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The Stove Slowly Warms Up

Mike SteffanosSunday, October 22, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


I found quite a few of those "looking ahead" type of articles today, despite the fact that the World Series has just started.

Daily News: Rubin's Plan
Adam Rubin offers up four things he believes the Mets should do in the off-season. Let's look a them point by point:

1. Re-sign Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, Guillermo Mota and Chad Bradford

Hard to argue, although Glavine's family will have a lot to say about his return. Mota, despite some inconsistency in the playoffs, will be pricy to re-sign in the current market for relievers, as will Bradford. Bradford pitched surprisingly well against left-handers this season, and teams may be looking at his as a bridge to the closer, not just a one or two batter righty specialist. Still, if the Mets want to roll the dice at the bottom of the bullpen that's fine, but I agree with Rubin that they should try very hard to keep the late-inning group intact. Given the strong possibility that Aaron Heilman is a starter here or somewhere else next season, and keeping Mota and Bradford would seem that much more important.

2. Trade Lastings Milledge for an ace

Everyone tells us how far Lastings' stock has fallen, then in the next breath they still believe he can be a major chip for one of the rarest commodities in baseball -- a top of the rotation starter. If Milledge's value has dropped so much, it's important that the Mets properly evaluate his future. If they still believe he's going to be a good one, they will not want to sell low with this kid. If they don't believe in him anymore, than they should get whatever they can. I'm sure the overwhelming talk radio consensus is to deal him, but that doesn't necessarily make it the correct baseball move.

3. Sign Moises Alou and Julio Lugo

I was all for a reasonable rental of Alou when those rumors came around in July and August. I'm not sure how much I'd want to commit to a 41-year-old player who's been banged up over the past couple of years. I agree with the need to balance the lineup so they're not as vulnerable against left-handed pitching, but I'd like to see the Mets get a little younger and more athletic in the outfield.

As for Lugo, he's certainly an attractive player. Despite not hitting well after being traded to the Dodgers, I think he's a guy many teams see as an excellent offensive shortstop, which might make him pricey to the Mets as a second baseman. It wouldn't shock me if the market priced him elsewhere.

4. Stockpile starters

No argument here, particularly if we can avoid the Jose Limas and Geremi Gonzalezes of the world.

Bergen Record: Starting Pitching Options
Steve Popper does a good job of outlining some of the options the Mets will have in putting a rotation next year. I found this item about Jason Schmidt interesting:

Jason Schmidt is the other top-of-the-rotation free agent, compiling an 11-9 record with a 3.59 ERA for the Giants. But at 33, his numbers have dropped in recent years, fueling speculation within his own clubhouse that he used and stopped using steroids -- a charge he angrily denied.

I hadn't heard steroid rumors linked with Schmidt's name before. Putting that aside, it's the age and drop in numbers that would scare me away. The Mets need to get away from the fragility in their rotation that came back to bite them so hard at the end of the season, not to mention that Schmidt will likely receive a contract commensurate with his ability and production from 2 years ago. It's doubtful that his production will rebound back to that level.

NY Sports Day: Changes
Joe McDonald takes a position by position look at some of the roster changes we're likely to see next year.

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets

Continuous Mets Coverage:
MetsBlog
Hot Foot

Comments (11)

Milledge did nothing to convince me that he can't be a very good major leaguer, the possible exception being that he didn't make a seamless transition to playing the corner outfield positions. The greater question for the Mets might be, is the type of player Milledge will become what the Mets most need; or would they be better off with a slugger.

Trades made to adjust the mix of players need to be approached with caution; as with Cameron for Nady, you usually give up more value than you receive in making such trades. My own hope is that the Mets retain Milledge and try to pick up another outfielder with some pop on the cheap -- someone like the 2005 version of Mike Cuddyer for example (hey, the Twins have another one of those in Jason Kubel, who is likely to improve as his knee surgury becomes a thing of the past); or next year's Erubiel Durazo. Such players are available every year.

A Mets team that could choose to field Beltran, Chavez and Milledge -- that could be an air-tight outfield if Milledge settles in; and what a collection of arms. It could result in fifteen wins from Oliver Perez, who of course throws all those flyballs and needs the help.

"No" to Alou and Lugo, I hope. No more Shawn Green pickups either I hope.

I would like to see the Mets pick up one quality starter, retain Glavine, and leave the other two slots in the rotation to be filled from in house options: Heilman, Pelfrey, Humber, Bannister, etc.. I think you build a fan base by having players that a young fan can watch grow and enjoy for years; I'm ready for Humber or Pelfrey to become one of those guys. Invite several projects to spring training of course.

And keep the pen together! Roberto will be gone, and Hielman might be in the rotation, which means we need the rest of those chaps.

Okay, enough from me on this.

While Milledge may yet turn out to be something special, I do not think it will happen in NY. Apparently he has created too much animosity and most of those will probably be there for a while. Also his lack of plate discipline, while not necessarily fatal(see Reyes, Jose as to how it can improve), esp given his age, if he could be sent out for a YOUNG quality 2B and pitcher I would do so. I am not sure what is in the minors wi regards to inf help. Maybe Milledge/ Heilman for Zimmerman(I like Heilman but..), move Zim to 2B. If Humber, Pelfry pan out, PEDRO!! returns , Maine and Perez continue to improve, then the expected decline of Galvine(keep or go, I am 50/50) and EL DUQUE(who I would keep as he is versatile-Relief/start). That gives you Maine, Perez, Humber, Pelfry, Duque,Pedro,Glavine?-that allows Mota to go(the best place for young pitchers is long relief-Weaver,Earl not Jeff:).
No to Lugo and Alou- Lugo is a decent hitter ay best, but only as a 2B, Alou answers none of the pressing problems-When he is on the DL, ENDY!! will still be the OF sub, so no reduction of the LH bias in the lineup-Zimmerman would certainly help that. If I could type I would go on but this has taken long enough.
Love the site!

dd - I could see a scenario where Lastings could help the Mets more as a trade chip, but not if his value has dropped below where they evaluate him. It cracks me up when one writer after another talks about how his stock has dropped so far, and then in the next breath wants to trade him for Willis or someone similar. It's a lot easier to be a sportswriter (or a blogger) than a GM.

