If the Mets Buy

When the team was more than 8 games behind in the Wild Card standings, Nepopolitans GM Omar Minionaya insisted that the team would be “buyers” rather than “sellers” at the deadline. This, of course, came as a surprise, since they were window shoppers last year at this time — a time when they were atop the NL East but desperately in need of one or two final pieces to solve the puzzle. If they were so close last year and didn’t “buy”, why would they “buy” now?

But we have tired of trying to figure out what’s going on in the minds of the Nep’s front office — it’s a futile and frustrating exercise. Most likely, it’s the four-game winning streak, which has lifted the hopes of the fans and fed the Mets’ hype machine. If the Mets make a deal now — even a little one — it could be enough to incite many fans to buy tickets for August and September. So with a little more than 24 hours left to wheel and deal, let’s consider what Minionaya might try to procure.

A LOOGY

The Mets have needed a second lefthander to team with Pedro Feliciano since … well, since forever. The never-ending auditions of Pat Misch, Ken Takahashi, Casey Fossum, etc., has not uncovered a gem. Maybe the Mets can swing a few A-ball suspects for someone like John Grabow or Joe Beimel — but in the grand scheme of things, would such a deal make a difference?

First Baseman

Forget it. The Mets are committed to Dan Murphy at first until Carlos Delgado or game 162 — whichever comes first. So get used to second baseman-type production from the first base position, and hope against hope that the Mets can make up for it at another position.

Left Fielder

The player that would have fit perfectly here was Ryan Garko, but the Giants beat the Mets to him. Mark Kotsay might have been a nice pickup for the short-term, but he also was scooped up. Ben Francisco or Wladimir Balentien would have been an upgrade over the current menagerie being thrown out there. Heck, Wily Mo Pena would’ve been nice to try out right now, but that possibility was muffed. No use crying over split milk. The list of players left include Ryan Spilborghs, Mark Teahen, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, maybe Luke Scott and Ryan Freel. Of that group, Hermida has the most upside, but I don’t see the Fish dealing within the division. Willingham would step right into the middle of the Mets’ order, but the Nats likely will ask for too much in return. Teahen is the one that may make the most sense, but the Royals are looking for a centerfielder — which would mean, I presume, Angel Pagan, who is currently igniting the Mets’ offense. Would KC take Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan, along with a prospect along the lines of Nick Evans?

Catcher

Unless you believe Omir Santos is the long-term answer behind the plate, the Mets will need to get a catcher for 2010. If there was a young catcher available for less than a king’s ransom, it would behoove the Mets to make a deal. I don’t see that happening — they’ll take their chances on finding another fill-in or former Expo over the winter (Michael Barrett should be available).

Pitcher

The Mets needed a solid starting pitcher going back to last July, and the best they could come up with was Livan Hernandez. Say all you want about the “brilliance” of plucking Livan off the scrap heap, but it glazes over the “stupidity” of bidding against themselves for Oliver Perez, over-paying for Tim Redding, and counting on John Maine to come back at 100% health. One junkyard pickup doesn’t make up for purchasing three zirconias at the jewelry store. Unfortunately, everyone needs pitching, and few good arms are available, so if the Mets were to trade for anyone of value, it would cost them dearly. A Halladay deal isn’t happening, so the Mets will cross their fingers on the theory that the thirty-six-million-dollar man and young Jonathan Niese can hold up the back end of the rotation — while also hoping that Mike Pelfrey will make more steps forward than backward and Livan will continue to stymie bad-hitting teams.

Shortstop

If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not happening — the Mets appear committed to Alex Cora while pretending Jose Reyes is coming back. I don’t know — maybe the Mets make a move for someone like David Eckstein. If Angel Berroa continues to stink up the joint, it’s back to Argenis Reyes, Wilson Valdez, or Jerry Manuel’s .220-hitting protege Jonathan Malo.

Conclusion

I think the Mets make some kind of deal, for no reason other than to make it appear as though they’re trying — and also to help push away the tiresome Omar Minaya – Tony Bernanzard – Adam Rubin debacle. I’ll go on a limb and say the Mets’ best trade partner is the Royals; perhaps they make a deal with them for Teahen and Freel or Willie Bloomquist. Or, they can hold onto the message that “good players can still be had after the deadline” and pick up some garbage like David Dellucci or Chris Shelton.

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. isuzudude July 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm
    I thought, when Sheffield went on the DL, that a platoon of Nick Evans and Lucas Duda in LF would have been nice to see. Their minor league numbers this year show they’d operate as a nice platoon team (with Evans mashing lefties and Duda mashing righties), and would either give the Mets the chance to showcase some of their younger guys for a trade, or get some pieces of their future valuable playing time in the bigs. I know that Evans and Duda would leave something to be desired defensively, but thought their offense would make up for it. But the Mets opted for the safer bet in Cory Sullivan, and though he’s only hitting .227, the team is 5-1 in games that he’s started, so I guess I can’t complain.

    If the Mets are to make any moves to improve themselves at the deadline, no transaction should be made with the intention of solely helping the cause of the 2009 season. Sacrifice no prospects for a rental unless that rental will be of service beyond 2009. Conversely, however, no trade should be made at this point that sends away any members of the core. This team deserves a shot to see what they can do if/when the cavalry arrives, and to have a decent shot, players like Johan, Wright, Francoeur, and Krod need to be retained. I saw someone lobbying on here on a different thread to trade any and all of the top quality players, and that is borderline insanity. Whether you want to believe it or not, this team still has a chance to make the postseason, and until that chance expires, it is unwise to shift into firesale mode.

  2. joejanish July 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm
    Agreed on not making moves for short-termers. Though, this recent win streak could cause them to do something stupid, like make a deal for Joe Beimel.

    Evans/Duda would be intriguing, but the Mets would think they’re telling the fans that the white flag has been raised. They don’t seem to get the idea that the hardcore fans would prefer to see the youngsters — they prefer to make moves that affect the perception of the lowest common denominator.

    Actually, I don’t know that the Mets have any consistent rhyme or reason to what they do. The agenda changes hourly, it seems — based mainly on jerks of the knee.

  3. kenny July 31, 2009 at 3:17 am
    Um, Nepopolitans? I don’t get it. Please explain