The minor-league operation features the two worst teams at the Triple-A and the Double-A levels. Blue-chip prospects are scarce; even potentially useful major league players are few and far between.
The future is bleak, Mets fans. Yesterday's trade of Billy Wagner to the Boston Red Sox hasn't made it any brighter.
Wagner had to go, of course, for all the reasons I stated earlier in the week. The two minor-leaguers that the Mets got in return, however - believed to be Chris Carter and a player to be named later - are unlikely to blossom into stars.
The Mets could've gotten a better haul for their former closer, but chose not to take on any of the money still owed to Wagner. It was a salary dump, plain and simple, and you get the feeling that the Mets would've taken a tub of New England clam chowder if it meant that they didn't have to pay Wagner one more cent.
It's a simple correlation - the more of Wagner's salary that the Mets were willing to pay, the better package of prospects they would've received in return. That's not to say that the Mets would have gotten back Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard if they paid all of Wagner's salary, but they would've done better than a package featuring a 26-year-old designated hitter who has been buried in Triple-A for four seasons now.
I believe that Carter still falls into the "potentially useful major leaguer" category. His bat is not the problem; the fact that his best defensive position is to the right of the water cooler is what's holding him back.
Nevertheless, Carter will surely see time at first base in September for the Mets and I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the mix for the first-base job in 2010. There's still some hope for him (think of Ty Wigginton's last three seasons), but it's a telling sign that Carter was very far down on the Red Sox's organizational depth chart.
Yesterday's trade was not about making the New York Mets a better baseball team down the road. It was strictly about saving money right now. One can only hope that this is not another sign that the Madoff scandal will negatively affect the club's financial bottom line in the future.