Tag: jon heyman

Mets Don’t Acquire Octavio Dotel

The Mets have finally not made a move, by not trading a minor league pitcher to the Pirates for Octavio Dotel.

With the Mets in need of reinforcements for the stretch run, GM Omar Minaya has not added an arm to the bullpen.

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Mets declined a trade that would have netted Octavio Dotel for minor leaguer Robert Carson. Carson is a big-bodied, 21-year-old lefthanded pitcher who touches 92 MPH — that in itself defines him as having some kind of potential. There are two angles buzzing around to the Mets’ refusal to part with Carson; the detractors scream about his 9.60 ERA over 3 starts in AA, while his supporters quote Kevin Goldstein’s preseason quote citing Carson as a “sleeper”. Who’s right? Who knows? Point is, Carson is an A-ball pitcher with an uncertain future — exactly the type of prospect that a team must give up to get a proven MLB veteran such as Dotel. At least 75% of the time, the prospect doesn’t make it past AAA (Evan MacLane), and about 3% of the time the youngster turns into an All-Star (Scott Kazmir, John Smoltz). In other words, it’s a crapshoot. Teams that are “buying”, and looking for the final pieces of a championship puzzle, are more likely to roll the dice. The Mets seem not to be sure whether they are buyers right now, and I can’t blame them. While Dotel would be an immediate upgrade over nearly every other member of their bullpen, he probably wouldn’t be a difference-maker — the team has other significant, unfillable holes that will keep them from getting over the Phillies and Braves.

So if the Mets are not “buyers”, are they “sellers”? Certainly not — the organization fears that publicly “throwing in the towel” on the season would result in poor attendance in August and September. They would much rather hope against hope that the current configuration can go on a miraculous streak and make a semi-serious run at the Wild Card — in turn selling plenty of tickets over the last eight weeks of the season.

By the way, here is a video of Robert Carson from this past May, courtesy of Scouting the Sally:

He certainly is a big, durable-looking kid. I like that he stays on a straight line toward the target (Isaac Newton had some good ideas) and he keeps his motion simple and compact. I’d like it even more if he committed his hips a hair later, stretched out that stride a few more inches, and pulled himself forward with that front leg. It appears he can take more advantage of his height and get his release point a little further forward. But he’s still young and can learn these things with the right coaching and repetition.


Someone Is On Crack

crack_pipeBy now you’ve read or heard about Jon Heyman’s SI column reporting that the Mets turned down a Blue Jays trade proposal for Roy Halladay.

According to Heyman:

Toronto’s request of the Mets for star pitcher Roy Halladay was for top outfield prospect Fernando Martinez, young pitchers Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese and shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada, sources tell SI.com.

The Mets responded with a resounding no.

OK, someone here is on crack, and I want to know who. The authorities need to be informed and someone needs to go to jail, because drugs are bad, and hurt everyone.

Either it’s Heyman, for not getting the facts straight, JP Ricciardi, for making such a light proposal, or Omar Minaya, for not pulling the trigger. Because seriously, the Mets wouldn’t want to trade four youngsters with less than a half season of MLB experience combined in return for the best pitcher in MLB? They wouldn’t want to pair the best pitcher in MLB with the second-best pitcher in MLB (take your pick on who’s who), and have the most dominating 1-2 duo since Curt Schilling / Randy Johnson? (Some would argue that Halladay / Santana would be more dominating.) Really?

For the crack smokers out there who are emotionally tied to F-Mart, Niese, Parnell, and a 17-year-old you likely wouldn’t know if he was sitting on your living room couch, may I remind you of David West, Alex Ochoa, Alex Escobar, Ambiorix Concepcion, Butch Huskey, Keith Miller, Ryan Thompson, Brook Fordyce, Damon Buford, Billy Beane, Terry Blocker, Chris Donnels, DJ Dozier, Bill Latham, Wally Whitehurst, Floyd Youmans, and Herm Winningham — for example. Not to mention Mike Vail, Gregg Jefferies, Jason Phillips, Calvin Schiraldi, and others who may have had brief stints of success but never quite lived up to the hype.

Yes, every once in a while the Mets give away a gem like Scott Kazmir, Jason Bay, or Nolan Ryan, but those were deals for nobodies. Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, bar none. He’s not Victor Zambrano, Jason Middlebrook, or Jim Fregosi.

