Sosa for Thames?

You may or may not have heard on WFAN yesterday from Jon Heyman that the Mets are discussing a trade of Jorge Sosa to the Tigers for reserve outfielder Marcus Thames.

On the one hand, I’m not so hot on Sosa and think trading him is a good idea — particularly for a righthanded bat. On the other hand, I’m not sure Thames is the best guy to bring in, particularly with Angel Pagan torching the Grapefruit League.

I *think* Thames has options, and if so, then I’m sort of OK with such a deal. He does hit from the right side, he does play decent defense in the outfield, and does hit with some power. Further, he played 33 games at first base last year — and with Carlos Delgado’s hip a question mark, it would be nice to have options beyond Marlon Anderson. The only thing I don’t like about Thames’ game is his propensity to strike out — he K’d 72 times and walked only 13 times in 282 plate appearances last year, while popping 18 homers. So, he’ll hit a homerun every 15 times up, but he’ll strike out once in every four. That wouldn’t be so bad if he got on base often, but he doesn’t — it’s all or nothing.

That could be good for a part-time player — Tony Clark, for example, has made a career out of it. And the Mets could use some more power off the bench. Dramatic walkoff homers are fun to watch, that’s for sure. Maybe he would be a good fit after all … I still haven’t decided, partly because of Pagan’s performance thus far. If Angel can continue this pace, it would be terrible to see him sent to AAA.

What’s your take?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 March 5, 2008 at 10:30 am
    I’d heard this as well — and it makes some sense, considering Sosa pitched arguably his best ballgame of the season vs. the Tigers last year in Interleague. They probably liked what they saw from him.

    With regard to Thames, he’s signed to a 1-year deal worth $1.27MM…while the Tigers are exploring trades right now to pick up various needs — I think they’ll hold onto Mr. Thames, especially with Jacque Jones out in LF.

    Thames has some pop, and is nice situationally vs. lefties — but is an awful hitter overall.

    The guy I’d hope the Mets could pick up from Detroit?……a disgruntled Brandon Inge. The Mets could promise him a ton of playing time, especially given the iffy state of Carlos Delgado….2 catchers who might not be healthy the entire way/Schneider not providing much with the stick anyway….and of course, if Wright ever decided he needed a day or 2 off — Inge can play 3rd, too.

    Guys who are that versatile can typically take on a game here, a game there in the outfield as well. I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to swing by The Mets and see if he can’t grab himself a full-time 1B gig. If he really wants to play 3rd that bad, then it’s understandable — but if the Mets could pull off Sosa-for-Inge?

    Sign me up.

  2. Walnutz15 March 5, 2008 at 10:32 am
    What I didn’t like reading this morning:…ups_100564.htm

    Though I think they’d rather trade a guy like Schoeneweis or Sosa before Smith — it’s still a possibility to see him moved:

    “March 5, 2008 — PORT ST. LUCIE – Joe Smith was a revelation in New York Mets spring training last year, winning the award as the most impressive first-timer in camp and, more important, winning a roster spot on the big club just 10 months after being drafted.

    A year later, according to scouts from rival clubs, Smith is part of a list of players the Mets have told other teams they are willing to trade in a desire to fill two key backup roles: a righty hitter who can play both first base and right field, and a middle infielder who can handle shortstop well.

    Aside from Smith, the Mets also would consider trading Orlando Hernandez Orlando Hernandez , Scott Schoeneweis, Jorge Sosa and Anderson Hernandez. Ruben Gotay, who was out of options and, thus, could not be sent back to the minors without facing waivers, also was on that list before injuring his foot.”

  3. isuzudude March 5, 2008 at 10:33 am
    Interesting topic, Joe. I caught the tail end of the Heyman interview on the way home from work last night, but only read about the Sosa for Thames rumors this morning.

    It’s no secret the Mets are in dire straits for a right-handed power-bat off the bench who can play OF and 1B. Olmedo Sanez could have been the guy, but he’s MIA and ancient (as well as coming off his worst season in the majors) so his chances are diminishing by the second. You also mention Angel Pagan’s emergence, but the problem is he’s never played 1B, and if we need a right-hand bat to off-set the slumping and/or injured Delgado, Pagan isn’t really in the equation.

