Thursday, May 22, 2008

Torch!? I'll Light a Torch to This Place!!

(That's a Show Me ... circa 1996)

The Mets are 22-22 after another dismal effort against the Braves last night. It's bad baseball, it's boring baseball and the fan base is in an uproar. I'm mostly apathetic at this point - I'm resigned to an 85-win season and no playoff berth. The good news is that it will mean the end of Willie Randolph and yet another roster overhaul. If Omar Minaya is allowed to stay, he'll throw good money after bad and probably get himself canned after the 2009 season. At that point, the Wilpons will be stuck with yet another milquetoast manager and the cycle will begin anew.

Anyway, the calls for blowing the whole thing up and starting over on May 22 are unrealistic. They are fun to project, though, so let's take a look at the 25-man roster, as well as people on the DL, and see what I would do if I was handed the reins.

Johan Santana: signed to a long-term deal, isn't going anywhere. Nor should he.
John Maine: under team control for four more years. Keep him.
Oliver Perez: free agent after this season. I still believe in him, but he's prime trade bait if you're blowing it up.
Pedro Martinez: free agent after this season. Who knows when he's ever coming back, but you let him play out the string and hope to get something out of him, then let him leave in the off-season.
El Duque: I don't think he's ever coming back. Put him in the same boat as Pedro.
Mike Pelfrey: signed a major contract through 2009, but I'm not sure if he becomes a free agent after that or if he has some arbitration years. Let him spend the rest of the season trying to learn a third pitch and if he doesn't, begin grooming him in the off-season for a career as a reliever.

Trade Bait: Perez
Playing Out the String: Pedro and Duque

Billy Wagner: signed through '09 with a club friendly option. Trade him - he'll bring back a lot and the Mets can audition closers for the future.
Duaner Sanchez: a free agent after 2009. Hasn't been good since returning to the big club and has no trade value. Keep him and cross your fingers, but be ready to release him early next season.
Aaron Heilman: forget about the struggles this year. Under Mets control for the foreseeable future and is more likely to right the ship then to pitch like this forever.
Pedro Feliciano: same deal as Heilman.
Scott Schoenweis: Minaya foolishly signed him to a long-term deal and will be here through next season. Surprisingly effective early on, so trade him as quickly as possible before reality set back in.
Matt Wise: give him a season to right the ship and if he doesn't, say goodbye at the end of the season.
Joe Smith: a young guy who isn't close to his arbitration years yet. Keep him and see what happens.

Trade Bait: Wagner, Schoenweis
Playing Out the String: Wise

Brian Schneider: signed through '09, no point in trying to upgrade.
Ramon Castro: same as Schneider. You simply stand pat at the catcher position and hope Francisco Pena will somehow be knocking on the door at the end of next year.

Carlos Delgado: people, get your head out of the sand about Delgado. Nobody wants him and we have nobody better in the farm system. Forget about Mike Carp or Nick Evans; neither is ready for New Orleans yet, let alone New York. Delgado is the first baseman for the rest of the season.
Luis Castillo: nobody gets traded two months into a four-year deal. He's the second sacker for at least the next two seasons; maybe you can release him and eat the money after 2009 season.
Jose Reyes: still a superstar in waiting. Needs a new manager and some new clubhouse influences in the worst way.
David Wright: the second coming of the Franchise.
Damion Easley: only here until the season ends.
Fernando Tatis: only here until Angel Pagan returns.

Trade Bait: None
Playing Out the String: Easley, Tatis

Moises Alou: will surely retire at the end of the season. No one will trade for a guy who is one stubbed toe away from another DL stint.
Carlos Beltran: signed through 2011. Would you want a 31-year-old center fielder signed to a four-year deal worth $74 million and another $22 million in deferred money? I didn't think so. Get used to Beltran, folks; he's not going anywhere.
Ryan Church: when he's not getting his head wrecked, Church has performed well. The Mets control him for another two years at favorable costs, so no reason to move him.
Marlon Anderson: smart general managers don't sign backup left-handed outfielders with no power to two-year deals. We're stuck with him.
Endy Chavez: smart general managers don't sign backup left-handed outfielders with no power to two-year deals. At least Endy plays defense.
Angel Pagan: smart general managers sign backup outfielders with no power to one-year deals. One out of three gets you to the Hall of Fame as a player. It gets you to the unemployment line as a general manager.

Trade Bait: None
Playing Out the String: Alou

I can appreciate the frustration that this team is causing the fan base, but there are only three players on the entire roster who are realistic trade targets. Minaya will never trade Wagner, because he believes too much in the value of closers. Schoenweis has no value, even though he looks sharp right now; at best he'll bring back another middle reliever.

That leaves Oliver Perez. If the Mets are 10 games out on July 22, Minaya may decide to pull the trigger. But the Mets are 3.5 out on May 22. Nothing is going to happen.

So suck it up, Mets fans. Don't expect a major roster overhaul in the next 60 days, and don't expect a wide scale firesale under any circumstances. Omar Minaya made this bed - now you have to lie in it.


tim said...

Your unflinching support of Heilman is mind-boggling and thevery reasons you give for keeping him is precisely why we'll be able to free him with Perez and that would be now, not in July.

Coop said...

You see, I think Aaron is starter material - far more valuable than a middle reliever which he is doing a horrible job at now. However, (like Lastings Milledge who was being showcased as a CF as trade bail but sucked as a RF or LF with the big team) since he has only been showcased as a middle reliever, we're not gonna get that much out of him. Someone brought up to me that Heilman would never clear waivers to take a vacation at AAA to work on his stamina - but i may be wrong, I think he still has ONE option left. Remember all the talk in 2006 about sending him down to make him a starter but it couldn't happen b/c Duaner sanchez got hungry? anyway, Perez is FAR more valuable and will get a lot more in return in a trade than Heilman will. Hate to say it, 'tis true.

I know that trading Beltran prob isn't in the best interests of the team either, but if he could waive his NTC he could be another team's treasure - lets face it, he hates NY, probably hates that he ever came here and his previously inflated contract will be a bargain compared to others out there (hello Zito, Sori, etc). But I doubt it, b/c who else do they have to play CF? Carlos Gomez would have been the heir apparent but of course, he's no longer with us.

I said all along in the offseason - although I was ape for Johan - that it would expose the lack of depth in the organization and no plan B, C or X Y or Z.

tim said...

I would've have sent Heilman down a month ago if I had my way, now he is done in New York. How could he possible summon the confidence to ever truly put together a noteworthy campaign here again. He doesn't seem the type to shake off this kind of thing easily, so let's make it easy and send him away with Perez, in a package like that he becomes valueable.