There is the argument that the Mets’ system is already void of prospects, and can’t bare to lose any more. But where was that whine the past four winters, when the Mets were gobbling up Type A free agents and in turn losing #1 draft picks? And do you really believe that Martinez, Parnell, Niese, and Tejada are going to make a significant impact on the team in 2010 and 2011 — the type of impact that will put them in the Fall Classic?

Further, if the Mets did about five minutes of negotiating, they’d likely also net Alex Rios or Vernon Wells — two outfielders with enormous contracts that a New York team like the Mets should be able to handle (Rios, with the cheaper contract, is the obvious preference). Again, start crying that the Mets can’t afford to take on any more big contracts, or that Rios and Wells stink. Now tell me who is playing left field next season? Nick Evans? Who’s playing center in 2012, when Carlos Beltran will have jettisoned for a warmer, calmer climate? Not Fernando Martinez, nor anyone else in the Mets’ farm system. The Mets have nothing in the way of outfield prospects coming up between now and 2014, so guess how the holes will be filled? Free agency. Possibly Type A — i.e., Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Jason Bay, Magglio Ordonez, Vladimir Guerrero, Rick Ankiel, Jermaine Dye, Manny Ramirez. Heck, Xavier Nady may qualify as Type A. And there goes another draft pick. And most likely, an expensive, too-long-term contract. So either way the farm system gets kicked in the groin, and the budget gets expanded. Further, I don’t know that any of those free agents are guaranteed to significantly outperform Rios or Wells over the next five years.

If we knew for sure that the Mets were going to throw in the towel on 2009 and 2010, and focus on building from within, then maybe you refrain from trading those four suspects. But Omar Minaya has three more years beyond this one, and his modus operandi is to pay exhorbitantly for upper tier, well-known players, for the purpose of “putting a winning product on the field” in the short-term. A Halladay trade like the one proposed is as much a no-brainer as the Santana deal was (I’m sorry, do you wish you had Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, and Deolis Guerra right now, instead?).

Of course, the rumor has already been shot down by a number of sources, so we may never find out who was smoking crack yesterday. Maybe all three were passing the pipe around together.

Conspiracy Theory: the Mets “leaked” this “trade offer” — even if it never occurred — as a means of making those four prospects appear more valuable than they really are. Think about it — it makes the Mets look good, in that a) their farm system has plenty of worthwhile trading chips, and b) it tells their fans that they’re committed to the future, and won’t give away their top prospects — not even for Roy Halladay.

***Conspiracy Update! ****
Per Heyman’s updated column from this afternoon (thanks to Walnutz for the link!):

In any case, it appears that the Mets’ prospect list isn’t as thin as some suggest, as even in that proposal they’d be keeping top young pitchers Jenrry Mejia and Brad Holt and shortstop prodigy Wilmer Flores.


Michael Young to Mets?

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Rangers are quietly shopping Michael Young, and the Mets are one of the interested teams.

Well, it’s not so quiet anymore!

Heyman concludes that the Mets would first have to move Luis Castillo (duh). Obviously, if the Mets acquired Young, Castillo’s already untradeable status would turn to impossible-to-trade.

A year ago, Young was one of the best all-around middle infielders in MLB. However, he had a down year in 2008 — his average dropped over 30 points — and he just turned 32 years old. He’s a gritty competitor who regularly plays through injuries, but those bumps and bruises seem to have affected his play in ’08. His best years came from 2003-2007, and one must wonder if he’s about to hit that downward spiral that often affects great players as they approach their mid-30s — i.e., Robin Ventura, Roberto Alomar, Jim Rice, etc. Further, Young has had the benefit of playing in hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington. It doesn’t help, either, that his bunting skills are poor — which could be an issue if he batted in the #2 hole. And although he came up as a second baseman, he hasn’t played the position in seven years — the transition may not be as easy as you would think.

As much as I love Michael Young as a ballplayer, I fear he’d be a disappointment. Plus, he won’t come cheap.

Still, if the Mets can somehow pull off deals to shove off Castillo and bring in Young, and not give up half their farm system in the process, I’d welcome Young with open arms.


