable to expect much.