Mets Fire Sale

firesaleIt was only a week ago that Omar Minaya claimed the Mets to be “buyers” rather than “sellers” but that was as much hogwash then as it is now. The Mets have 11 more losses than the NL East-leading Phillies and are 7 1/2 games out of the Wild Card with 65 games to play. Mathmetically, yes, they have a chance to reach the postseason. Realistically, though, it’s not likely.

With four days before the trading deadline, it’s time to see where the Mets can cut their losses and bring in some talent for 2010. Unfortunately, the list of trade bait is pretty short.

Pedro Feliciano

“Pedro Lite” is one of the most sought-after lefthanded relievers right now, in a mix with Joe Beimel, George Sherrill, and John Grabow. But how much will a pennant-starved team give up for a LOOGY? Would it be more than an A-ball suspect or AA filler material? The Mets may be better off holding on to Feliciano, who is showing no signs of slowing down.

Sean Green

Teams need pitching, and are willing to part with talent in return for quality arms. The question is, do other teams consider Green a quality arm? His stock has fallen due to a terrible first half and the fact that his performace drops considerably with overuse. The White Sox recently gave up a slugging first base prospect to pry Tony Pena from the Diamondbacks, and Pena was in the midst of a similarly down season. But, Pena is 27 and has a better track record. Can the Mets obtain a decent player for the 30-year-old Green? It’s worth trying.

Luis Castillo

After a horrible 2008, Castillo is in line for Comeback Player of the Year, and currently sizzling at the plate. There are a few pennant-contending clubs who might be in the market for a second baseman, most notably the White Sox, Twins, and Cubs. The Rockies and Giants might also have room for Castillo’s .400 OBP. However, there is the issue of Castillo’s unbearable contract, which still has two years and $12M remaining after this season. The Mets would certainly have to eat all or most of that money to get anything of value in return — much like the Red Sox’ dumping of Julio Lugo for Chris Duncan.

If the Mets are willing to continue paying Castillo, they might be able to get a prospect or two. For example, the Giants have a switch-hitting second baseman in AA named Brock Bond who is an on-base machine like Castillo, but is already 24 and has no power and only average speed — though, Mets fans would get excited over his currently .350 batting average (he’s projected to be a Jeff Keppinger / Brendan Ryan utility type of guy). The White Sox have some intriguing pitchers at AA and a big young catcher named Tyler Flowers, who was caught with PEDs in 2007 but has done well without them — whether they’d give him up for Castillo, though, is another story. Most likely, the Mets can get a mix of A and AA borderline prospects — similar to what they gave up to get him back in 2007.

Livan Hernandez

In two weeks, Livan went from nearly getting booted from the rotation to emerging as their second-best starter. Everyone always needs pitching, but would anyone give up anything of value for Hernandez — particularly since he projects as a #5 on any contending club?

Angel Pagan

I know, I know — he’s one of the few exciting and dependable players the Mets have in the lineup right now. But he’s also most likely playing the best baseball he’ll ever play in his life — so it may be a good time to “sell high” (i.e., like when the Mets traded Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Desi Relaford). With Carlos Beltran presumably coming back for 2010 and 2011, Pagan’s value to the Mets is diminished. The Tigers and White Sox could be trolling for an outfielder with Pagan’s skillset, and if he can bring back something of value, it’s worth exploring. On the other hand, if you believe Beltran’s knee woes are only beginning, then it makes sense to hold on tight to Pagan, and pencil him into centerfield for next season — because there are no centerfield prospects in the Mets’ minor league system ready to step in.

Brian Schneider

I’m not seeing it. Schneider is a fairly solid defensive catcher with occasional pop, but what is a contending team going to give up for two-month rental who can’t beat out Omir Santos for a starting job? The Mets would get MAYBE an A-ball suspect, and then we’d have Robinson Cancel back in Flushing.

Gary Sheffield

He can’t go anywhere as long as he’s on the DL. If he passes through waivers in August, maybe the Mets can get a AAA guy who was once a prospect but now a suspect.