    I think a Sosa for Thames trade would work out pretty well, actually. IMHO, Sosa would better be used as a ROOGY rather than a long-reliever, which the Mets have him slated as. And what with El Duque’s health struggles, and the emergences of Figueroa, Joselo Diaz, and Steven Register, it looks like the Mets have better options to go with than Sosa. So, in my mind, he’s very much expendable.

    To me, Thames makes a good fit on the Mets. He could spell Church vs. tough LHP. He could spell Delgado when injured or allow the Mets to play both he and Easley vs. tough LHP. He has starting experience and a good glove while predominantly playing LF, where Alou is bound to get injured (which could also set up a nice platoon of Thames and Chavez). As you mentioned, though, Thames tends to strike out a bit much. However, I suspect most of Thames’ atbats as a Met would come vs. LHP, of which he hit .310 against last season with a .586 slug% and .927 OPS. And in regards to importance, I think a strong righty bat vs. LHP is paramount to an out-of-place long reliever, especially when we have an abundance of them already in camp. Not sure about options, but Thames will be making $1.275-mil in ’08 compared to Sosa’s $2-mil, so the Mets win there, too. The Tigers are also looking to dump Brandon Inge, whose versatility may also interest Omar.

    If the trade of Sosa for Thames were to transpire, I’d think the bullpen would include Wagner, Heilman, Feliciano, Sanchez, Wise, Schoeneweis, and Figueroa/Register, and the bench would be Castro, Easley, Anderson, Chavez, Thames. Not sure if Gotay will be ready on opening day with his ankle injury, and not sure either if the Mets are ever going to need his services again. That’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes. Pagan goes to AAA and is first to be recalled when someone on offense gets DL’ed.

    That’s my take, anyway.

  4. Walnutz15 March 5, 2008 at 10:45 am
    Just to comment: I’d read that Olmedo Saenz is with the team, but doesn’t have a work Visa…..hence, no in-game action for him.


    All having Visa problems in some way, shape, or form.

  5. whatdatmean March 5, 2008 at 11:07 am
    Who ever gets added to the roster forces Gotay off of it, unless we move him, so it better be worth it. Plus, Pagan, who has been a beast, must go to AAA.
    Castro, Anderson, & Endy are key to the bench. Easley will be there, and essentially does the same as Thames & Gotay combined[eventhough i love Gotay]! To me, Easley seems to be the excess, but i think we are stuck with him.

    Thames can play be a nice mix as the offset to alou[when injured], church[if he struggles against lefties], & delgado[when injured]. He would be a decent bat in the lineup.

    IMO…if Omar swings a trade w/detroit, he needs to get Inge back, not Thames. Not that he is a hitting stud, but he brings a lot to the table. He can play every day, if needed at 1b,3b,OF, & C!!! having a 3rd option at C makes the bench that much more dynamic. Plus, this guy has pop and provides great insurance. Detroit wants to trade him and his salary, so the situation works.
    Not that i wouldnt be happy with a guy like Thames, but since we do have endy & pagan, his necessity is dulled. Inge does a lot more for that bench.
    I cant wait to see what happens.

    I would also have to think that with the emergence of figgy & register, with Pelf looking solid, el duque could be traded in addition to show & sosa, if there are any takers. They have some nice arms for the BP they may want to make room for. Gotay’s days with the Mets seem as good as done. its unfortunate, i hope he lands in a good situation. He may have what it takes to play a key role for a team.

  6. Walnutz15 March 5, 2008 at 11:29 am
    If the Mets were smart, then they’d milk this Gotay injury for what it’s worth — just on the basis of them then being able to put Gotay on the Disabled List — and start the year at New Orleans.

    Play the injury-card….don’t have him rush back, only to aggravate it, and essentially be worthless in a then forced-trade.

    We could DL him until he’s fully healed, and then send him to the minors on a “rehab-assignment” (which would be true, in the case of an ankle injury….they’re no picnic, especially if almost-but-not-broken) for a maximum of 30 days.

    After that, he has to be added to the team or passed through waivers…..hopefully, he’d be healed a bit, have proven a bit more than just sitting on the bench at Spring Training — and be worth more in a trade. They’ll get nothing for him injured….and it’s apparent that he’ll be mired in Willie’s doghouse for any time he’s with the team.

