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Sell High, Buy Low and Other Unlikely Strategies

Dave MillsSaturday, November 21, 2009
By Dave Mills


Hot Stove has arrived and speculation runs rampant as usual. As Mets fans, we have little else to think about or cheer.

So, how do Jeff and Omar set forth to right the ship?

Let me throw my two cents worth in the pot...

Firstly, 2009 was an aberration and will not likely ever happen again.

Now to the more practical observations...

I have serious doubts about a few of our pitching mainstays (Perez, Maine and Pelfrey). I see some real nice potential from a handful of young players (Murphy, Pagan, Thole as well as Francoeur and Wright). I worry about nagging injuries (Beltran and Reyes). And what happened to our defense?

There's quite a bit of talk of unloading Luis Castillo's contract for another problem contract. Not a bad idea because he did have a terrific year and stayed healthy. Sell high. Outside of the dropped pop-up in The Bronx, he was very, very good. In fact, other than a loss of some range and a middling arm at 2B, he was the Castillo of old at the dish. That being said, no matter who we replace him with at 2b, it will not be the difference maker. Pray that Omar stays away from Milton Bradley and all his mind games. The proposed three-way where the Mets get Kevin Millwood works for me, but why would the Rangers do it? Right now, at 2B, I like Brandon Phillips (if he can be had) by a slight margin over life-long Mets fan Orlando Hudson.

There continues to be a lot of fannies not too pleased with Daniel Murphy at 1B. These folks need to have their heads examined. Murphy has talent and it is clear to many that 1B may be just the fit. He showed quickness, range and aggressiveness. Give him a couple of seasons and some good instruction and there could even be a fine fielder in the making. Not only that, but he can rake. He led the team in dingers. Yes, by default more than design, but he also hits into the power alleys for an amazing number of two-base hits. With Ike Davis on the horizon (who also hits from the left side), the Mets actually have some prospect depth at the first sack. Nothing wrong with importing a right-handed platoon guy, but Nick Evans might be more than serviceable.

A four-step program to right the Mets ship...

1. LOAD UP ON SOUTHPAWS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HUGE CITI FIELD OUTFIELD DIMENSIONS.
No doubt about it, right-handed power hitters struggle in Citi Field. Only those who dead-pull are able to clear the fences. Those with opposite field power (like David Wright and Matt Holiday), just hit catchable fly balls. Even Mike Piazza would struggle at Citi. On the other hand, it seems the better place to hit big flies is to right field from the left side of the dish. So, why not load up on lefthanders? Three or four southpaws in the rotation is an absolute must. And the Phillies would be pretty vulnerable to such a rotation. How about Santana, Wolf, Millwood, Niese and Perez? Sorry, the Mets have to give Oliver a chance to redeem himself (not unlike Castillo) and then move him if things go well. Even if they land Doc Halladay (which would likely mean moving Big Pelf and several others), they can still trot out three or four southpaws. This would also work to the advantage of a heavily right-handed bullpen, which the Mets already feature. Give us the lefty starters and stay clear of the Harangs, Arroyos, Pinieros and Marquis.

2. MOVE JOHN MAINE TO THE 8TH INNING SETUP ROLE
Why not? Maine has the size, strength and velocity. He also runs out of juice in the 5th or 6th as a starter. With a rotation of three to four lefties and Bobby Parnell for the 7th, this could work and is certainly worth a try at no cost.

3. GET A LEFTY SWINGING LF WITH POP, SPEED, YOUTH AND A GOOD GLOVE
Here are the candidates for a trade: Andre Ethier (pretty much the perfect model), Nick Markakis (does it all and is durable), Curtis Granderson (speed and fine "D", but doesn't hit for high average and strikes out too much). Slim pick-ins among the FAs. No way the Mets should pay for sub-par fielders Holliday or Bay, as a lefty swinger is a far better fit with Frenchy in RF and Beltran in CF, especially with Angel Pagan as the perfect switch-hitting 4th OF. Beltran should always be rested on day games after night. Pagan can also spell Frenchy against real tough righthanders and the LF against real tough southpaws, which should capture at least 350 ABs in a balanced OF mix. Granderson appears to be the most obtainable option.

