Garland Off the Market

Personally, I’m happy to see this deal go down: Jon Garland for Orlando Cabrera. I had been concerned that the Mets might give away several prospects in a deal for Garland, and that he wouldn’t be worth the cost. Now, it’s likely not an issue, unless the Angels are looking to flip him.

Hopefully, Garland’s exit means there’s less of a chance of Jose Contreras being dumped on a team such as the Mets.

In addition, it could also mean that the Angels — who already have plenty of pitching depth — may be more willing to part with Ervin Santana. The Angels rotation currently looks like this: John Lackey, Jon Garland, Kelvim Escobar, Jered Weaver, Santana, and Joe Saunders. That’s one too many, and Santana had a horrendous 7-14 season, posting a 5.76 ERA. No one’s sure exactly what went wrong, but one thing was for certain: he was a heckuva lot more hittable than he was previously. Santana gave up 174 hits in only 150 innings in ’07, after allowing only 181 in 204 IP the year before. Perhaps he’s injured, or maybe the AL simply figured him out. In any case, it seems the 25-year-old righty is ripe for a change in scenery.

The problem, however, is that the Angels need a bat, which the Mets don’t have to offer. Wait, I think we’ve already established the Mets don’t have much of anything to offer to anybody. If anything, this deal for Garland gives the Angels more flexibility in their supposed trade talks with the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera. So we may well see Ervin Santana in Shea — in a Florida uniform.

But maybe the Mets DO have a bat to trade. If the Cabrera deal falls through, the Angels still will need a bat. They might consider sending Santana to the Mets for Lastings Milledge, for example. I’d have to think long and hard about that one. Or, they might be interested in a one-year stopgap for 1B / DH — a guy like Carlos Delgado. Would the Mets offer Delgado to the Angels for Ervin Santana and, say, Casey Kotchman? Would the Angels accept?

There’s been a lot of hype on Kotchman, but I don’t think such a deal would be so far-fetched. After all, Kotchman only hit 11 HRs last year, and never hit more than 10 in a minor league season. He could be a Mark Grace / Sean Casey type — a good hitter for average but low on the power. That makes his value as a first baseman low, and his importance to the Angels equally undervalued. They need guys who can hit the ball over the fence, such as Delgado. Who do you think would be better suited to the current Mets’ lineup — a fading Delgado, who may hit 25 HRs but bat .260, clog the bases and continue to resemble a piece of heavy furniture at first base? Or a kid such as Kotchman, who won’t hit many dingers but will hit in the .280-.300 range with 30-40 doubles, take 50-75 walks, strike out less than 50 times, and play excellent defense at first base? Think hard about this one — which player would you rather have batting sixth, behind Moises Alou, next year? And if you could add a former phenom such as Ervin Santana to the deal? I think I might do that deal even if it had to include Mike Pelfrey.

Of course, this is all conjecture and a big fantasy in my mind. But who knows, the Angels might be willing to consider it. Your thoughts?

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 November 19, 2007 at 2:17 pm
    You really are becoming quite obsessive with trading Delgado. From the Angels standpoint, would they want to acquire an aging and talent-declining 1B w/ only one year left on his contract for 2 guys who are exceptionally young, talented, and inexpensive?
  2. joe November 19, 2007 at 2:30 pm
    Yes I am. Call me crazy.

    The Angels are supposedly desperate for a guy who can hit homeruns. Maybe they believe what all the pro-Delgado people around here believe — that last year was a blip and that he’ll magically return to the hitter he was 2-3 years ago. And it wouldn’t be much of a gamble, since he’d be a one-year stopgap with a club option for a second year.

    Santana’s value is down due to the awful season, and Kotchman is valued only by the Billy Beatniks. If the Mets add a prospect (Pelfrey? Gomez?), they might like the deal.

    Would you do it ? Or do you think Delgado is going to return to 35 HRs, 115 RBI, .280 AVG, 75 BB?

    Even if you think Delgado will put up those numbers, would you do the deal?

  3. skibolton November 19, 2007 at 2:33 pm
    I really agree with the point joe made about miggy. Florida is looking for pitching, and now the angels have loads of young guys to offer. They also should have the money to extend him, and would have a pretty good looking young team at that point.
  4. Micalpalyn November 19, 2007 at 2:42 pm
  5. isuzudude November 19, 2007 at 2:47 pm
    I truly think that being healthy and in a walk-year, Delgado is going to significantly improve from last year. Even looking back at last year, Delgado only had 2 subpar months, for him. April was awful (.188, 1 HR), but blame that on the wrist injury. June he was .221 w. 4 BB and 22 K…but look at the rest. .273 6 HR 20 RBI, .323/5/14, .253/3/19, .321/4/10. And considering all the “boring” talk surrounding Carlos, is it impossible to think he uses all that as motivation to shut up his critics? With the lineup in front of him, he can pretty much back his way into 90-100 RBI, even hitting just .270. If he can sniff 30 HR, then I say he’s a great #5/#6 hitter. The Mets would be wise to shop him a little bit though and try to get something in return for a guy not likely to be re-signed after 2008, but I doubt other teams are going to give up anything significant for Delgado, considering his recent history and contract.

