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Arms for Sale?

Mike SteffanosMonday, March 3, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

I was somewhat surprised to find this in the Daily News today:

Mets GM Omar Minaya has let teams know that relievers Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa can be obtained in trades, according to sources briefed on the players' availability. Schoeneweis has two years and $7.2 million left on his original three-year deal. Sosa will earn $2 million in his final year before free agency.

The Mets like Rule 5 pick Steven Register, who has a deceptive fastball, but will have to offer him back to the Rockies if there isn't room in the bullpen at Shea. Trading Sosa would open the long-relief role and help get Mike Pelfrey onto the staff in some capacity.

I'm not shocked that they're shopping Schoeneweis. He had a nice strong finish last season when the ship was sinking, but he's proven himself to be a LOOGY rather than the multi-purpose guy the Mets seemed to believe they were signing. With Pedro Feliciano established as a fine middle reliever and Ricardo Rincon as an intriguing non-roster invitee the Mets might find someone willing to take Schoeneweis and at least some of his salary off their hands.

I'm more skeptical of the willingness to deal Jorge Sosa at this point. They have so little depth in the rotation right now. Sosa gives them rotation insurance and did a credible job last season in relief. He's still relatively cheap. Sure, he's going to probably leave as a free agent after the season, but I find it hard to believe the Mets would part with Sosa unless it brought back someone who filled a big need (like a RH 1B/OF type with some power). On a team where depth is a question mark at so many positions I guess this is possible.

Still, I worry about the starting pitching. It's nice that Mike Pelfrey is stepping up with all of the concerns about Orlando Hernandez, but who provides rotation depth if El Duque starts the season on the DL? The kids on the farm are young, Jason Vargas has to prove that off-season surgery has given him back enough velocity to compete in the majors, and then you have the washed up vets like Tony Armas who inspire little confidence.

Speaking of little confidence, Oliver Perez' first start has already started the vultures circling. For what it's worth, Perez was even worse in his first spring start last year -- even going Nuke LaLoosh on a photographer during warm-ups. Spring training starts are supposed to be for getting the arm ready and mechanics back. Yet some in the press insist on treating these games as if a pitcher is pitching for real. I've watched enough spring training games now to expect a pitcher's velocity to be down in his first few starts, yet I keep reading about a guy being a few MPH under his norm as if this is really a story.

I think there are some legitimate things to worry about with these 2008 Mets. Depth and age seem a problem in several areas and, as mentioned, I'm not at all comfortable with the starting pitching depth beyond Pelfrey. We don't need to manufacture worries here.

Sorry for the short and late post today. I had a client meeting that took up most of my late morning and early afternoon.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (7)

This is most likely a pipe-dream and not feasible, but I would love for Omar to swing a trade with Pittsburgh for X. Nady. He's the perfect RH power bat who can play a corner outfield position and first base.

X Nady was my wish list a few days ago, but it may be Kevin Miller from Balt.1b/of .254 17 hr/72 rbis, 26 doubles, I think we could make a deal for him. X Nady would cost us and we don't have to much to trade. But I agree he sure would fit very nicely At 1st base and in r/f with Church.Going righty lefty on the days needed to switch in the lineup. Omar are you trying?

Do you think the Mets would take a chance on a Brewers prospect they have no room for ? Matt Laporta a slugger major leaque ready 1st basemen. I would, would you?

I'd like Nady, too, but the Mets just can't afford to trade any more of their viable prospects, and I can't see the Pirates giving him away.

Al, Millar wouldn't be a bad pickup, but I'd rather see them find someone who can play a little more defense and some OF. I'd be surprised if the Mets were willing to take a chance on playing a prospect at 1B, but it is intriguing. This team HAS to get younger.

I think the Mets will look to a stopgap at 1st base, simply because Mark Texiera and Adam Dunn will hit the free agent market this offseason, and there's no way that the Reds and Braves will be able to retain them. Thus, a Kevin Millar or Scott Hatteberg trade would be a good idea. Low risk, high return, and not much money or prospects involved.

I like your thinking, Rev Al, but I had another in-the-way prospect in mind: Jason Huber.

Jason is still only 25; he can play a right handed first base, left field and even catch, all without using up any portion of his team's gracefullness allotment; his current team has no plans for him. And he can hit.

Plus, he is one of ours, GIVEN away in perhaps the oddest part of the ugliest sequence of transactions in recent Mets memory. He wouldn't cost us much, and I think he would be good for .275/22/80 if he got 500 at bats, or about four fifths full playing time. I want him back!

Regarding Sosa's availability, it is hard to understand if we remember how strong he looked for several starts when the team really needed him. It becomes easier when we remember why, last spring, none of us wanted him in the first place.

dd,I remember Jason Huber he looked like a keeper when we had him, not sure what happened but I too would welcome him back if the price was right. Maybe I was in lala land but I seen him then as an other Kieth Hernandez type of hitter.

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