4. IT'S ALL ABOUT SPEED AND DEFENSE IN CITI FIELD.
The Mets need gloves and some crafty baserunners. Murphy will be better at 1B. Hudson or Phillips deliver more speed, range and arm than Castillo. Jose will be better than any of the fill-ins. David Wright has to be better than 2009. Bengie Molina and Santos are a nice defensive pair behind the dish. Granderson/Beltran/Francoeur are as good an OF as any in the game. With Pagan as a 4th OF and a good utility glove in the INF, the Mets will play far better "D" in 2010. Speed will also be improved if several of the players targeted here get to Citi Field.

DEALS
How about...
A lefty swinging LF:
Me thinks Ethier will never happen, but could Markakis be pried away from Baltimore for F-Mart, Parnell, Brad Holt and Shawn Bowman? The Glen Cove native is one of the most underrated players in the game.
or
Mike Pelfrey, F-Mart, Ruben Tejada, Sean Green and Pat Misch for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Try this on for size..,
Big time arm:
Pelfrey, Parnell, Holt, Tejada and Jeremy Reed for Roy Halladay

PREDICTIONS
Omar and Jeff will make pitching the centerpiece of the rebuild and sign FAs Molina (a great defensive catcher with some power), Alex Cora, Marco Scutaro, Randy Wolf, and either Darren Oliver or Chad Bradford, and make a deal for Curtis Granderson. Fernando Martinez and Brad Holt will be moved, but Ike Davis and Jon Niese will not. Luis Castillo will still be the Mets second sacker. Adrian Gonzales will go to the Red Sox in a blockbuster deal. Lackey goes to the Brewers.

Mets will have big strikeout numbers among their hitters, but they will hit 130-135 HRs and be in the top-3 NL clubs in hitting. Defense will improve radically and they will be among the top-3 clubs in MLB in steals.

Here is the lineup:
S - Jose Reyes, SS Has to return to form and stay healthy
S - Luis Castillo, 2B Can he repeat 2009 without the dropped pop-up?
R - David Wright, 3B Cut down the strikeouts and up the power
S - Carlos Beltran, CF Stay healthy and everything will take care of itself
R - Jeff Francoeur, RF More plate discipline and the same great attitude
S - Murphy/Evans, 1B Give these boys a chance
R - Molina/Santos, C Upgrade over the past several years
L - Curtis Granderson, LF Speed, glove and some power in the 8th hole

Bench: S - Angel Pagan, OF Could be a key player. Looked good in 2009 L - Alex Cora, INF Valuable in a limited role R - Marco Scutaro, INF/OF Versatile asset in steady role if others go down with injuries

Starters:
L - Johan Santana
L - Randy Wolf
R - Mike Pelfrey
L - Jon Niese (could start the year at AAA)
L - Oliver Perez

Bullpen (7-8 members):
R - Francisco Rodriguez
R - John Maine
L - Pedro Feliciano
R - Chad Bradford or Sean Green
R - Brian Stokes or Bobby Parnell
L - Darren Oliver or Pat Misch
R - Nelson Figueroa or Francisco Nieve

Nieve or Misch could start the year in the rotation.

Always fun to speculate!

Comments (12)

I think the Mets should load up on the type B free agents who might be able to help them win like Marquis & Wolf, Piniero is suppose to be a right handed Ollie so pass and a decent left fielder and catcher. The I would stop not paying for draft picks. If you look at the Mets the last 10 years they have brough up Wright, Reyes, and Pelfrey. There are good teams who use the system who get 2 or 3 first round draft picks because they pay over the slot. The good teams have farm systems the Mets don't. The Phillies have a system that let them get the player that brought them to the world series. Last year we finally made a deadline trade for Frenchy. The Mets haven't had a Rookie of the year since Dwight Gooden. That is almost 30 years.
I find it sad the organization that was so big on pitching is now lacking for it. Its AAA farm system had half the team over 30 years old.

Great analysis and I agree with a lot of what you say. I just fear what I think we all fear and that is that CitiField has turned David Wright into merely an above-average player instead of the star he was on track to be.

Lets face it. Citi has taken away one of his most valuable assets, his right field homer swing. Can he build up his strength in the off season to negate that? I don't know. He's a great guy and to us Mets fans he's still a superstar, but for how long if he remains at his 2009 numbers? This isn't 1969 anymore when the Mets can win it all with an RBI leader in the 70s.

I sure hope 09 was the one off year of his career and that I'm dead wrong about this.

