Mega-Trade with Dodgers?
There is one great way for the Mets to trade Luis Castillo — and wind up with a gold glover, a #2 starter, and a catcher for now and the next ten years.
It DOES involve some sacrifice on the Mets’ part, but it doesn’t include any of their “untouchables”. In fact, the trade wouldn’t include any minor leaguers whatsoever. All big leaguers, going both ways.
This deal would also require that the Mets be willing to gamble on a few things. But then, isn’t any trade a gamble?
Oh there’s one other caveat — there has to be truth to the rumor that the Dodgers are looking to deal Russell Martin, as reported by Joel Sherman:
You want a surprise name that could end up out on the trade market? How about Dodgers catcher Russell Martin? Rival executives say the Dodgers are not overly enamored with his makeup and at a time when front-line catchers are hard to find, Los Angeles could decide to see what his value is.
Heck, if I’m the Mets, I’m making a phone call. Young all-star-caliber catchers are few and far between, and becoming rarer every year. The Mets have little in the way of catching prospects in their organization, save for 18-year-old Francisco Pena, who is still very far from MLB.
So here goes my proposition for a mega-deal with the Dodgers:
Mets trade: Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Brian Schneider
Dodgers return: Russell Martin, Brad Penny, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, and Cory Wade.
Why the Mets do it:
Number one, to trade Beltran when his value will never be higher, and get in return a two-way catcher. While everyone talks about how impossible it is to find an offensive-minded centerfielder with tools like Beltran, it’s even more rare to find a catcher who can both catch and hit — and is only 25.
Number two, the Mets are desperate for a frontline starter who can back up Johan Santana and keep the pressure off Mike Pelfrey. Oliver Perez and Pedro Martinez are likely to depart via free agency, and there’s no guarantee that John Maine will come back healthy and effective after shoulder surgery and an inconsistent 2008. Penny has the potential to dominate, and will be motivated by pitching in his walk year. Yes he had a lousy 2008, but he knows that another 16-win season will earn him a huge payday next winter. Remember Mike Hampton?
Number three, in Jones the Mets get a centerfielder with the skillset to replace Beltran both in the field and at bat. Like Penny, he had a lousy 2008 but I’m betting he’s the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year. And if he really is a .158 hitter from now on, Pierre is insurance.
Number four, the Mets rid themselves of Castillo. And fifth, they get a young, bright-looking middle reliever in Wade, who will help in the bullpen right away.
Why the Dodgers do it:
First, they get Beltran, the best all-around centerfielder in baseball, to play between young stars Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and provide some of the offensive firepower lost when Manny Ramirez walks. Second, they get something in return for Penny, rather than declining his option and losing him for nothing. Third, they dump Jones’ $15M contract for ’09. Fourth, they get a fine receiver in Schneider, who will be a stopgap while they figure out what to do in the future at the position. Finally, they get a veteran second baseman to fill in for Jeff Kent, who is expected to leave via free agency.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know — Jones is no lock to go back to being a star centerfielder, and his .158 average is quite scary. But you have to think of the deal as being more of Beltran for Martin and Pierre, and figuring that one of Jones or Penny are going to do an about-face. Think of it this way: would you rather hope that Luis Castillo can be a singles-hitting .300 hitter again, or that Jones can be a 30-HR, MVP centerfielder with the potential to carry a team all by himself? Jones can’t be that bad again — he simply can’t. And like Penny, he’ll be performing in a walk year. It’s amazing how much of a motivating factor that can be, especially for players in their early 30s.
Don’t worry, this proposal has not one nugget of truth behind it, and there’s no way the Mets make such a deal — they don’t have the chutzpah to pull it off. At the same time, I refuse to take responsibility if this trade idea gets picked up by ESPN.com and finds its way to airwaves as legitimate “buzz” … I’ve seen similar speculation reported as rumor recently.