Omar’s Worst Trade

During SNY’s SportsNite (or was it Daily News Live? and does anyone know the difference?) last night, the subject of Brian Bannister surfaced.

Gary Apple threw out the suggestion that the “trade of Ambiorix Burgos and Ruben Gotay for Brian Bannister goes down as amongst Omar Minaya’s worst ever”, with both Jonas Schwartz and Mark Malusis agreeing wholeheartedly.

Schwartz: “you wanna ask me how bad on a scale of one to ten, it’s a 14! …. I think it’s the worst of Omar’s tenure …”

Malusis: “oh it’s a terrible trade … Burgos … was an absolute disaster … as good of a deal as Santana deal was for Minaya, this was bad as a deal as could possibly be …”

First of all, Ruben Gotay was not part of that deal — he came to Shea in return for Jeff Keppinger. But I don’t care much about that part of the declaration.

Rather, I think it’s unfair to judge this deal so harshly right now. Right here, right now, and playing Monday morning quarterback, it’s easy to say it was a bad deal. After all, Bannister was a Rookie of the Year candidate while Burgos was recovering from Tommy John surgery. And I’ll be the first to admit that I liked Bannister, didn’t love the deal, and felt that Bannister’s brains and workmanlike effort were undervalued.

However, Burgos is only 24 years old, and was touching triple digits before TJ surgery. Last I checked, there weren’t many men who could hurl a baseball 100 MPH. Looking at the surgery’s history, it’s possible that Burgos returns as strong as he was before, and if he doesn’t, he likely will still be able to throw in the mid-90s — which still separates him from most of the human population. Because of his age, I think Amby has plenty of time to come back and make Omar look brilliant.

As of this moment, I wish the deal had never been made, but hindsight is 20/20. And until Burgos becomes the Mets closer and is saving 40 games a year, we’ll have to listen to pundits criticize the trade every time Brian Bannister throws a quality start.

By the way, is anyone else offended by the completely contrived controversies that have been unnaturally injected into SNY’s TV content lately? Do they really think we’re buying into — or enjoying — the artificial arguments between Schwartz and Malusis, or Chris Carlin and Kenny Beningo? No offense to any of those on-air personalities; I’m just uncomfortable watching them force debates.

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. isuzudude April 3, 2008 at 8:15 am
    Well, it should come as no surprise that Malusis takes every opportunity to slam Omar and the Mets. He is, after all, an understudy of Mikey F. & Chrissy R. – aka the two biggest Mets haters on the planet.

    And agreed, Joe…it’s WAY too early to cast judgment on that trade at this point. Burgos clearly has better “stuff” than Bannister, and despite TJ surgery, could very well have a brighter future, as he’s 4 years younger and has more time to develop. Also, at the time of the trade (on Dec. 6, 2006) the Mets were facing the likelihood of Duaner Sanchez missing the entire 2007 season (which would happen), so another arm for the bullpen was needed. Yes, starting pitching depth was also needed as Pedro had already been declared out for 2007 as well, but at least the Mets knew they had Glavine, Duque, Maine, Perez, Pelfrey, Humber, and Vargas coming back. Whereas in the bullpen, Bradford and Oliver had left via free agency, Bell, Lindstrom, and Owens were traded, Joe Smith was an unknown, and Mota was coming off a PED-laiden postseason trip. The need for a strong bullpen was greater than that of what projected to be a back end of the rotation starter.

    I think the fact that they don’t even know the correct parameters of the Burgos trade is enough to dismiss all credibility amongst these morons.

  2. RockStar78 April 3, 2008 at 8:27 am
    You got it right Joe, hindsight is 20-20. At the time of the Bannister trade, Bannister was viewed as a back of the rotation starter with ordinary stuff whereas Burgos had tremendous upside. And also at that time, the Mets had a lot of starting pitching depth with Pelfrey, Humber, Guerra, etc, but didn’t have a lot of bullpen depth (Sanchez injured, Mota out for 50 games). Who would have thought that Bannister would start looking like a young Greg Maddux and Burgos would blow out his elbow?
  3. […] a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish writes that it may still be premature to fully evaluate the Bannister-for-Burgos […]
  4. Micalpalyn April 3, 2008 at 11:50 am
    Joe- Soory I could not help it- from MLBrumors

    Davidoff: Tejeda Makes Sense For Mets
    Newsday’s Ken Davidoff has an idea for the Mets: 26 year-old recently DFA’d starter Robinson Tejeda of the Rangers. Davidoff notes that the Mets have had interest in him in the past, and now he could be had for very little via trade or even a waiver claim.

    Tejeda’s main problem has been control. Back in ’05, Baseball America compared Tejeda to Carlos Silva “in build and repertoire.” One big difference – Tejeda averages almost 95 mph with his heater.

  5. joe April 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm
    Mic, what’s up with Ken Davidoff stealing your idea and calling it his own?

    As I’ve been saying — I’m on board with Tejeda for AAA depth — let’s get anyone … now!

  6. Matt Himelfarb April 3, 2008 at 9:04 pm
    Even with all the hype stemming from his performance last year, I still don’t think Brian Bannister is anything more than a back-of-the-rotation starter. He might just have the whole BABIP thing figured out himself, but since I am admittedly unfamiliar with some of the particulars he goes into during his interviews, I’d like to him outperform his FIP. Anyways, I don’t see how he’ll get away this year with his mediocre stuff and striking out as few as batters as he does.
  7. Micalpalyn April 4, 2008 at 10:09 am
    It is destined for me to stop posting…..