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?