    Kotchman may provide a good glove and average, but we need power if we’re moving Delgado. Wright and Beltran can’t be the only hitters in the lineup with 20+ HR power. Be patient with Delgado, and know a lot of serviceable 1B will be available after this season is over.

  6. joe November 19, 2007 at 2:50 pm
    So, if the Angels GM thinks about Delgado the way you do, you’re saying that you would or wouldn’t do the deal? From your comment I’m assuming you would not ?
  7. Micalpalyn November 19, 2007 at 3:00 pm
    I’m on board with Isu.
  8. joe November 19, 2007 at 3:07 pm
    C’mon, somebody take the bait … deal or no deal? Ervin Santana + Casey Kotchman for Carlos Delgado + Mike Pelfrey?
  9. skibolton November 19, 2007 at 3:31 pm
    Personally, I do it from the mets side, but I don’t see the angels biting.
  10. isuzudude November 19, 2007 at 3:52 pm
    I say no deal. If Delgado is dealt, we need more power in the lineup, and the only holes remaining are catcher and potentially RF. I’m not trading for Jason Bay, and I don’t want Geoff Jenkins or Sammy Sosa…forget about catcher. Who in the lineup is replacing Delgado’s 85-100 RBI? Kotchman is a max for 70, which means Beltran, Wright, and Alou have to pick up the slack. Don’t like it. I rather take my chances with Delgado and explore 1B options next offseason.
  11. Coop November 19, 2007 at 4:04 pm
    I loved the idea of Garland in a Mets uni. I felt that he could easily fill the 200+ innings that everyone is clamoring about while losing Glavine. I also felt that a change to the NL would be good for JG – he is an over .500 pitcher lifetime and has a decent ERA for an AL guy. I’m sure that we might not have anything ML ready but the CWS are in rebuild mode and probably could have used a couple of scrubs. I hate Omar that he didn’t think outside of the box here. And the sad part is – and I doubt it happens b/c Beane hates Omar – is that if we truly make a play for Blanton or Harden, A’s will want Maine. If I’m Omar, I slam the phone in their ear. Maine will be a superstar someday and we can easily get the production out of him this season that we will get out of Blanton. That’s a nothing deal.

    I am also obsessed with getting rid of delgado there, joe. I hate him. I’d trade him for a pair of shoes at this point, I really would.

  12. joe November 19, 2007 at 4:39 pm
    Kotchman is a max for 70 RBI ? Where do you get that from? Because he only drove in 68 last year, on a poor offensive Angels team?

    The guy looks like a .280-.300 hitter with doubles power and about 10 HRs. Granted, not many homeruns, but a guy batting about .285 with 35-40 doubles behind Reyes-Castillo-Wright-Beltran-Alou is going to drive in his share of runs. Delgado only drove in as many as he did because of all the opportunities he had in front of him.

    If you go to Baseball Prospectus, you can see that Delgado came to bat with 403 runners on base and drove in 63 of them last year (14.4%). In comparison, Kotchman drove in 57 of 334 (17%). Generally I am not into stats but my eyes have opened to this one, which really devalues the RBI. Delgado drives in more runs not necessarily because he’s a great run producer as much as he has ample opps.

  13. Micalpalyn November 19, 2007 at 10:06 pm
    Again I agree with Isu. delgado even in his most ineffective form still offers that hint of 90 rbi as a #5 hitter.

    I am too deeply scalded by our former 1st base pretenders including eddie murray and marvelous mo vaughn too simply jettison del on one poor(?) season.

    I am more likely to DUMP Randolph and his excuse full, no remorse butt.

  14. joe November 19, 2007 at 10:22 pm
    Coop – I would have liked to see Garland with the Mets IF it didn’t cost two prospects. But I get the feeling it would have sent at least Milledge and Pelfrey to Chicago — esp. considering he drew a Gold Glove shortstop in the end. And to me, he ain’t worth that much. One prospect, yes, but two, no way.

    Mic — Paul LoDuca can drive in 90 runs in the #5 spot with Reyes, Castillo, Wright and Beltran hitting ahead of him. Unless the fly-swatting Delgado with the cement feet and iron glove gets back to 35+ HR production, he’s an albatross.

    Where the heck is Matt Himelfarb to back me up with stats when I need him???


  15. isuzudude November 20, 2007 at 7:23 am
    If Garland were a free agent, I’m sure the Mets would be first in line to call on his services. But like Joe says, the White Sox were going to want way too much for a guy who is essentially Kris Benson w/o the arm issues. Is it worth our two best prospects for a #4 starter? He’s a free agent following this upcoming season, and with Pedro and Duque both coming off the books, I’m positive Garland will still be a name connected to the Mets this time next year.

