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To Do or Not To Do?

Dave MillsTuesday, June 16, 2009
By Dave Mills

The Mets are surely floundering, albeit gamely, without Reyes, Delgado, Pagan, Putz, Perez and Maine, among others. Perhaps the great unmentioned are the various nagging injuries to almost the entire playing roster, save a handful of younger players. Beltran, Sheffield, Church, Cora, Schneider and Castillo all are playing with injuries, discomfort and/or pain.

A couple of observations are necessary to set the table for the balance of this piece.

No doubt, the Mets most valuable player is Jose Reyes. Without Jose setting the table, creating havoc on the bases and showing his considerable range at shortstop, the Mets are just not the scary team that opponents have to tackle from the first pitch.

No doubt, the 80-pitch drills and emphasis on going to the opposite field has worked. In fact, it has worked so well that the power numbers have tumbled precipitously. Citi Field also has a say in the new approach to hitting. But the combination of the two has created a conundrum for the Mets' brass. High team batting average and woeful power production is tough to resolve.

And no doubt, there are some key players struggling to be consistent. The primary suspects in this regard are Daniel Murphy (OF was not clearly not his forte and while more comfortable at 1B, he is in a terrible slump), Ryan Church (should never have been taken out of the lineup when he was hot early) and Fernando Tatis (no lefties early meant no playing time). In the pitching department, Pelfrey and Maine have to find some level of consistency.

Making deals becomes a more complex endeavor each year.

The Mets are vulnerable to being taken over the coals. Their needs are great and the market is slim pickings.

While most of us would like to hold on to the two best hitting prospects (Fernando Martinez and Murphy) and two best pitching prospects (Brad Holt and Jon Niese)-if Minaya wants to deal-two or three of these guys has to be in the mix. Sure, there are others that can be put in the fold, but those are the gems. Second-tier prospects like Dillon Gee, Eddie Kunz and Nick Evans (if he actually retains such a designation) can be included, but will not get the job done without the cream. The only players the Mets can move from the active roster will be Ryan Church, Brian Stokes and perhaps John Maine, if he has a several strong starts before July 31.

What's a GM to do?

Well... let's consider all the relevant issues.

The Mets have to generate some power and bide time for Delgado to return. They are getting extremely deficient offensive production from 1B, LF and RF. Including Sheffield, Church, Murphy, Tatis, Reed, Pagan and F-Mart, the Mets have only 15 HR and 79 RBI from 1B and the corner OF spots sans Delgado (4 HR/23 RBI). As a comparison, there are a few players endeavoring at the corner positions, like Raul Ibanez (22/59), Jason Bay (17/64) and Mark Teixeira (20/54), who have similar stats to the Mets compliment of eight players sharing those responsibilities.

It sure seems that Jeremy Reed should at least be platooning at one of the corner OF spots. Sheffield is at best a platoon player at this point in his career. F-Mart shows some promise, but is clearly lacking power at this point in his young career. Platooning is fine as he learns how to play in The Show. The catching platoon of Schneider (a placeholder for Josh Thole, perhaps the most impressive hitter in the Mets system) and Omir Santos is above average. Alex Cora is a terrific middle infield/pseudo coach/role player.

From this observer's vantage point, holding on to F-Mart and Holt is imperative to a success quotient for the future.

So here are a couple of deals that might be able to get done:

Make a deal now with the Orioles for Aubrey Huff and Nolan Reimold. Likely, they could be obtained for Daniel Murphy and Nelson Figueroa. Huff would platoon with Tatis and Reimold with F-Mart. The Mets pick up a lefty and righty bat where they are needed. Granted, they are both lacking defensively, but adequate in a platoon with the complimentary player being a better fielder. While Murphy will likely be a very good pure hitter, there is some question about whether he can provide the requisite power for a first baseman, which appears to be a good position for the youngster.

The followup deal for late July could be John Maine, Jon Niese and Ryan Church for Roy Halliday. A prospect such as Gee, Kunz or Evans (if he comes around) could sweeten that deal for the Jays.

There is no short end of the stick here for anyone and all three teams should improve.

If the Mets can make one or both of these deals, have a healthy Reyes, Putz and Wagner for August and September, it might be a stretch run to remember fondly regardless of what happens with Delgado (not in the picture next year) and Perez (should return to form at some point).

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 (10)

I have to remind myself, that the Mets are still in second place and only 3 games back of the Phils inspite of all that has happened to this club. However I concur, an addition has to made in the pitching and position player ranks. I am grateful that Sheff, Santos, Cora, Reed, and others have steppped in and contributed, but there is no real consistancy with the Mets right now. F-Mart is still raw and has a few things to learn, Murph is still battling back from being thrust into being the "starting leftfielder" to finally getting comfortable at a position and rediscovering his stroke. By the way he has hit the ball very hard lately, unfortunately, it has been right at someone. They will eventually find their holes and he will be back on track. The things is that most of the Mets left-handed hitters are not taking advantage of that short porch in rightfield. Chase Utley hits 3 homers there in a 3 game series, and these guys have played atleast 25 games there and can't put up better numbers? The only corner outfielder to have more than 5 homers is Sheff, and he is playing on bad wheels. It seems no one is trying to take advantage of going to rightfield often enough including D. Wright. While I am not exactly complaining, there is something that has to be done. Is Sammy Sosa available? How about Juan Gonzalez? Rafeal Palmiero? Brady Anderson? Mark McGuire? Any suspected/convicted PED user with life still left in their bat? Go Mets 2009!

memo to jerry manuel, maybe if u are still the manager, next spring u can have your charges go thru home run drills.the hit the ball to opposite field drill is not working out that well.bottom line is if we had wagner closing this year we'd be 7 or 8 games out and just about done.THE ONLY REASON WE ARE IN HAILING DISTANCE OF THE PHILS WITH THIS BUNCH OF NO HUSTLE, NO FIELD, CAN'T CATCH POPUPS OR FLYBALL TEAM IS FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!! what an amazing closer..