I'm with you on keeping as much of the bullpen together as possible, but I'd tend to doubt they will be able to hold onto all of them. It will be interesting to see if they can keep Mota.

Luis - Thanks for the kind words. Again, on Milledge my concern would be that if they trade him, they must receive proper value in return. If they feel his value as a chip had dropped below what they feel his worth truly is, they have to avoid trading him. If you're selling a car that you feel is worth $5,000 and someone offers you $2,000 for it, you may not want the car any more, but you're not going to take that deal.

I agree with you on Lugo and Alou.

Ahh the hot stove, this is FUN!
If you sign Moises Alou you CANT trade Lastings Milledge.
Hell, I think if you sign Alou, you platoon him with Floyd, that would be one kick ass LF, over-under for DL time for that bad boy?

I don't think its fair to say that Schmidt's success was because of steroids. I mean his fastball dropped for 2 reasons:
1) age
2) shoulder problems

Tada! I liked Schmidt as a rental but not as a guy you would have to commit to for MORE than 2 years, nah, screw that.

I like Zito and Matsuzaka. I find it hard to believe the Mets will come away with him this winter but whatever. Omar has made many surprises before.
He gets posted around the first or second week of November so whoever wins the bid ends the process, thankfully. Its not like the FA process where he's talking to like 8 teams.

I really liek Durazo, DD, too bad the man cannot field and would be just HORRIBLE to have even at first base :-(
And i don't think the Green pickup was too bad, I mean they got him to solidify "mediocrity". With Milledge you don't know what the hell you were gonna get. Was he gonna be horrible? bad? average? good? With Green you knew what you were gonna get.

With Milledge, I don't think it was discipline that was bad as he was decent in the minors. I think he was just pressing the whole time, he seemed kinda nervous. Hopefully calms down. I mean, I know what I saw during Spring Training, I saw a super talented player. He seemed much looser.

Benny - I agree with you on signing Schmidt for more than 2 years, especially when I hear he might get 4. I guess I could see a scenario where you have Alou, Floyd, Green and whoever else rotating at the corner OF slots, but the defense would not be all that great.

It is more fun to talk hot stove than whine about what we can't change, isn't it?

Ha! Nah, let's whine a little more.
"I wanna go to Miami..."

BTW, I wasn't suggesting picking up Duraso; rather I thought the Snakes were smart to pick him up back in 2001 or whenever.

It bears repeating that players with the goods are available, each and every year. A couple of years ago, Winter of 2004 in fact, at a certain message board I floated the idea of the Mets picking up this big, slow first baseman who was mouldering away in the minor leagues, even though he was knocking the cover offa the ball. His major league team had spent a fortune on a long term contract for another first baseman, a terrific player; this guy's only chance seemed to be elsewhere.

Fact is, Ryan Howard HAD to be available. But he was old for a rookie, questionable batting against the lefty's and no great shakes as a fielder. So with everyone focussed on what he might not be able to do, no one looked at what he could do, which was hit. No one bit, and when Jim Thome went down Howard grabbed his chance and made the position his own.

Not to say that a season of Doug Mientkiewicz didn't have its charms.

I say this: overpay for Bradford. Keep Mota, Valentin and El Duque if and ONLY if it's at a reasonable clip. Keep Tucker. Keep Chavez at all costs. Let Glavine, Floyd, Woodward, Trachsel, Oliver, Ledee, Bert an DiFelice walk-- the only exception being if Glavine wants to come back for relative chump change.

Sign Soriano and don't sign Zito-- switching to Scott Boras in the middle of a contract year says a lot about what he's really after. Also, two guys who I think we should sign that are going to come on the cheap would be two former Mets who we never should have given up to begin with-- Jay Payton and Octavio Dotel. No huge risk on either of them, and they could both produce nicely. As far as Milledge goes, we can't trade him. Bring him a long nice and easy and he'll be knocking on superstardom's door by this time next year. The Yankees are about to do this with Melky Cabrera. Now imagine Melky Cabrera was the next Garret Anderson with better defense and lower power numbers. That's what would happen to us. I trust that Omar also recognizes this.

Matt, the only way I see the Mets NOT going after Zito is if Omar can get Matsuzaka or he can trade for a big time pitcher.
And I can see Omar doing it. If he can't pull of getting a big time pitcher via trde then I expect and want Barry Zito.
I mean the Mets can techinically bring on alot of salary becuase they can put in guys like Pelfrey and Humber. Plus, if Milledge does in fact replace Floyd in the OF, that's another $7 million right there.

Its not about spending the money, its about spending it on the right player. And so far Omar has done an AMAZING job with this.

You know, I'm starting to buy into everything I'm reading that says the Mets don't really want to sign Zito. Of course that probably means that they'll sign him now...

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