    Back to the Delgado discussion: Joe, how do you figure the Angels to be a poor offensive team in 2007? They scored 822 runs, which ranked 6th in all of baseball, and they hit .284 as a team, good for 4th. Primarily batting 5th or 6th in that lineup, with all those runs being scored, Kotchman managed just 68 RBI in 443 at-bats (which is roughly the amount I’d expect him to play if the Mets acquired him). You can throw percentages and educated statistics at me all you want, but that is not the sign of a big time run producer. Next, put him in a harder to hit NL with all new pitchers and playing his home games at a tougher ballpark, in perhaps the most scrutinized sports city in the world, and watch Kotchman develop into Rico Brogna before your very eyes.

    Still, I’m not seeing the Angels as a realistic trading partner. I may be high on Delgado, but they’re probably not, and they’re probably as high as you are on Kotchman. Even so, they have to know they can get a better deal in return for Ervin and Casey than Carlos and Pelfrey (can you say Miguel Cabrera?).

  16. joe November 20, 2007 at 10:57 am
    isuzu, I didn’t say the Angels would be a poor offensive team, and I didn’t dream up the idea that the Angels are looking for a slugger … that’s all the “buzz” from the pundits/columnists, etc. They supposedly would have been in the bidding for A-Rod, and supposedly now are still looking for a power hitter to hit behind Vladdy. Not my idea.

    You really should re-consider the OBI%, because it makes a helluva lot of sense. Go back and read what I wrote: Kotchman came to bat with 334 runners on base, and drove in 57. Delgado had almost a hundred more runners to potentially drive in, and drove in only 6 more than Kotchman. Put another way: if Kotchman had the same 403 runners on base last year, the numbers suggest he would have driven in 68 of them. Add in his 11 HRs and you have 79 RBI — 8 less than Delgado (who hit himself in 24 times). I would take 79 RBI from my #6 hitter if he’s also drawing walks and getting on base so he can score runs himself (Kotchman’s OBP: .372 Delgado: .333).

    Anyway, I don’t think Kotchman is someone that should be target #1 for the Mets — to me he’d be a nice addition to a deal that brought Ervin here, and assuming that the Angels really are after a slugger, Delgado fits the bill and the Mets would then need a first baseman. It was a nifty package that worked for everyone, in my head.

  17. isuzudude November 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm
    Joe, I’m not denying the Angels are looking for offense. Where you and I differ is that you think they’d give up a significant package for one year of Delgado, whereas I don’t think they will.

    Also, I know you didn’t say the Angels would be a poor offensive team, but you did say they were a poor offensive team last season, which, according to the stats I posted, is clearly not the case. And as the primary 1B on Anaheim, batting 5th or 6th behind the likes of Figgins, Cabrera, Vladimir, and Garrett Anderson, I would expect more than 68 RBI out of Kotchman. I think Kotchman is more set up as a “table-setter” type hitter, like a mini-John Olerud. A gap to gap hitter with little power but good ability to get on base. Delgado is the prototypical power hitter, who you want up with runners on base because he will hit home runs to drive in all runners instead of singles that only score 1 or 2. And I stand firm in believing that if Delgado is dealt, another power hitter will need to be sought because no successful team can only have 2 everyday players, being Beltran and Wright, who can hit 20+ home runs over the course of a season.

    As we’ve done many times before, we’ll agree to disagree. I’m for keeping Delgado, you’re for trading (although I’m not sure how low you’d be willing to settle to get rid of him). We’ll see what the future holds.

  18. joe November 20, 2007 at 3:27 pm
    isuzu, I think you misunderstood. I stated that the Angels needed a guy who could hit the ball over the fence — based on what I’ve read from the “buzz” — and don’t believe I said that they would be a poor offensive team. Anyway …

    I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, because although homeruns are indeed important in this day and age, I’m not certain that a.) a championship team needs more than 2 guys with 20+ homers and b.) that Wright and Beltran are the only 20-HR guys on the Mets next year.

    For one, there’s a chance Jose Reyes can hit for more power, as he did in ’06. Secondly, Moises Alou has 20-HR potential. Third, there is Lastings Milledge, who if he isn’t going to hit 20-25 then I want an explanation as to why he’s being handed RF and what he’s going to do to provide value. Finally, if the Mets are able to pry away Ramon Hernandez, he also has the potential to hit 20 HR. So I don’t see losing Delgado’s 25 HR, 15-20 DPs, 140 Ks, awful OBP, and abysmal fielding as major.

    Now just for fun, let me point out that the NL West Champion AZ D’Backs had only two players who hit 20 or more HRs. The AL West Champion Angels (94-68) had only one player with more than 20. The Red Sox had three, though of them one hit only 20 and another 21. I get your point — that homeruns are important — but unless Delgado gets back to hitting 35+ dingers his shortcomings are too glaring to ignore.