Your Turn, Omar
So the Phillies have accomplished the impossible, addressing their most glaring need by picking up Joe Blanton from the Athletics for a package of prospects / suspects.
The Phillies gave up no one from their 25-man roster, with all three players among their “top 20 prospects” according to Baseball America. However, that’s not saying much — the Phillies’ farm system might be worse than the Mets’. They gave up Adrian Cardenas (BA #2), a 20-year-old offensively minded second baseman who projects as a “middle of the order” hitter but hasn’t shown that kind of power yet; Josh Outman (BA #4), a 23-year-old LHP who has a GREAT name for a pitcher but is too old to be a middle reliever in AA; and Matt Spencer, a 22-year-old outfielder from Arizona State who is hitting .250 in A ball and might benefit by moving to the mound (he’s a lefty who threw a 94-MPH fastball at ASU).
It was no accident that the Phillies made this move prior to their series with the Mets. His last start came on July 9th, so I imagine the Phils could slot him into the rotation wherever they wish.
As we all know, the Mets have a glaring need of their own — a corner outfielder with a legitimate big-league bat. I’m still not convinced that a.) Ryan Church will return from his neurological issues and be the guy he was from April-June; and b.) Fernando Tatis and Endy Chavez can continue to hit the way they’ve been hitting. BOTH (a) and (b) have to happen if the Mets are to get into the postseason, and we’re waiting on (a). Don’t be blinded by the Mets’ 9-game winning streak — the pitching won’t be THAT good for the rest of the season and eventually, not having that extra big bat (Moises Alou) will hinder the team’s chances.
So with the Phillies making their move, it’s time for Omar Minaya to make his move. And that move is NOT promoting Fernando Martinez. If F-Mart were hitting .350 and bashing balls over the fence, then yes, it’s a good move. But Martinez is not dominating, and not hitting for power, and IS doing a lot of swinging and missing. At AA. Guys who strike out a lot in AA will strike out even more in AAA, and more still in MLB. So that .295 average F-Mart is carrying becomes .260 or worse, with little power. May as well hope Angel Pagan can return (not looking good) or give Trot Nixon a shot. At least Nixon will draw walks, run the bases intelligently, and pop one every once in a while.
The Mets will not get Matt Holliday — nor should they. But they might be able to steal Raul Ibanez, Junior Griffey, Casey Blake, Jay Payton, Kevin Millar, or someone similar. I still smell a trade with Baltimore coming, with the Mets bringing in big salaries (Payton, Ramon Hernandez, Chad Bradford) in return for suspect youngsters. The Orioles, going nowhere and strapped with bad contracts, are too perfect a trading partner not to be able to work out some kind of deal.
But what will Omar’s move be? No one knows for sure, but I guarantee we’ll see something before Monday. Minaya will want the Mets armed a ready for the Phillies series.