I keep looking at the Mets’ roster and seeing nothing of value to other teams — a frightening parallel to their minor league system. Veterans not mentioned, such as Fernando Tatis, Tim Redding, Alex Cora, Cory Sullivan, Brian Stokes, and Jeremy Reed are all key contributors on this fourth-place team, but to a contending club they are basically worthless — other organizations have similar talent stocked at AAA, so why trade for it?

More disconcerting, even if the Mets are able to pull off a few trades, will they get anything worthwhile in return?

Consider this: the last time the Mets held a fire sale was July 2003, when they unloaded Jeromy Burnitz, Roberto Alomar, Rey Sanchez, Graeme Lloyd, and Armando Benitez — you can argue that those players were as or more more valuable then, than what the Mets have to offer now. The total return on those trades? Jeremy Hill, Jason Anderson, Kenny Kelly, Royce Ring, Victor Diaz, Kole Strayhorn, Joselo Diaz, Edwin Almonte, Andrew Salvo, Anderson Garcia and Ryan Bicondoa. Victor Diaz and Ring made minor contributions, and the rest never made it to Flushing.

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.
  1. will mansi July 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm
    The last paragraph says it best, then why would you have a firesale if you are only going to get back minor prospects at best. We need Feliciano for next year. Green and Pagan are definite keepers as well. Pagan is the perfect 4th outfielder and speed off the bench. Green did have a rough start to the season, but he has good stuff, and I think would be an asset next season. Everyone else could go, but if you are only going to get back minimal prospects then why sell. If you were 6.5 games back in the wild card with all of there players healthy, I would say, we have no shot, and let’s sell. But, if and when we start getting the core back, and we are still within 5 to 6 games back, we will have a chance to make a run at it. 65 games left is an eternity. Keep the faith my friend.
  2. C. Saunders July 28, 2009 at 9:33 pm
    It is time to move Castillo. Cubbies and Twins seeking INF help. Maybe they could eat his contract this year and get a team to pay some of 2010 and 2011 and get a stopgap utility guy like Fontenot from the Cubs. This is the best oppoortunity they will have to move on.
  3. gary s. July 29, 2009 at 1:45 am
    joe, we have nobody ofvalue at triple a or the major league level to trade and bring back prospects..nice job omar..
  4. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm
    Why not explore trades for Santana and/or Wright? As Branch Rickey told Pirate holdout Ralph Kiner in 1952; ‘Ralph we finished last with you and we can finish last without you.’

    I don’t trade Murphy, Parnell, Niese, Francour, Santos, and anything in the minors. All of the others on the ML roster can and should go. Soon!

  5. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 2:09 pm
    Sorry I forgot Pelfrey, Cora, Stokes, .

    I think they should see what they can get for K-rod also.

  6. joejanish July 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm
    Frank, although Wright probably has plenty of trade value, I don’t see a good reason to deal him. He’s still young, talented, and productive, and more importantly, he sells a lot of tickets and jerseys. I don’t know that the Mets can get equal value for him.

    As for Santana, I wouldn’t be against trading him now. The problem, however, is that there are only two or three other teams in MLB who can afford his contract — namely the Yankees and Red Sox. Would the Red Sox take on that insane contract? If so I’d be interested in seeing Clay Bucholz and some of their other young guns come this way.

    Curious … why would you trade Wright and not Murphy, Francoeur, or Santos?

  7. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm
    I disagree about the minors. Josh Thole is a C hitting in the .340s at Binghamton. No power but who cares at Citifield. They have 17 year old SS Wilmer Fores. Another 17 year old SS at Binghamton. F-Mart in Buffalo. Sean Ratliff at Savanagh. Nick Evans will be OK. Pitching all the way through the minors. Some of their numbers are down because the Mets have moved them up in mid-year. Get rid of Omar and don’t trade them. In 2007 I saw Parnell and Niese pitch in minor league games in April at St. Lucie. All but one (1) position player (Daniel Murphy) who started in those two (2) have been in trades for Jeff Conine, Luis Castillo, and Johan Santana.
  8. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm
    I see Wright as a latter day Piazza. Last Sat nite in Houston Mets winning in the 9th 9-1 and Wright hits a Homerun. Wow! But with his BA he should be driving in 150 – 160 runs a year. Does not get the clutch hit. He makes great defensive plays when they are instinctive. When he has to think about the throw he becomes dangerous. Last year he hit what .230 ish with men in scoring positon. A part of the team yes – the leader I think not. Winning games will sell tickets, fill stadiums, and sell STUFF not statistics. Mets need heart and hard nose guys with fire in their eyes like a Jeter, Billy Martin, Pete Rose, Paul O’Neill, Mike Lowell, etc. How about Lenny Dykstra, Ray Knight, Wally Backman, Keith, etc. A bunch of tough SOB’s.
  9. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    As great as Tom Seaver was (and he REALLY was); the guy I wanted in a WS game was Jerry Koosman who was a killer with the ‘money on the table.’ Koosman NEVER lost a WS game for us and Seaver lost a few. You may be too young to remember the phrase; ‘we can’t lose because we’ve got Kooz.’

