The trading deadline (and my wife’s birthday) is 10 days away. The Mets are currently in a tie for first place with the Phillies, and
go into Philly return to Shea for a three-game series on Tuesday. Omar Minaya has been remarkably quiet.
I smell a trade coming … a big one.
While it’s true the Mets have no chips to trade, I have a funny feeling that Omar will pull off something, and get something big in return. And not Raul Ibanez big.
Carlos Lee big.
Before you poo-poo Gotham Baseball’s latest rumor, consider this: Lee is 32 years old and signed through 2012, for a total of $74M after this season. Houston owner Drayton McLane has to be re-thinking that contract, and with the Astros 12 games behind and nowhere near the talent level of the Brewers and Cubs, he might be thinking of trading away Lee while his stock is high.
No doubt the cost would include the Mets’ top prospects — i.e., Jon Niese, Mike Carp, F-Mart — but there’s an outside possibility they can pull off something that doesn’t include crown jewel Fernando Martinez. For example, the Mets might instead put Aaron Heilman and a few of their very young hurlers (Nathan Vineyard, Bobby Parnell, Brant Rustich) into a package. Why would the Astros bite? Think about it — there are only two other teams in MLB who would take on that kind of contract for a player on the wrong side of 30 — the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Bosox won’t do it because they can pick up their two options on Manny Ramirez. The Yankees could be a suitor in the offseason, but right now seem uninterested in dealing away any more of their youth.
Gotham also suggests Willie Bloomquist — a guy I never considered but does seem to be a decent fit. Still, I think we’ll see something bigger, and keep looking at the Baltimore Orioles and all their bad contracts. Furthermore, the latest news that Billy Wagner needs an MRI on his shoulder means the Mets are suddenly in the market for a closer. Could Huston Street be in their sights? Or at the least, Rafael Betancourt?
Most likely, what the Mets do before the 31st will depend directly on what happens this week. If the Mets have a strong series in Philly, and take at least two, they might just stand pat — or make a minor deal. If they lose at least two, though, you can bet your bottom dollar that a panic deal will be made. Minaya’s job is on the line this season, and he MUST get the Mets to the postseason. My best guess is Aaron Heilman is on the way out, as well as either Scott Schoeneweis or Pedro Feliciano. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan Church was put into a deal for the right player (i.e., Street … with Matt Murton, or Carlos Lee). Think I’m nuts? You would have thought the same thing on this date in 2006 if I said the Mets would trade Xavier Nady for a 41-year-old reliever and a starting pitcher sent to AAA after posting a 2-10 record. Crazy things happen this time of year.