How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trade Lastings Milledge

The way I see it, the Mets acquiring Zito is a calculated risk that they can win a World Series with him and resign him after 2006.

I’ve explained in great detail that should the Mets trade & sign Zito, the cost of getting him for the 2006 playoffs is the difference between Milledge and our 2007 #1 draft pick.

Obviously, with our without Zito in 2007 and beyond, losing Milledge hurts. Because he’s good, we envision him being in our OF for years to come, etc.

Aside from Zito/#3 starter, another glaring weakness in my mind is our production vs lefties. We need a RF or 2B who hits lefties well, because we’re not going to pull Floyd and Delgado vs a lefty in the playoffs.

We’ll also need a corner OF for next season, with Milledge in Oakland and Floyd a free agent (personally, I resign Cliff on the cheap to save that #1 draft pick).

What about Eric Byrnes from Arizona?

Hits well vs lefties, plays great defense, apparently hits well at Shea.

What would he cost us? He’s on a one-year contract and the D’Backs have DeVanon and Green as OFs with Gonzalez in LF and Quinten recalled.

Brian Bannister for Byrnes?

Either keep Nady to DH vs a lefty on the road in the World Series (Detroit has a pair of lefties), or trade him and Soler to Pittsburgh for Roberto Hernandez.

Then in the offseason, you resign both Byrnes and Floyd, keep the #1 pick, go all out for Zito. If you sign Zito, you have most your team returning (save Trachsel, Zambrano, Matsui; which means you have some money to revamp the bench without losing a draft pick and piece together some good role players)

Your young core on offense is still Wright-Reyes-Beltran with Byrnes in between the Floyd-Delgado-LoDuca age group.

Your rotation is: Pedro-Zito-Glavine-Pelfrey-Maine

If you lose Zito to someone, you can use ONE of the draft picks to sign a starter (Meche?) and get two more to replenish with.

And you’ve got a good shot at winning the World Series in 2006 and beyond.

Early Dog Days

With a 12.5-game lead and nothing but the same repetitive trade talk, I’m struggling to find things to talk about that are different and new with the Mets.

We just keep beating every one (although, doing so through the use of grand slams is a new twist).

On a side note, props to  BPhunk and Senor_Mike for the impressive growth of the Mets Refugees message board. Over 500 members in a shade over two months. If you’re a Mets fan and haven’t been there, check it out. It’s a great community, albeit uncensored and extremely blunt.

At the break

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:

 

 

Code:
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)

 

 

Code:
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

Final Result

SS Reyes

2B Durham

CF Beltran

1B Delgado

3B Wright

LF Floyd

C LoDuca

RF Nady

Bench:

Castro (C)

Franco 1B/PH

Chavez OF/PR

Pornstache IF

Marrero OF

Rotation

R Martinez

L Glavine

R Trachsel

L Redman

R Pelfrey / Hernandez / Maine

Closer: Wagner

8th Inning: Sanchez

7th /Setup : Heilman

Lefty Specialists: Oliver, Affeldt

Righty Specialist/Fireman: Bradford

Long Men: Oliver, Feliciano

Demote: Chris Woodward

Finally tally:

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
at best.

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.

Is There Anything David Wright Can’t Do?

I fully expected David Wright to finish eighth in the Home Run Derby. I didn’t expect him to beat David Ortiz, make the finals and finish one homer back of the winner.

He hits for average, he walks, he can steal, he turns in web gems, he gets walk-off hits, he’s an MVP candidate, he’s humble, he’s a great kid, and he can out-homer David Ortiz head-to-head when he wants to.

I’m pretty sure he was tired in the semis and finals because he cured cancer and raised Roberto Clemente from the dead after the first round.

"One reason I picked Ryan Howard is because one guy can’t have it all… First place, best record in the NL, an MVP candidate… David Wright can’t win the Home Run Derby, too, can he?" — Harold Reynolds or Joe Morgan (whichever. Some ESPN former second baseman said it).

But later on Baseball Tonight, I heard something that floored me.

Dw_1
Steve Phillips: (gushing about Wright; whom he drafted in 2001 as GM of the Mets)
Harold Reynolds: "It’s batting practice. Are you this excited about batting practice?"
Phillips – "I’m excited because he’s hitting .327 and is an MVP candidate. This is what we thought of him when we drafted him."
John Kruk: "Prospects will get you fired."

Blood just shot from every orifice of my body.

Did John Kruk really just say "Prospects will get you fired" to STEVE FREAKING PHILLIPS?

Prospects DID get Steve Phillips fired:
Alex Ochoa, Carl Everett, AJ Burnett, Jason Isringhausen, Melvin Mora, Paul Wilson, Alex Escobar, Billy Traber, Glendon Rusch and Jason Bay…

Those prospects got Steve Phillips fired. When he traded them for: Rick Becker, John Hudek, Al Leiter, Billy Taylor, Mike Bordick, Rick White, Roberto Alomar and Steve Reed!

