Someone Is On Crack

crack_pipeBy now you’ve read or heard about Jon Heyman’s SI column reporting that the Mets turned down a Blue Jays trade proposal for Roy Halladay.

According to Heyman:

Toronto’s request of the Mets for star pitcher Roy Halladay was for top outfield prospect Fernando Martinez, young pitchers Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese and shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada, sources tell SI.com.

The Mets responded with a resounding no.

OK, someone here is on crack, and I want to know who. The authorities need to be informed and someone needs to go to jail, because drugs are bad, and hurt everyone.

Either it’s Heyman, for not getting the facts straight, JP Ricciardi, for making such a light proposal, or Omar Minaya, for not pulling the trigger. Because seriously, the Mets wouldn’t want to trade four youngsters with less than a half season of MLB experience combined in return for the best pitcher in MLB? They wouldn’t want to pair the best pitcher in MLB with the second-best pitcher in MLB (take your pick on who’s who), and have the most dominating 1-2 duo since Curt Schilling / Randy Johnson? (Some would argue that Halladay / Santana would be more dominating.) Really?

For the crack smokers out there who are emotionally tied to F-Mart, Niese, Parnell, and a 17-year-old you likely wouldn’t know if he was sitting on your living room couch, may I remind you of David West, Alex Ochoa, Alex Escobar, Ambiorix Concepcion, Butch Huskey, Keith Miller, Ryan Thompson, Brook Fordyce, Damon Buford, Billy Beane, Terry Blocker, Chris Donnels, DJ Dozier, Bill Latham, Wally Whitehurst, Floyd Youmans, and Herm Winningham — for example. Not to mention Mike Vail, Gregg Jefferies, Jason Phillips, Calvin Schiraldi, and others who may have had brief stints of success but never quite lived up to the hype.

Yes, every once in a while the Mets give away a gem like Scott Kazmir, Jason Bay, or Nolan Ryan, but those were deals for nobodies. Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, bar none. He’s not Victor Zambrano, Jason Middlebrook, or Jim Fregosi.

There is the argument that the Mets’ system is already void of prospects, and can’t bare to lose any more. But where was that whine the past four winters, when the Mets were gobbling up Type A free agents and in turn losing #1 draft picks? And do you really believe that Martinez, Parnell, Niese, and Tejada are going to make a significant impact on the team in 2010 and 2011 — the type of impact that will put them in the Fall Classic?

Further, if the Mets did about five minutes of negotiating, they’d likely also net Alex Rios or Vernon Wells — two outfielders with enormous contracts that a New York team like the Mets should be able to handle (Rios, with the cheaper contract, is the obvious preference). Again, start crying that the Mets can’t afford to take on any more big contracts, or that Rios and Wells stink. Now tell me who is playing left field next season? Nick Evans? Who’s playing center in 2012, when Carlos Beltran will have jettisoned for a warmer, calmer climate? Not Fernando Martinez, nor anyone else in the Mets’ farm system. The Mets have nothing in the way of outfield prospects coming up between now and 2014, so guess how the holes will be filled? Free agency. Possibly Type A — i.e., Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Jason Bay, Magglio Ordonez, Vladimir Guerrero, Rick Ankiel, Jermaine Dye, Manny Ramirez. Heck, Xavier Nady may qualify as Type A. And there goes another draft pick. And most likely, an expensive, too-long-term contract. So either way the farm system gets kicked in the groin, and the budget gets expanded. Further, I don’t know that any of those free agents are guaranteed to significantly outperform Rios or Wells over the next five years.

If we knew for sure that the Mets were going to throw in the towel on 2009 and 2010, and focus on building from within, then maybe you refrain from trading those four suspects. But Omar Minaya has three more years beyond this one, and his modus operandi is to pay exhorbitantly for upper tier, well-known players, for the purpose of “putting a winning product on the field” in the short-term. A Halladay trade like the one proposed is as much a no-brainer as the Santana deal was (I’m sorry, do you wish you had Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, and Deolis Guerra right now, instead?).

Of course, the rumor has already been shot down by a number of sources, so we may never find out who was smoking crack yesterday. Maybe all three were passing the pipe around together.

Conspiracy Theory: the Mets “leaked” this “trade offer” — even if it never occurred — as a means of making those four prospects appear more valuable than they really are. Think about it — it makes the Mets look good, in that a) their farm system has plenty of worthwhile trading chips, and b) it tells their fans that they’re committed to the future, and won’t give away their top prospects — not even for Roy Halladay.

***Conspiracy Update! ****
Per Heyman’s updated column from this afternoon (thanks to Walnutz for the link!):

In any case, it appears that the Mets’ prospect list isn’t as thin as some suggest, as even in that proposal they’d be keeping top young pitchers Jenrry Mejia and Brad Holt and shortstop prodigy Wilmer Flores.

Shea What?

About the Author

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.

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