Fuck the future says Newsday’s Mark Herrmann, who having learned little from the Scott Kazmir trade, would have Omar Minaya pull the trigger on another deadline deal.
The last thing the Mets need is to get giddy over a four-game winning streak. Heaven knows many of us were too quick to gush over their winter and their spring and we learned our lesson when they spent most of June in last place.
But having said that, there is one thing to add: What the heck?They ought to just go for it.
As flawed as they are, they seem as good as anyone else making a run for the National League wild card. They just swept the West-leading Padres, they are 5-2 since the All-Star break and they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Until the July 31 trading deadline, they should be buying, not selling.
See what it would take to land the bat of the Devil Rays’ Aubrey Huff. Invest a dime to gauge the market on relievers J.C. Romero of the Twins and Danys Baez of the Devil Rays. Don’t get frozen stiff thinking about the Scott Kazmir fiasco. This is a new day. Yes, this was supposed to be a transition year, but the transition got here in a hurry.
Reality says, “jump.” Reality says the Mets aren’t all that young. They might never get another year out of Pedro Martinez to match the one they’re getting now. Why waste it? The same goes with what they’re getting from Cliff Floyd. And this surely is the last go-round for Mike Piazza. Why not take advantage of his last few months as a Met?
The Mets have reason to dream because the Nationals finally look vulnerable. So do the Phillies and Marlins (both behind the Mets at the moment). Even conceding that the Mets aren’t likely to beat the Braves in our lifetimes, there is no reason to think the Cubs and Astros can’t be edged for the wild card.
Unlike most other teams, the Mets have a surplus of starting pitching. Aaron Heilman could be trade bait, so could Yusmeiro Petit. Neither one of them has the upside of Kazmir, who never should have been dealt in the fool’s gold rush of 2004.
This isn’t last year. The Mets didn’t have verve or Martinez back then. This time, a playoff spot is there for the taking.
Over at the Daily News, Bill Madden’s far more reasoned take on the situation goes like this :
The starting rotation, which has fashioned a collective ERA of 1.53 over the last eight games, has given the Mets brass sufficient reason to believe this could be a lot more than a .500 team. On the other hand, there are still holes aplenty, most notably first base, where Mientkiewicz has struggled mightily with the bat, and the back end of the rotation, where Ishii carried a 2-8 record and 5.50 ERA into yesterday’s game against Padres ace Jake Peavy.
The trading deadline is nine days away, and Minaya has insisted he wants to be a buyer; but at the same time, he admits he faces significant limitations. For instance, there are some notable first basemen who can probably be had – the Phillies’ Jim Thome, Kansas City’s Mike Sweeney, the Reds’ Sean Casey – but all of them come with onerous contracts and assorted other liabilities. And, as Minaya has confided, he is not going to make deals in which he sacrifices the future for quick-fix veterans with big contracts.
Not that the Mets have a whole lot of blue-chip “futures” in their system to begin with.
You have to figure this is pretty much the team Randolph is going to have to go to war with for the rest of the summer. There will be some fine-tuning of the rotation, but that will come from within with both Jae Seo and the rehabbing Steve Trachsel waiting in the wings. On the surface anyway, it would seem Minaya is one of the few GMs looking at a surplus of starting pitching. Yet, if Ishii, Seo and Aaron Heilman are puzzlements to him, doesn’t the same hold true for other teams?