Dw2
Phillips held on and handled about four prospects correctly:

Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose Reyes, Aaron Heilman and David Wright.

And his "success" with Heilman and Wright was not trading them in the YEAR he could have before getting fired.

I’m so glad David Wright is a New York Met. Quite honestly, the first time I saw him in the yellow "National" jersey, I actually recoiled in horror. For a split second, I simply couldn’t handle seeing David Wright in a uniform without "New York" or "Mets" on the front. Steve Phillips was gushing like a proud papa because that’s how ALL Mets fans feel right now. We’ve been rooting for this kid since he was 18.

If you think "relax dude, it’s not like you haven’t had good players before." Turn on Letterman Wednesday night and listen to him. We’ve had great players before, but I could never trust Steve Phillips to let them stay more than four years. I bought a David Wright jersey after 2004 because I knew that he’d either stay a Met for life, or I’d be done as a Mets fan forever.

Arm Chair GM Negotiations

Hi, I’m JP. Acting Armchair Mets GM.

I’m interested in acquiring a second baseman and maybe an arm or two before the trade deadline.

Guys I’d like to acquire include:
Adam Kennedy of Los Angeles (Anaheim version)
and
Mark DeRosa of Texas.

If you’re a blogger for one of those teams, annoint yourself acting armchair GM and let’s work out a blog trade.

We can keep updating our blogs with the conversation.
Post a comment, or email me if this sounds like a fun idea.

Rotating Through the Options

So, in a long convoluted turn of events, the Mets will go to their 11th starter of the season on Saturday when Mike Pelfrey makes his MLB debut. Least season the Mets used only eight different starters all season, In 2004, they used 12. This isn’t THAT high a number, as below is a table of the most starters used in a season. However, observe the records of those teams on the chart. Then look at the Mets winning percentage. None of those teams on the list, nor last year’s Mets, were the best team in their league.

 

    

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

   

   

   

 

 

    

 

Most starting pitchers       used in a season since 1990:
Season Team Starters Record
      

1993

   

Cleveland 18 76-86
      

1996

   

Pittsburgh 18 73-89
      

2003

   

Cincinnati 17 69-93
      

2004

   

Texas 16 73-58
      

1992

   

Kansas City 16 72-90
      

1996

   

Detroit 16 53-109
      

2000

   

Anaheim 16 82-80
      

1990

   

Kansas City 16 75-86
      

2002

   

Cleveland 16 74-88
      

2003

   

Texas 16 71-91
Source: Elias Sports Bureau
Stolen from USA Today

When the Mets have made the playoffs, they’ve never used more than 11 starters:
In 2000, the Mets used 10. In 1999, the Mets used 9. 1988 NL East winning team used seven, Nine when they won it in 1986. The You Gotta Beleive ’73 team used 11, while the 1969 Miracle Mets used nine.

Sine Omar Minaya will probably make a move at the deadline, I’d wager we’ll see a 12th different starter this year.

I’m quite sure, without doing too much research, that the 14 starters the Yankees used last season are the most different starting pitchers ever used by a team that made the playoffs.

So far the Mets have used (in order of appearance)
1. Tom Glavine
2. Brian Bannister
3. Pedro Martinez
4. Steve Trachsel
5. Victor Zambrano
6. John Maine (Bannister to DL)
7. Jose Lima (Maine to DL)
8. Jeremi Gonzalez (Zambrano to DL)
9. Alay Soler (Lima Designated for Assignment)
10. Orlando Hernandez (Gonzalez Designated)
11. Mike Pelfrey (Soler Designated; Pedro to DL)

Pelfrey hasn’t been recalled yet, as the Mets brought up converted catcher Henry Owens to replace Pedro on the roster. After Friday’s game, Lima will be sent down (most likely) and Pelfrey will be formally added to the roster to start Saturday.

The Mets, with a rare off day on the first day after the all-star break, could actually throw the same starter in back-to-back games:

Thu - PIT - Trachsel
Fri - FLA - Lima
Sat1- FLA - Pelfrey
Sat2- FLA - Maine
Sun - FLA - Glavine
Mon - --- - -
Tue - --- - -
Wed - --- - -
Thu - --- - -
Fri - CHI - Glavine
Sat - CHI - Pedro
Sun - CHI - Trachsel
Mon - --- - -
Tue - CIN - Pelfrey or Maine
Wed - CIN - Glavine
Thu - CIN - Pedro

Of course, that would give something like 16 days between starts to Orlando Hernandez, and everything is subject to change based on the performance of Pelfrey and Maine.