    Santana would draw BIG offers from the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, Redsox, Whitesox, maybe even the Cardinals or the Rangers. I can picture a starter, an everyday player, and maybe a Triple A player ready to come up and a prospect or two.

    Wright could draw similiar interest.

  10. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 3:23 pm
    Lastly to Joe….

    Daniel Murphy reminds me of Dave Magadan. Just put him in a position and leave him there. While we are at it fire HoJo (anthor fantasy league stiff) and get a guy who actually can teach hitting ala Rudy Jaramillo.

    The pitchers like throwing to Santos which speaks volumes. He gets gets some CLUTCH hits. He is no Johnny Bench but I like him and want him on the team and he is only 27 ish.

    Francour is only 25 ish and deserves another shot. He is a right-handed hitter with some pop and and he has a major arn and catches with his glove and not with his head as the prvious guy (Church) did.

  11. Wendy July 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm
    Frank, i guess the fact that Wright is the team leader in RBI’s and runs scored amount to nothing compared to clutch hits, but it is not his fault that Castillo dropped that pop up against the Yankees, that hit against Rivera was very clutch and should have been the game winner.
  12. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    With all due respect – there are too many strike-outs, doubleplays hit into, and sadly throwing errors to call David Wright a star. During a Mets – Giants on Sunday in SF on ESPN several months ago; leadership was discussed and I don’t really like Joe Morgan or Steve Phillips but their analysis was. spot on. When you normally have Reyes and Beltran on base you should have many many more RBIS. A homerun against Rivera is great and if you are happy with Wright as your ‘go to’ guy have at it. What scares me most of all is he is not getting better he should be improving and he is not. Stars pick teams up and carry them on their back.

  13. Wendy July 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm
    Frank, i get what you’re saying, but in all honesty, its not about being a star, its a team, there is “they” and “them”, not “he” to get the job done, one player is not typically able to carry a team unless your name is Albert Pujols, he’s downright ungodly.

    Not being able to carry the Mets on his back does not make Wright trade bait, he has a contract through 2012, but i’m sure if he was available, every GM in baseball would be after him, that’s a fact.

  14. Frank Quinn July 29, 2009 at 7:53 pm
    Wendy….I agree with you but the Mets are sooooo far gone that the only solution is to trade their only 2 healthy ‘star’s.’ See what Cleveland got for Cliff Lee. Imagine what the Mets could get for Santana in one trade and then Wright in another. They might get 5 or 6 major league ready or near ready players and start re-building from there. When Beltran and Reyes come back trade them as well. Reyes to Boston for Ellsbury and Bucholtz(?) maybe more fixes 2 problems. Plus we unload some salary. Beltran to the Rangers who have a heavy farm system and many catchers. Wagner and Delgado will be gone at seasons end. thank God. Look I am a die-hard fan whose heart has been broken more times than I can count. Living in Texas I have traveled to Milwaukee, Chicago, St, Louis, Florida, Kansas City, and Houston as well as Shea to see them Play. I go back to 1962 and the Polo Grounds and Marvelous Marv. Before that I rooted for the Dodgers in Brooklyn.

    I have nothing against your fellow Wright but he is flawed. He is a great kid, a hard worker, and plays very hard every day and probably plays when he is hurt. But I see him swinging at ball 4 against the Cubs with Murphy on third and nobody out. A measily fly ball and we win the game and possibly the division. He just takes the air out of too many rallies.

    Have a great day.