Monday’s Rumor Roundup
With the Pirates getting the young outfielder they wanted — Jose Tabata — they might be less inclined to trade Jason Bay. Though, insiders believe they’re still shopping Bay in the hopes of landing more prospects — particularly another arm. MLB.com’s “Trade Talk” blog suggests that Bay could have been had by the Braves for Brent Lillibridge, a top A-ball pitching prospect, and another prospect. If that’s true, the Mets might have a shot of assembling a “no F-Mart” package — though I imagine Jon Niese, Nathan Vineyard, or one of their better pitching prospects would have to be part of the package, as well as David Murphy, an infielder hitting well for the B-Mets. If that’s true, to me it’s a no-brainer: get Bay in here for the stretch run and all of ’09.
The Red Sox don’t have many options if they are serious about trading Manny Ramirez, since there are few teams who can give them a comparable bat in return AND are willing to pay his exorbitant salary AND are willing to put up with his frequent “Manny being Manny” episodes. As suggested here this morning, perhaps the Mets could get a third team involved … maybe the aforementioned Pirates and Jason Bay? For example, the Mets might send prospects to Pittsburgh, the Pirates send Bay to Boston, and the Red Sox send Manny to the Mets. It would be a complex deal, but I’m certain that Omar Minaya is doing everything he can to bring Ramirez to Flushing. Getting him into the lineup is almost a guarantee — in my mind — that the Mets make the postseason.
Any rumors of the Mets dealing for Brian Tallet can be put to rest, as Tallet has broken his toe and will be out for three weeks. Fine with me. Rumors of Mets pursuing Tallet, Arthur Rhodes, Jack Taschner, or any of these other phony baloney LOOGYs make no sense to me — none of them are any better than Scott Schoeneweis or Pedro Feliciano, so why bother?
If the Mets don’t do the impossible and bring a big bat such as Bay, Manny, or Matt Holliday, they will focus on one of several underwhelming door prizes. Buzz surrounds Raul Ibanez, Randy Winn, Marcus Thames, and some other pretenders. Personally, you can keep Ibanez and Thames. Winn would be an OK last-ditch guy because he plays all facets of the game well, he’s a good clubhouse guy, and he should come in return for next to nothing. These options remind me of 2006, when the Mets were going hard after Moises Alou at the deadline, but had to settle for Shawn Green after the deadline. I can see the Mets sending a fringe A-ball player to San Francisco for Winn in mid-August. Winn would have to be paid $8.5M in ’09, but looking at the slop available in this winter’s free agent market, that might turn out to be a very fair salary for a stopgap in left field while the Mets wait for Fernando Martinez. Unlike others, I don’t believe F-Mart will be ready when Citi Field opens next year, so the Mets would be smart to pick up a veteran who is untethered after ’09. Yeah, I’d love to have someone with more power than Winn, but as a last resort, you could do worse.
I’m not understanding the fascination the Mets supposedly have for Thames. He’s a streak hitter who hits homeruns when he’s hot, but offers little else. He strikes out a TON — even when hot — rarely walks, hits for a low average, is only average in the field, is below average on the bases, and has trouble against righthanders. Add in the fact that he’s having more trouble against lefties than righties this season, and you wonder how he has any value at all. If the Mets are seriously considering Thames, I suggest they instead trade a fringe prospect to Texas for AAAA outfielder Nelson Cruz, who is essentially the same player but will come cheaper and has a chance to be slightly better all-around.
Let’s forget about Brian Fuentes, particularly if the asking price is Aaron Heilman. Even with Duaner Sanchez struggling, I don’t think trading away top prospects for a reliever is necessary, nor prudent. For a position player — someone who will play every day and send 25-30 balls over the wall, yes. A guy you use for one inning 70 times a year, no.