Teixeira to Braves: Now What?
So it’s only a matter of time before the Mark Teixeira trade to the Braves becomes official. Now what?
How about this: nothing.
While the Braves are about to acquire one of the elite hitters in the American League, the biggest fish the Mets appear to be after is a hobbling, aging, Luis Castillo. The rumor is that the Twins probably want Kevin Mulvey + another prospect in return, and I’m not even sure that’s a fair trade for a guy who may not be a better alternative to Ruben Gotay right now. The way Gotay has been hitting, my guess is that Omar Minaya will wait and see if he cools off, and then go after Castillo after the deadline — much the way he waited for Lastings Milledge to prove he wasn’t the answer last year, and then plucked Shawn Green.
So I think we’re all in agreement that at this moment, Castillo is not a player the Mets need to get, unless he can be obtained for minor leaguers with less upside than Mulvey. Mulvey may not be any kind of lights-out prospect — his ceiling is similar to Brian Bannister’s — but I still wouldn’t deal him for Castillo — not when Tadahito Iguchi was dealt for a nondescript AA middle reliever. Tell the Twins they can have Lino Urdaneta or Robert Parnell, or they can let Castillo limp away at the end of the year — because no one else in MLB is clamoring for him at the moment.
Other than Castillo, who / what do the Mets have in their sights? There don’t appear to be any second basemen on the block who will definitely outperform Gotay — except maybe Mark Loretta. The best starting pitcher available is Jose Contreras, and he wouldn’t significantly upgrade the Mets’ rotation. The best available middle reliever has already been traded — Scott Linebrink — so if the Mets want bullpen help they’ll have to overpay for Chad Cordero or Eric Gagne (which probably won’t happen). The only other place the Mets can consider an addition is the outfield, and we keep hearing about Jermaine Dye. A month ago, Dye was a question mark due to his leg injuries and poor performance. However, he’s healthy and hitting now, and could be a fine complement to the lineup. But then again, with Lastings Milledge battering the ball — particularly in the clutch — can you really squeeze Dye in? Maybe if Shawn Green goes the other way in the deal, but then you’d have a suddenly righty-heavy lineup.
All things considered, perhaps the best thing for the Mets to do is stand pat. After all, once Moises Alou gets his timing back, he’ll be as good or better than Dye might be. And if he doesn’t, it appears that Milledge is ready to steal a job from him or Green — maybe Green and Alou become platoon partners.
Only one thing has me concerned — the Carlos Beltran injury. For all we know, Beltran is more seriously injured than the Mets are letting on, because of the trading deadline. His “strained stomach muscle” may actually be a strained or torn oblique, which would require several weeks of recovery time. If word got out about the true nature of his injury, the price for Dye would triple. How confident are you with an everyday outfield consisting of a questionable Alou, a regressed Green, and a streaking Milledge? Remember, Endy Chavez and Carlos Gomez are not returning anytime soon, so the best alternatives are David Newhan, Ben Johnson, and Ricky Ledee.
The next 17 or so hours should be interesting.