Omar Meeting K-Rod Tonight

Jon Heyman says that Omar Minaya will meet with Francisco Rodriguez and his agent Paul Kinzer tonight (Sunday) in Las Vegas.

So far, no one can confirm a sighting, but my guess is they are behind closed doors in Omar’s suite at the Bellagio.

Supposedly, the Mets will offer something in the neighborhood of 3 years / $36M. That sounds fair, but if true, K-Rod may as well return to the Angels for the 3/34 he rejected. After all, he’s comfortable in Anaheim (as well as Los Angeles) and the Angels are a slam-dunk to win the AL West yet again. Many pundits claim Rodriguez can handle the pressure of big games but I’m not convinced he’s New York, big-stage, all-eyes-on-you material.

Strange “quote” from Heyman:

Minaya said they might meet with several closers here, including Brian Fuentes and maybe Trevor Hoffman. However, as one person familiar with the Mets’ thinking said, “If Rodriguez takes the first offer, then that’s it, he’s the guy.”

Hmm … if K-Rod takes the offer, then he’s the guy, huh? What a scoop! I thought for sure the Mets would then go for Hoffman and make Rodriguez the setup man.


Royals Shopping Guillen

Jon Heyman is quite the busy bee today. He also dropped this bombshell: the Kansas City Royals are “quietly” shopping outfielder Jose Guillen.

First of all, it can’t be that quiet because we’ve been hearing about it since early October. Secondly, how is this a scoop when, again, we’ve been hearing about KC looking to dump Guillen since early October?

Maybe it’s not a “legitimate” rumor until Heyman reports it.

Guess we can reopen the unrealistic Luis Castillo – for – Jose Guillen conjecture ….


Schneider, Castro Available

According to Jon Heyman, the Mets are open to trading catchers Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro.

To which my reply is, who cares?

I do not doubt the Mets are open to trading either — or both — of those players. And I’m sure that Heyman’s information is reliable and legitimate. But again, why would anyone in MLB care that Schneider and Castro are available? What kind of value do they have?

Castro is a solid backup catcher who would probably benefit by moving to the American League, where in a DH role his powerful bat can be used more often. But his mobility gets worse every year, and even in a backup role has difficulty staying healthy. Those factors, along with his age (33 by Opening Day) and price tag ($2.5M), may scare away potential suitors. Still, finding a backup backstop who can hit like Castro are hard to come by, so perhaps a team would be willing to trade a AA pitcher for him.

Similarly, Brian Schneider is not getting younger — he’ll turn 32 next Wednesday — and there are scouts who think his defensive skills are eroding. If that’s true, Schneider doesn’t have much value at all — he certainly doesn’t scare anyone with his bat. His offensive output — particularly in terms of extra-base hits — was reminiscent of Rey Ordonez. As a former catcher myself, I love Schneider, and do believe he’s solid defensively, but unfortunately, at this stage of his career, I’m not sure he’s the game-changer behind the plate that he used to be. I would not be disappointed in the least if he returned to the Mets in 2009, and I don’t know what the Mets would get in return for him.

If the Dodgers follow through with the idea of transitioning Russell Martin to third base, then they might be interested in one of the Mets’ catchers. The Red Sox could be in the market, if they choose not to bring back Jason Varitek, but I’d think they’re after someone younger and with more offensive potential, such as Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Yankees might need a backup plan to Jorge Posada, and there are a few other teams actively seeking help behind the dish. Perhaps the Tigers would like a catcher so that Brandon Inge can remain a super utilityman.

In my opinion, the Mets will look to move a catcher only after acquiring one. There were rumors about Ivan Rodriguez wanting to sign with the Mets, and others that the Mets were trying to pry Bengie Molina away from the Giants. The Orioles have Ramon Hernandez on a permanent trading block, so he’s always a possibility. Any of the three would be an upgrade over Schneider, and/or could be an ideal platoon partner.

That’s the idea that makes the most sense to me — moving Schneider into more of a platoon role, and teaming him with a similarly highly skilled, veteran catcher who also needs frequent breathers. As much as I love Ramon Castro, I don’t see him getting through a full season without an injury — otherwise he’s the perfect fit.

We’ll see what the market bears. If the Mets can pick up a decent starting pitcher or middle reliever, it’s worth dealing one of their backstops. Looking around the roster, there aren’t many other areas of surplus from which to trade.