By Dave Mills
The best record in the NL isn't good enough for you?
If I hear one more whining Mets fan on WFAN or on the blogs, I am going to stand up and scream. What do you guys want? There can only be one best record in the league. Sure, they should have the best record in MLB, but only the BoSox, Tigers, Indians and Halos have a better percentage. Get over it. The injuries have been debilitating. It started with Sanchez, then Pedro, then Milledge, then Alou, then Green, then Endy, then Gomez, then Valentin (although hurt long before), and now Beltran and perhaps LoDuca. Granted, the Phillies and Braves have helped out by playing even more inconsistently than the Mets, but the flip side to all this is we are likely to have most of those guys (except Sanchez and Valentin), healthy and playing when it really counts.
Do we really need a second baseman?
Not when we need have Gotay/Easley/Anderson. All right, none are gold glovers and all are slightly less than average in the field, but they are all better than Robinson Cano with the glove. Gotay is tearing up righties and Easley feasts on lefties. Most of the names mentioned--Grudz, Lorreta, Castillo and Belliard--are on the downswing of their careers. And Ronnie looks like he can't stay away from the buffet. Only Brian Roberts or Brandon Phillips would be worth giving several "A" players for and shaking up the roster. With Willie Randolph as head coach, and one of the steadiest second sackers in the history of the game, can't he work with Gotay to improve his defense?
Is Lastings a keeper?
Can't imagine why not? He has a very quick bat, decent eye, speed and a strong arm. Certainly looks more comfortable in CF than the corners, but has shown radical improvement over last year. His flare is not really problematic. No greater or worse than Dykstra, who managed to inspire his team and the fans. Clearly, he is the antithesis of the low-key Beltran. And with Carlos likely out for a couple of weeks, Milledge has his chance to shine like never before.
What was Willie thinking?
Inquiring minds want to know if the assembled masses of media at Shea posed the question to Willie, after Saturday's second game, as to what he was thinking when he sent Marlon Anderson to the plate, rather than Castro, when LoDuca was removed from the game? This confirms the fact that Willie is no Leyland when it comes to never making a bad move (has Leyland ever erred?). That being said, one mistake every couple of months is OK from a guy with such good leadership skills in terms of rapport with his players and coaches. And where exactly were his coaches on that one?
Who are Omar's best trading chips right now?
The "A" list: Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber, Ruben Gotay, Joe Smith, Anderson Hernandez, Jason Vargas
The "B" list: Caleb Stewart, Mike Carp, Willie Collazo, Ryan Cullen, Steve Schmoll, Corey Coles
How about these deals?
While we can speculate all we want, there are deals that CAN get done and those that won't.
D-Train would be a great acquisition, but still a most unlikely deal. The "same division" argument is mollified by who offers the Fish the most. Willis pitched a gem on Saturday. The Marlins desperately need a centerfielder. No way I deal Milledge (certainly can't now), Gomez (injured and can't be dealt, nor would I) or Fernando Martinez. They also need starting pitching, a closer, catching, a backup middle infielder and a lefty out of the pen. Pelfrey or Humber, Jorge Sosa, Corey Coles and Collazo or Cullen might get this deal done.
Another deal that may be far more plausible involves the Nationals. Omar likes Chad Cordero. I like John Rauch. The Nats need outfielders and middle infielders. How about Humber or Pelfrey, Mota, AHern and Caleb Stewart?
Jeff Conine could be had for a far lesser price than most of the other deals being thrown around, but what if a serious attempt was made to bring him in as a throw-in to a Brandon Phillips deal? Gotay, Vargas, Joe Smith (he's from Cincinnati), Carp and Cullen or Collazo might get this done.
All of these deals should help all the parties and deplete the Mets of pitching prospects. But does it matter with Pedro, Willis, Maine, Perez and El Duque starting and Wags, Cordero, Feliciano, Heilman, Schoeneweis and Rauch in the pen? The Mets would still have starters Brian Lawrence, Kevin Mulvey, Michael Devaney, Deolis Guerra and relievers Sanchez, Padilla, Schmoll and Burgos, among others.
Minaya can go in another direction and try to acquire Brian Roberts or Miguel Tejada (if he will play 2B) and get Chad Bradford back from the O's. Bradford obviously does better under the tutelage of Rick ("the jacket") Peterson. Mazzilli thinks the world of Roberts. Duquette and company would love to remove Tejada from the payroll, but he was victimized by Omar in the Chris and Anna Benson deal, which yielded John Maine and eventually El Duque. Perhaps the best deal Minaya has ever made. Gotay, Smith, Vargas, Carp and Cullen or Collazo are just a few of the many Mets that would be sent to Baltimore.
The Braves gave a lot away to snare Texiera for a rental through next season. He may struggle against NL pitching. He may not! Kyle Lohse to the Phils is not going to get them to the postseason. What will Omar do?
The clock is ticking away...