By Dave Mills
Staying away from moving quality young talent for two month rental players is not a discipline familiar to some general managers. Omar Minaya showed restraint and respect for what may actually be a very underrated talent pool. In fact, most of the so-called baseball experts say the Mets are devoid of prospects after Fernando Martinez. Not so!
Clearly, Jon Niese may have been the most sought after Met prospect during the past month, a month in which the Mets moved Niese from AA to AAA. But there is a rather interesting talent pool being cultivated and promoted through the system.
This week, Daniel Murphy, a 23-year-old left-handed hitting third sacker, who has been experimenting at 2B, 1B and OF, was also promoted to AAA. He has already torn it up at Binghamton and in Class A ball. Along with Mike Carp, a 22-year-old left-handed hitting DH/1B, who has also played a little OF, and is tearing it up at the AA level, the Mets have two impressive power-type hitters who swing from the left side. Both of these sluggers have remarkably similar statistics with excellent walk/strikeout ratios, power, high average and are consistent run-producers. Murphy and Carp are legitimate prospects at 1B (or OF, if Church cannot recover from his concussion syndrome) sometime during the next two seasons. Potential right-handed compliments at 1B or the corner OF slots may well be Nick Evans or Fernando Tatis, who has earned strong consideration for the 2009 Citi Field roster.
No doubt, FMart, Murphy, Carp, Evans, Argenis Reyes, Wilmer Flores, along with arms like Niese, Robert Parnell, Eddie Kunz, Eude Brito and Salvador Aguilar were all highly coveted, and for good reason. I would be surprised if three of these players are not contributing by next season (of course two already are there) and five or six by 2010.
All that being said, I would have given up two of this group--Parnell/Brito/Aguilar/Carp/Evans--plus two "B" prospects for Nady and Marte. Wouldn't that have been a better gain for the Bucs than what they received from the Highlanders?
MINAYA'S 5 BEST MOVES AFFECTING THE METS NOW
1. Johan Santana deal
2. Replacing Randolph with Manuel (in spite of the sloppy transfer)
3. Anna Benson for John Maine
4. Damion Easley for the bench
5. Bringing in Fernando Tatis
MINAYA'S BEST NON-MOVE AFFECTING THE METS NOW
Not including Mike Pelfrey in the Santana deal
MINAYA'S 5 WORST MOVES AFFECTING THE METS NOW
1. Heath Bell to the Pads for who?
2. Not protecting Jesus Flores
3. Failure to re-sign Chad Bradford
4. Failure to re-sign Darren Oliver
5. Signing Luis Castillo to a four-year deal rather than one-year
Imagine the Mets bullpen with:
With that pen, the Mets are probably six or seven games in front right now and win over 100 games.
Speaking of Heilman, the past two weeks probably would have brought as much value as the Mets could ever have gotten for Aaron.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
The Mets may well have the two leading candidates for NL Player of the Month in Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis. Both had a sensational and surprising July. Tough call, except that Delgado had 95 at-bats to Tatis' 76. But also take a look at Jose Reyes:
Delgado: 19 R/33 hits/7 doubles/9 HR/23 RBI/67 TB/14 BB/.430 OBP/.705 SLG/.347 AVG
Tatis: 14 R/29 hits/7 doubles/6 HR/18 RBI/56 TB/ 9 BB/.447 OBP/.737 SLG/.382 AVG
Reyes: 18 R/37 hits/9 doubles/3 HR/15 RBI/61 TB/14 BB/.411 OBP/.555 SLG/.336 AVG
Jose also had 3 triples, 10 stolen bases and only 10 strikeouts.
BEST DEADLINE DEAL
The Braves pickup of Casey Kotchman was a superb piece of general managing. Kotchman is 25 years old and a solid lefty first-baseman (8 errors and a .997 fielding percentage in 313 games) and hitter (to all fields and lefties at a .341 clip). Best of all, he is under contract at bargain rates through 2011.
Look for the Angels, Highlanders and Orioles to battle it out for Mark Teixeira. The Mets will be beter served to develop from within rather than pay the sum Teixeira will certainly command.