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Questions Anyone?

Dave MillsMonday, July 30, 2007
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...

About Dave: Dave Mills, born in Kew Gardens, Queens, the day after Willie Mays' circus catch in the 1954 World Series, is a devout Met fan since 1962. The first game he attended was Mets v. Reds at the Polo Grounds on September 14, 1962. With the game tied 9-9 in the 9th, Choo Choo ("Bub") Coleman hit a game-winning walkoff HR down the rightfield line on to the tin roof. The sound is indelibly etched in his memory! Dave lives on Oahu, where he markets and writes about golf. His company, HawaiiGolfDeals.com is the leading deliverer of golfers to the Aloha State. His take on Golf in Australia is in the Oct/Nov issue of Fairways & Greens Magazine.

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Comments (13)

Thank you for pointing out that the Mets have the best record in the National League right now, and that we should be glad that a team that was as banged up as the Mets have been this year, have perservered. It's nice to hear someone NOT bash the Mets for being successful.

Btw, the Mets got Luis Castillo from the Twins for practically nothing. He's a huge step up from the Gotay/Easley platoon. The Mets finally have their #2 hitter they've been looking for. Sure, he's not the speed demon he was a few years ago, but he still hits for average, doesn't strike out, and is an excellent fielder. Plus, he's a veteran playoff guy, having been to the playoffs with the Marlins and the Twins in the past few years. Good move, Omar!

As I hear Met fans on the fan screaming about how bad this deal was, I just didn't see how. They are looking at numbers that he has with the twins of course. Please look at what he has to work with in the 2 spot with the twins. The Twins don't have the leadoff hitter that the Mets do. Though I feel the Mets really could get it done with Gotay who I think is a real nice player. I really wanted to see the mets get that big bat to play in right. I have wanted Dye to come to the mets for some time now and I really think he is a big piece. Of course, you can't give away the farm to get him. I think Omar could get it done but I think the Mets are done and wait til after the deadline to make waiver deals.

how can any deal be bad when all you've given up is a couple bags of balls? We didn't give up a single prospect that the majority of us have probably even heard of before today.
Another classic low risk, high reward move by Omar.

"At a news conference at the Mets' spring training complex, Martinez said he plans to throw 45 pitches Wednesday for the St. Lucie Mets and could make another start for the Class A team before determining the next step in his comeback.

"I don't know how I'm going to be," Martinez said. "I just know I feel better than the last two years or so. ... Every time I throw I bounce back really quickly. Right now, I'm 100 percent healthy."

The 35-year-old righty, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, had rotator cuff surgery last Oct. 5, and threw to batters on June 26 for the first time after the operation. The Mets hope to have him back in their rotation next month."

The best trade that wasn't.

Dave - I know I sometimes catch myself sounding like a Yankees fan when I complain about the Mets' inconsistencies. But I'm not bitching that they're failing to run away with the division. I'm complaining that they're not playing up to their potential, despite the obvious buttload of injuries they've suffered through.

The fact that they're still a nose ahead of two good teams that are also playing down to their competition is just a happy coincidence so far. If they were 20 games over .500, and the Phillies and Braves were exactly as far back as they are right now, none of us would have any justifiable complaints.

That said, you're right overall in your post. And while Teixeira will help the Braves this year, in five years' time, this will end up being a read bad trade for them.

This was a good move for the Mets, but I hate to see time taken away from Gotay who has exceeded most expectations. Mets get a two slot hitter and basically give up nadda. Castillo's still got good enough range and will allow Reyes more ops to steal. Meanwhile the Braves have improved and don't be fooled, I remember when they got another firstbasemen (McGriff) that help secure them another title. This is going to come down to pitching and I would like to see another arm or two in the pen. With Pedro on the comeback trail, late August and September ought to be fun. Go Mets! Hey Beltran, man up and get back in the lineup they need you!

There is a type of Met fan that is emerging not only in blogs and radio but at the games too. The type that complains whenever a Met makes an out. The type that is not happy unless we're 20 games up in first. The type that expects the Mets to finish 162-0 and anything less is failure. The type that whines about the Mets unless they win the next 200 World Series games. [And then of course will pout when we don't win 201.]

Those people have two options: root for the Yankees, whose fans expect a WS every year, the best money can buy.
Or, root for the Braves, whose fans abandoned the team during their long run of 1st place finishes, to the point where the playoff games were half empty. That's some great fan support.

BTW: Great Castillo trade. Hope the Twins enjoy their peanuts

Lastings has a non-problematic flare? Did he spontaneously combust?

Silliness aside I agree with you regarding Milledge. I can't go along that Leyland has never taken a wrong step, however; he is fairly notorious for overworking his starters throughout his career, and several young pitchers paid the price for it. I am hoping his historic tendencies don't rise up and bite Detriot in the ass some day.

What was Willie thinking? Just about the same way any other national league manager would have thought. He wanted to have the pitcher bat as deep into the line up as possbile. If he had Castro pinch hit for the pitcher in the 7th, the pitcher would have batted in the 7th position (LoDuca's spot), with Castro in the 9th spot.

In hindsight he could have gone with Castro as the PH in the 7th, and the pitcher's spot would have been up last in the 8th, with Castro batting second in the 9th, but since both Anderson and Castro made out's in their only at bat-neither move made any difference to the eventual outcome.

I certainly hope the Reds don't trade Phillips to the Mets. I think its unlikely, but we do have Krivsky, who likes making crazy trades.

NostraDennis, I think you hit the nail on the head. I am not looking for absolute dominance like it was in 2006, but I agree they have not been living up to their potential. Which is disappointing. I can't complain about having the best record in the NL of course, but I can complain about dimwitted moves by our manager in a close game. ;-) I also want to say that while the Mets are very lucky they have made it this far with all the bangs and cuts and bruises...now that the Braves have Teixeira and the Phils are hungrier than ever...don't expect August and September to be a cake walk. I guess my thinking is this -- if they can't get their crapola together for a series against the Nationals for Petes Sakes, if they lose a series to the Braves, say, in August, will it be - oh well, dems the breaks...and the be the "second best" record in the NL? Just a thought, i think that's why Mets fans (like me) complain like we do.

Thanks, Coop. I'll be at the Blind Pig in spirit with you tonight. Make it a Heineken for me.

Cold stark fact - the Mets play the Phillies seven more times, they play the Braves nine times, and the Braves and Phillies play each other nine more times. Whichever team among them wins the bulk of those 25 games will win the division. The other two will make tee times in October.

Going back a few posts with castro hitting ninth there in the ninth. well when the pitchers spot which then would have been the 7th hole in the order, would have come up in the ninth and that is when marlon should have been used. that was my point. willie used 2 players for 1 situation which made absolutely no sense.

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