Good article... until you got to your proposed trades. Here:

"Make a deal now with the Orioles for Aubrey Huff and Nolan Reimold. Likely, they could be obtained for Daniel Murphy and Nelson Figueroa."

Um... what?! On what planet are the O's dealling Reimold for that package, let alone Reimold AND Huff? They're going to trade their top outfield prospect, one who has been smacking the ball around since his call-up, AND their everyday 1B with pop, for a journeyman pitcher and a no-field, no-pop .AVG guy who hasn't been hitting for .AVG? But that isn't as hysterical as your next suggestion:

"The followup deal for late July could be John Maine, Jon Niese and Ryan Church for Roy Halliday. A prospect such as Gee, Kunz or Evans (if he comes around) could sweeten that deal for the Jays."

There are no words for how ludicrous this is. Okay, the second best pitcher in the majors (arguably the best) for... a number 3/4 starter, a platoon RF, and a minor league pitcher who might be nothing.

Okay, we got Santana for less, I'll admit. But the Santana deal was a once-in-a-lifetime steal. The Jays have been reluctant to deal the face of their franchise, and they've already gone on record saying that if they deal Halladay, they expect a boatload. Niese, Maine, and Church, even with another minor prospect, is not a "boatload". Start with Reyes. THAT'S what it'll take to get Halladay.

I concur with Tom. Those are some of the most ridiculous trade proposals I've heard in a long time, and does nothing but provoke the hordes of uneducated Met fans to unjustifiably hammer Omar for not trading the Mets' junk for other teams' gold. Aubrey Huff is going to take Jon Niese and/or Bobby Parnell to acquire at the least, and Halladay would likely cost a package centered around Reyes/FMart/Holt. Wise up!

If we are talking about all things are possible, I would trade our gems in a package for Adrian Gonzalez and fill in the blanks later.

Glad the trade proposals elicited some response.

To Tom and Is...

I am sure the O's would trade either Huff or Reimold straight up for Murphy. They also need starting pitching, so a Nelson Figueroa or a Dillon Gee could fill that bill now or later. Neither Huff or Reimold are complete players. In fact, they are platoon-type players. Murphy will either be a very good first baseman or DH and will gain pop. That being said, Camden Yards is made to order for him to add the power equation. For the O's, he will also be a far less expensive alternative to Huff.

As for Halladay and the Jays... no way the Mets will (or should) trade Reyes. As I said, he is their MVP. Not a perfect player, but lightning in a bottle. The Jays do need a left-handed hitting OF (Church or F-Mart) and they would need a number of arms, at least one MLB-ready (Maine) and at least one near ready high-level prospect (Niese). If it's Church rather than F-Mart, throw in an Eddie Kunz and that is a boatload more than the Twins got and likely as much or more than anyone will be inclined to give up and take on an enormous salary.

Frankly, standing pat is not such a bad position for the Mets, as the future with Thole, Holt, Parnell, F-Mart, Niese, Flores and the others doesn't look too bad, especially if most of the troops can stay healthy. A deal with the O's can get done. Giving away too many chips for Halladay does not really make sense even if the Mets can afford Halladay, which is not a given in the Bernie aftermath.

To Rev Al...
The Pads have Gonzales at $3 mil annually for a few more years, so trading him would be nuts. Clearly, the most underpaid player in the game. But wouldn't he be a perfect fit?

To Gary...
K-Rod is very good, but so was Wags in his day, which probably ended in 2007. He is making a full-blown effort to come back and justify his contract. Who knows? I actually like the Mets chances with him as the 8th Inning set-up man for the last two months rather than Parnell (or Putz). How 'bout you?

To LJ...
Some very nice points. It is really tough to train going to the opposite field (which really means going to the gaps, not down the line) and then trying to do what Utley did at Citi Field. While having Delgado, with his raw power and against the constant shifts, work on hitting to the opposite field makes perfect sense, it has taken the power away from Wright, Beltran and Church. Sheffield wasn't there and continues to pull the ball down the line for his HRs. Training muscles in repetitive drills does work. Since Beltran and Wright were never really pull hitters (except Beltran from the right side), this experiment is interesting. But Citi Field has thrown a kink in the works. Tatis is a very good case in point. His power generally came from LF to right/center, but not a real pull-hitter down the line. Citi Field breaks his back. Murphy is not ready to mimic Utley and is probably best as an opposite field, Gwynn-style hitter. If he tries to take it down the line, he will succeed, but he will also strike out a lot more.

dave, in all due respect, re: wagner.he threw 97mph but it was straight most of the time without movement.krod throws 93-94 mph and has a breaking ball and change up that he makes move like a wiffle ball on a windy day.to me, a top flight closer has to save games at a 90 per cent rate.wagner averaged about 80 per cent..do the numbers and if k rod was a met the last 2 years and averaged 90 percent on closing chances, we make the playoffs the last 2 years.that's the diference between a great closer (rivera, krod??) versus a very good closer like a wagner.. if brad lidge (who had a great year, but is not a great closer) just blows 4 games last year, we make the playoffs.with this team, the only way we'll stay in the race is if krod saves a minimum of 90 per cent of his save chances.GO K-ROD!!!!

Dave -

After having read your logical, well-thought out rationalizations for your trade proposals...

... you're still out of your mind.

Great site man, I'll tell people on my forum about it. I left you the link to it so all you got to do is click on my name.

Good work, I'll ttyl.


I like wags and anticipate his return....just in time to be traded to St lou.

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