December 03, 2007

Winter Meetings Primer

Chances are, the Mets will NOT acquire a front-line starter during the off-season, and will have to settle for either a second tire starter, like Joe Blanton, with a lot of upside, or a spare part hoping for redemption, like a Bartolo Colon or Matt Clement.

Tomorrow, John and I will publish our yearly look at who we would like to make up the Mets’ 25 man roster come opening day. Today, we’ll just take a look at who we think might have a chance of being snagged by Omar this week.

NO CHANCE: Johan Santana will be either Yankee or Red Sox property by the time the day is through, and without putting Jose Reyes into the pot, there’s no way this great lefty will be wearing OUR pinstripes next year.

Dan Haren is probably not going to be traded by Billy Beane, unless he is overwhelmed by an offer. Beane is probably posturing to make his number two starter, Joe Blanton, more valuable once he removes Haren from the market. The only way Beane trades Haren is if he’s under a mandate to cut salary further and is very happy with a package from a team willing to overpay for him, or if he feels that, as some have written recently, Haren is merely a number 2 starter masquerading as a number one for half a season last year and knows that he’ll never get more value for Haren then he will this off-season. NEVER trust Beane when trading with him- I always feel like we’re dealing with that guy who shakes your hand and you check your wrist to see if your watch is still there.

Erik Bedard is an ace with some injury history. He has great stuff and wants out of Baltimore (allegedly). There is a game going on with the O’s, and in the past owner Peter Angelos has vetoed trades (Miguel Tejada, etc.) after his baseball people had practically finalized them. If a team blows new president, Andy McPhail, over with their trade offer, he will still have to run it by the mercurial Angelos, which means that no team should get its hopes up too high. A package of Gomez, Heilman, Humber and Guerra might just get this done, unless Petey decides otherwise. Bedard DID say, allegedly, that he won’t resign with the O’s, so that might make a trade more likely. The Mets are in this one until the end, as it’s unlikely that the O’s will trade within their division to the Sox or Yankees, and there aren’t a ton of teams who could both pay Bedard what the market dictates as well as supply the O’s with enough top-tier prospects to make the deal make sense. Bedard will remain in the “doubtful” category mostly because I still doubt that he will be traded.

Joe Blanton, in the NL East, pitching half his games in Shea Stadium, might bring his ERA down from 3.95 to 3.35, with the potential to win 15-18 games and strike out 150 batters in the NL. He’s only 27, and is one of the faster pitchers in the game when it comes to length-of-game (twice having broken the 2 hour barrier). Blanton would cost at least Heilman, Gomez and another top prospect, and probably should be our main target as he will cost the least, has a high ceiling and is still quite young. Beane, again, is hard to deal with, and you always wonder if you might get damaged or inflated goods from him. He epitomizes the need for the phrase “let the buyer beware”; let’s hope that, if we do indeed acquire Blanton, we’ll get the best of the deal for once. Earlier this morning, in his blog on ESPN, Peter Gammons wrote that Beane has disqualified the Mets from contention for either Haren OR Blanton- this could be posturing by Beane, or it could be sincere, in which case Omar may indeed have to settle for one or two lower rung players.

I’ve heard the name Bronson Arroyo of the Reds thrown around, but the Reds seem to want to add pitching, not divest it, and it’s hard to know if the Arroyo they have is the 2006 version who won 14 with a sub 4.00 ERA, or if he is more like last years’ model with a 4.00+ ERA and a losing record. Arroyo’s name will probably come up more during mid-season, when the Reds will better know what kind of team they actually have.

Livan Hernandez, Bartolo Colon, Shawn Chacon, Octavio Dotel, Matt Clement, Carlos Silva & Kyle Lohse are the remaining free agents left to choose from, and each is fraught with his own problems. Colon, who wouldn’t cost a draft pick and could probably be had for a one year, incentive laden contract, has the most upside from this list and wouldn’t cost us any young players. Chacon reminds me of Jorge Sosa, and we already have one on the roster. Dotel has been hurt forever, and at best would be a seventh inning reliever. Clement is another wildcard like Colon, coming off of injuries and having been well sought-after prior to his injuries. Silva, Lohse and L-Hern are at best fifth starters who will cost too much in the way of years and money for their potential return, and I’d rather see a Mulvey or Pelfrey in the starting rotation with Colon then any of the other alternatives from this list.

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they have a former all-star outfielder, in Jason Bay, and two very talented starters, in Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny, to trade for a package of talented young players. The new regime in Pittsburgh is looking to build a talented team for the longer-term and packaging Gomez, Heilman, Humber and Church for a combo of Snell and Bay might be a great deal for both teams. Maybe, since we haven’t heard the Bucs mentioned at all, they might just be a team that Omar is already speaking with and able to pull off a deal with….stranger things have happened.

Remember one thing- Omar is under pressure to win now, as his bid to renegotiate his contract to add more than one more year was turned down by the Wilpons just recently. The only sign I’m willing to take from that is that Omar (and Willie) better do whatever they have to do to win NOW, and not to worry about young talent that may or may not pan out in 2-4 years. This seems like it will be the make-or-break season for Omar, so let’s hope for everyone’s sake that he’s able to pull another rabbit out of his hat…

Remember- tomorrow, we'll provide our roster predictions!


Anonymous said...

i justdont think that omar will make any kind of big trade this season and that we are gonna have to kiss 2008 good bye

Anonymous said...

i heard that the As want gomez and martinez in a trade for haren

Anonymous said...

i heard that too and i also heard that that was all they wanted

Anonymous said...

that rmor cant be true its stupid to even think that beane will do that deal