    A shame, considering he hurt himself playing like it was the freakin’ 7th game of the World Series. Something he had to show Willie to “prove” he belonged on the Big Club. Something we all saw perfectly clear last year.

    Good luck, Rube.

  7. sincekindergarten March 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm
    If we can do it, I’m in. Besides, there seems to be a logjam of pitching at PSL right now. You’ve got El Deadguy and the bunion problem, Pelfrey lighting it up, and Wise, Register, and Stokes all angling to fill two slots. There’s an odd man in there somewhere. Sosa just may be it.
  8. joe March 5, 2008 at 1:35 pm
    I’d LOVE getting Inge … the question is whether he’d be happy being a supersub, playing the OF corners, 1B, and going back behind the plate again.

    If he’s willing to get back behind the plate just 35-50 times, not even full games, but just as an occasional starter / late-inning bat, this would be a tremendous acquisition … almost too good to be true.

  9. isuzudude March 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm
    Not to rain on the Inge parade, but is it worth having a bench player making over $6-mil a season for the next 3 years? He alone would pretty much make more per year than all the other bench players combined, and would likely get no more playing time than Anderson or Chavez. I think eventually he would become a roster clog for a younger, more inexpensive player who could perform just as well, if not better. Plus, Inge has no pro experience playing 1B, although I’m sure he could learn on the fly. But I think that’s what makes Thames more attractive. Ability to play 1B, cheap, and only a one year commitment.
  10. Micalpalyn March 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm
    Wow I am late: This was a pot waiting to be stirred.

    1. bullpen: I think past blog input has agreed that Willies mis-management of the pen by giving folks roles they could not live up to affected the Mets last yr. But rather than hope for Sosa to repeat last years success and Sho to rebound, I think its best the Mets inject new life into the BP and Register, Figueroa, Wise and the return of the dirty one are just that.

    2. Easley and Marlon are bench studs. Endy I’m on the fence with. I think Angel Pagan maybe a poor mans Endy. I thought his premature trade to Chicago was based on a logjam of AAA/AA Ofers which is now gone. his return was very lucky. I think ENDY as much as anyone could also be available in a trade. I have also said before that Ahern is a sleeper. Ahern WON the startuing 2B job 2 years prior to Valentin’s emergence and his defense and slow maturinfg offense could see him get into the picture. I LOVE Gotay and revelled at hids contribution last yr, but I agree he is bait also with 2B belonging to Castillo, Valentin, Ahern then Easley. I’d love it if Gotay was able to stay but I’m wondering if its even possible without using the DL.

    3. Thames makes alot of sense as OF depth (5th Ofer). Thames brings power, Pagan/Endy bring versatility & defense.

    4. I doubt this is the only trade rumor we will entertain in the next 4 weeks as I think we could improve our organizational depth/futures by spinning of El duque, Gotay, Endy, Sho, Sosa.

    5. Guys: no mention of Tejada or Michel Abreu?

  11. joe March 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm
    isuzudude: interesting point on Inge’s contract … especially now that he’s in his 30s. I like him because he’s a “ballplayer” … plays the game hard, plays it smart, will play anywhere — a poor man’s Craig Biggio. But his bat is inconsistent from year to year, he strikes out a lot, could walk a bit more. Assuming he stays clean, the bat speed is going to go down from here on … and he’s not exactly known for his quick hands.

    Still, he’s not a bad option … he’s succeeded as an everyday player and is the type of “gamer” that the Mets supposedly have been trying to add to their club.

  12. isuzudude March 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm
    Joe: I’d be on board for a Inge-for-Sosa swap if it weren’t for Inge’s contract. He certainly brings plenty of positives to the table – versatility and being right-handed above all else – but whereas he’d be a welcome addition at present, I can just see him becoming an overpaid, underperforming bench player as his contract plays out, clogging the way for a Dan Murphy, Lucas Duda, Michel Abreu, or Ezequiel Carrera down the road. Again, that’s why I see Thames as the better fit. Does his duty for 2008, and goes on his merry way in the offseason.