At the midway point, it’s pretty clear to me that the Mets’ major weaknesses are:
#1 – Lack of a number three starter;
#2 – Lack of good D and O at 2B,
#3 – Lack of second-hole hitter with OBP;
#4 – Lack of offense vs left-handed pitchers;
#5 – Lack of a great lefty specialist;
#6 – And my personal favorite, horrible advanced scouting.
(I could attempt to prove those things to you, but I think you’d agree with #1, #2, #5 and #6).
Fortunately, the Mets have some assets to acquire these things.
#1 – Starting Pitcher
First off, I don’t believe that Zito or Willis will be available to us at the deadline.
Secondly, acquiring a legit SP gun could be expensive, so the best bet
might be hoping Pelfrey develops into that role and acquiring a solid
starter with experience who’s clearly better than Maine, Hernandez,
Soler and Bannister, using Maine, Bannister and Soler as bait. Someone
like Steve Trachsel used to be. Think 2000-2001 Rick Reed.
Identifying targets: We’re not going to get someone like Webb or
Chris Young. Simply unrealistic. Odds are we’ll be after free agents to
be from bad teams as rentals, or arbitration eligible guys small market
teams can’t afford: Jamie Moyer, Gil Meche, Jack Westbrook, Tony Armas
Jr., Casey Fossum, Ramon Ortiz, Greg Maddux, Cory Lidle, Miguel
Batista, Mark Redman, Scott Elarton.
Cleveland doesn’t really have the need to deal Westbrook, and Seattle
is only 3.5 out in the West. Maddux doesn’t appear to be a viable
option as he has a no trade and hates NY.
That leaves these options:
|Team Starter Throws Age Contract ERA
WAS Tony Armas Jr. RHP 28 FA to be 4.44 DL
TB Casey Fossum LHP 30 Arby El 4.84
WAS Ramon Ortiz RHP 33 FA to be 4.85
PHI Cory Lidle RHP 34 FA to be 4.95
ARZ Miguel Batista RHP 35 FA to be 5.01
KC Mark Redman LHP 32 5.0 opt. 5.27
KC Scott Elarton RHP 30 4.0 ’07 5.38
The only name that really jumps out on that list to me is Redman.
Redman is a lefty, having the worst year of his career and is trapped
in Kansas City. Strikes me as someone with high bounce-back ability.
And he has a World Series ring with the 2003 Marlins.
Kansas City is a good trade partner as well as their financial and
rebuilding situations means they’d be willing to dump salary and take a
host of minor league B-prospects trying to stockpile and get lucky.
They also might be willing to add Mark Grudzielanek to the deal to save
even more cash.
What JP would do: Victor Diaz and Eddie Camacho for Redman.
#2 – Second Base
Ideally, the Mets could acquire one guy to address multiple weaknesses.
For example, getting a second baseman with speed, high OBP, good
defense, who can hit lefties well and hit second.
The one guy who stands out at me as meeting this requirement is Ray
Durham of San Francisco. Free agent to be, making $7.0 million.
1.074 OPS vs left this year, .900 OPS vs left 2002-05.
.341 overall OBP this season. Lost a step or two but knows how to run the bases, can swipe when needed (4 SB, 0 CS).
Very good at hitting behind runners, good OBP/OPS with runners on and runners in scoring position.
What would San Francisco ask in return? Well, he is 34, but Brian
Sabean loves old guys. Although, SF has Kevin Frandsen in AAA, hitting
.297 with .358 OBP and .795 OPS at age 24. So, perhaps an arm like Alay
Soler, which would offset the cost of Durham, and another kid.
Other options include:
Adam Kennedy (low OBP, can’t hit lefties)
Todd Walker (average OBP, can’t hit lefties, abysmal defense)
What JP would do: Alay Soler and Henry Owens for Durham
#5 – Lefty specialist
Darren Oliver is very good vs lefties (.152 / .208 / .258)
Unfortunately, Pedro Feliciano is not (.292 / .319 / .400)
|Options: BAA vs Left
Ari Randy Choate .091
Bal Kurt Birkins .136
Mil Jorge de la Rosa .148
KC Jimmy Gobble .164
Fla Taylor Tankersley .167
Min Dennys Reyes .171
ChC Will Ohman .175
KC Jeremy Affeldt .185
Phi Aaron Fultz .200
ChC Scott Eyre .203
Col Ray King .205
Phi Rheal Cormier .216
Col Tom Martin .220
Pit Damaso Marte .228
TB Jon Switzer .231
Was Mike O’Connor .232
Hou Trever Miller .235
Fla Jason Vargas .256
Choate struggled vs lefties in years past.
I personally like Reyes, but not sure if MIN would give him up. Ditto de la Rosa.
The Royals offered Affeldt, with MacDougal for Kris Benson in the
off season. If they would make that trade last year, they might jump at
the chance to get someone younger and cheaper.
What JP would do: Brian Bannister for Jeremy Affeldt
R Pelfrey / Hernandez / Maine
8th Inning: Sanchez
7th /Setup : Heilman
Lefty Specialists: Oliver, Affeldt
Righty Specialist/Fireman: Bradford
Long Men: Oliver, Feliciano
Demote: Chris Woodward
OUT: Victor Diaz, Alay Soler, Brian Bannister, Henry Owens, Eddie Camacho
IN: Ray Durham, Mark Redman, Jerremy Affeldt
Is that a lot to give up? Yes.
However, look back at past deadline acquisitions:
In 1999, we gave up Jason Isringhausen, Greg McMichael, Terrance Long,
Rigo Beltran, Brian McRae, and a prospect for Billy Taylor, Kenny
Rogers, Darryl Hamilton and Chuck McElroy.
In 2000, we gave up Melvin Mora, Mike Kinkade, Leslie Brea, Pat
Gorman, Paul Wilson and Jason Tyner for Mike Bordick, Bubba Trammell
and Rick White.
These moves address our needs while not sacrificing a ton of our
future: Most notably, our rotation issues. We dealt three arms, but one
is a project (Owens) and the others appear to be #4 starters, #3 guys
Our 2007 rotation still looks okay (Pedro, Glavine, Redman, Pelfrey,
Maine) before we hit free agency and make a run at Zito. Therefore,
there’s room for Zito and a trade of either Redman or Maine, or keep
Maine in AAA until someone gets hurt.
Redman makes the same amount as Trachsel, and with Matsui, Hernandez,
Zambrano, Floyd (20.5 million) coming off the books, we can add
Milledge and make a run at Zito with out expanding payroll very much.