Dude u r horrible why the blue jays would want Jeremy reed r u serious u make no sense

Baltimore would never make that trade...totally unrealistic. This is why I hate when fans try to suggest trades. It's always "We'll give our garbage for another team's star." At least try to make some sense.

mark, i post on a number of blogs about the idiocy of the wilpons to make the power alleys in right center 30 feet deeper than in shea.u are one of the few posters who gets it. the mets had a great asset in wright.a 30-30 player who could hit the ball 385 feet to right center for home runs..so what do the wilpons due??put up a 415 foot fence in right center in citicavern to totally neuter one of their best players.i've been to citizens park in philly..They built the park to take advantage of their best players.When an organization is this clueless, it just makes u scratch your head.Oh, by the way, the wilpons announced to their fans, they would make the place more "metcentric" by actually naming some things after former met players and they would paint the stairways blue and orange.Tne next time wright hits one 400 feet to right center for an out, i'm sure david and all the fans paying ripoff prices for tickets will feel much better about that.

How can I take you seriously when you think Either and Markakis - 2 of the better young players in the game, let alone their respective teams - would be available in a trade? Just where have you heard they are being shopped?

As for DMurph, what do you think he's Mark Teixeira or something? It's not like an unfathomable thing to think Murphy isn't the answer there.

i'm not even sure what to say but this is horrible. Nick Markakis might be underrated among baseball fans but Baltimore sure as hell knows his value. I can't believe this was even posted on metsblog...

F-Mart has no trade value right now. His half season showed he is not ready for the big show. No team would take him and to be honest we would be dumb to give him away in a trade.

I do like your idea of Maine to the bullpen. I still would like to see a deal for Upton and Pena with a Pelfrey+ package going back...

I like the approach but would add some spice to this...lets do some Moneyball and take a chance on some high risk players for one year. The rationale is...the Mets have fallen behind Phils, Braves and Marlins in too many areas. So, lets roll the dice with some high risk (injury) but high reward (proven talent) guys. If it works, the Mets can compete, if not, not many resources lost and finally the fans would appreciate the Mets actually trying!

1. Resign Delgado to a one year contract with incentives. Lets face it, there are no players that can step in right now and provide power at 1B and Delgado has done it for the Mets before - that means a lot. One year $5 million plus incentives.
2. Offer one year deals with incentives to starters Ben Sheets, Eric Bedard and Justin Duscherer. They have had real major league success in the past and they can be had much cheaper right now. There is no better place to make it then in NY and if they play great then we can either resign next year OR get a high draft pick. Besides, these 3 are much better than Pelfrey, Maine and Perez. Offer 1 year $5 million and incentives.
3. Sign Xavier Nady for Left Field. He can provide right handed power for the OF and Pagan can be used to spell him, Beltran and Francouer. One year $3 miilion plus incentives.
4. Sign Yorvit Torrealba to catch-he is the best of a bad lot (2 years, $7 million)
5. Sign Kiko Calero $3.5 mill and Takeo Saito $1.5 mill as relievers. Use Maine in the bullpen.
6. Bring back Cora and Tatis for one more year on the bench. Murphy can plug in 1B to spell Delgado every 3rd game.
Total outlay around $30 million for 2010 but you have a real chance to compete because you have talent, you have depth, you don't lose the farm and if this does not work out you can get draft picks for these guys next year.

i agree with bringing back delgado for a 1 year incentive deal because i feel he has earned that chance. If he were in the lineup this year he could have had us another 20-25 homeruns. That might not solve our power outage but it would certainly help it. I think unless the mets can bring in Crawford they are going to have to go out and get Matt Holliday. then if we are able to move Castillo i would love to bring in Hudson. For the rotation i would settle for Piniero and/or Sheets and Wolf.

the 2010 lineup

1. Reyes
2. Hudson
3. Wright
4. Beltran
5. Holliday
6. Delgado
7. Francoeur
8. Santos/Thole
9. pitcher

rotation
1. Santana
2. Piniero/Sheets
3. Wolf
4. Pelfrey
5. Perez

With this lineup the opposing pitcher is not catching a break throught the entire lineup and we would have a good shot at close to 175 hr's out of our starting lineup. It may not be the greatest defensive team but the bats would certainly be able to back up the sloppy play that the mets have show more often then not.

Torrealba wouldnt come here.. wasnt he the guy they signed then said he was damaged goods to get out of the deal ???

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