At the end of Monday’s “Baseball Tonight” telecast, Buster Olney ranked the New York Mets amongst the trade deadline’s losers, saying they’d not done enough to shore up the back of the starting rotation, and they’d been blindsided (though no fault of their own) by Duaner Sanchez’ fateful cab ride.
The New York Sun’s Tim Marchman, however, considers the emergence of Endy Chavez and deems Xavier Nady (“has any man ever been so poor at coming in on a sinking liner?”) as expendable as it gets.
Mets fans can feel free to bring this deal up any time someone claims that all Minaya is good for is convincing ownership to sign fat checks for star players like Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner; faced with a problem, he didn’t panic or overreact and brought home the goods.
Duaner Sanchez’s injury is, depending on how you look at it, either not all that big a deal or a very big deal indeed.It’s not going to affect the Mets’ season at all, really, both because they have such an insurmountable lead (replace Billy Wagner with Mel Rojas and Willie Randolph’s men still take the flag) and because Sanchez is not an irreplaceable pitcher. Darren Oliver has been better, and Wagner and Chad Bradford as good.That being said, replacing Sanchez with Roberto Hernandez is a step backward, and assuming Sanchez had continued to pitch as he had been and Hernandez continues to pitch as he has been, it will be worth something on the order of six runs over the last two months, but it’s difficult to conceive of how that could do real damage.
The key to this deal is Oliver Perez. Two years ago there weren’t 10 players in baseball you could have traded for him. At 22, he led the National League in strikeouts per 9 innings and finished sixth in ERA with a 2.98 mark. Since then, things have not been good. Last year he racked up a 5.85 ERA in just over 100 innings and injured his toe kicking a cart, and this year he’s gone 2“10 with a 6.63 ERA and brutal peripheral numbers ” 61 strikeouts, 51 walks, and 13 home runs in 76 innings. He’s been just as bad in Triple-A, with a 5.63 ERA in six starts.
All of this makes it an ideal time to grab the talented lefty.Pitchers with this kind of talent just don’t come on the market. He has quite a few problems, most notably that his fastball isn’t touching the high 90s anymore, and his breaking ball doesn’t have the same snap. Theories abound. Some say the Pirates altered his delivery for the worse in trying to make him more effective against righties. Some think he’s injured. Some think Pittsburgh’s just a bad organization that doesn’t help players develop, and that a change of scenery will do him well. Whatever the case, it’s more than worth it to take a risk on him, because he has the potential to make Mets fans forget Scott Kazmir. If it’s a mechanical problem, an untended injury, a psychological issue, or something getting a fresh start can fix, all the well.If he’s just done at a young age, as happens, it was worth the chance.The Mets didn’t really give anything up to take it.
Though the Mets didn’t emerge from the frantic final days of trade talks with any of the marquee names being bandied about (Willis, Maddux, Zito, Oswalt, Marquis, uh, Livan Hernandez), Mike’s Mets is grateful Omar Minaya didn’t overpay, at least in one instance.
First of all, I’d like to give my opinion on the fact that the Mets didn’t give up Lastings Milledge for a rental of San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt. Schmidt has had a nice bounce-back year for the Giants after an injury-plagued, sub-par 2005. Still, you have to question his durability. His ERA for July was just under 5, and he pitched 6 innings in 4 starts and 5 in the other. Sound familiar, very much like we already have? Sure, maybe it’s just a tired arm and Schmidt will bounce back, but it’s a lot to risk for an older pitcher with some injury issues. Moreover, it’s all but a given that Schmidt wants to finish his career on the west coast. Perhaps he wouldn’t have cost Lastings Milledge, but whatever he did cost would have been for only 2 months of a physically problematic hurler.
Roy Oswalt would have been a somewhat different story. He’s a top of the rotation pitcher still in his prime, and is not eligible for free agency until after next season. He certainly would have been worth the Mets parting with Lastings Milledge and more. When I read about the proposed 3-way between Baltimore, Houston and the Mets, they mention Milledge as the player the Mets would be giving up, but I’d have to believe it would cost much more than that for Oswalt. I’d do it though. Dontrelle Willis has had one great year. Oswalt has established himself as great year in and year out. I would have rather had Oswalt than Willis. I guess Peter Angelos threw a monkey wrench into yet another Tejada deal. All I can say is I thank God I’m not an Orioles fan. It’s as bad as the Mets organization was for most of the ’90s — and Angelos is unlikely to fire himself or even take a step back from his meddling. Whenever I start to feel sorry for Jim Duquette I think back 2 years and get over it quick.
Metsgeek’s Eric Simon provides the box scores showing Brian Bannister’s solid rehab outing in Port St. Lucie, and more incredibly, a competent performance by Jose Lima against Richmond last night. The Mets are only another half dozen taxi accidents from Lima Time’s 3rd call-up of 2006.