Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Fresh View

All right, so now I'm going to write about the Carlos Delgado trade with a decent amount of sleep, and with a bite or two of food in my stomach. And in response to all of the feedback try to put a neat little bow on this whole thing.

Let's look at the numbers...because that is the bottom line here, right? Here's what Carlos Delgado brings you...his .284 career average would have been second in the Mets everyday lineup in 2005. His .393 career OBP would have led the Mets. A slugging percentage of .559 would have blown any Met regular out of the water, and that's Delgado's career slugging. Carlos in 2005 went .301/.399/.582, besting his career averages, and except for David Wright's .306 average, blows any Met regular out of the water. Although repeating his 2005 numbers would be great, a season which is closer to his career numbers would still be a nice addition to this lineup.

The key of course, as it is with any player starting out with the Mets, is a fast start. His April numbers were good from and avg. (.300) and OBP (.394) standpoint. But he only hit 2 HR's and drove in 10 runs in April. Is that going to be enough to appease Mets fans? Carlos Beltran got a pass from the Shea faithful to start with because of two major factors: Beltran chose to be a Met, and didn't cost the organization young players. Delgado not only cost the Mets their best pitching prospect and their organizational player of the year for 2003, but we all know he didn't want to be here when he had the choice. Combine that with the numbers he's expected to put up, he's going to be on the hot seat from day one. And whatever your beliefs are regarding Delgado's "God Bless America" stand, you have to acknowledge that it's going to be blown out of proportion by the New York media to start...and if Delgado gets off the hop slow, get worse.

Can you fault Omar Minaya for making this deal? In my estimation, absolutely not. My major problem with the deal is with the $7 million. If no money had changed hands, and it was Jacobs and Petit for Delgado, then you can make the case that you're trading two question marks for a sure fire thing and it's what had to be done. But with the Mets extracting $7 million from a team that basically put out the cardboard sign and the tin cup outside of Dolphins Stadium yesterday, it tells me that you could have gotten away with keeping one of the prospects and telling Jeffrey "Angel of Death" Loria to keep his money. And with there being no room for Mike Jacobs with the presence of Delgado anyway (Jake could have caught but it's obvious in the Mets' pursuit of Ramon Hernandez or Bengie Molina that they though of Jacobs as a first baseman exclusively), it tells me that this deal could have been done without parting with Petit. That's important for a team whose youngest starter in their current rotation is 28 (Jae Seo), and who's other two big time pitching prospects are a guy who just had Tommy John surgery (Phil Humber) and a guy who isn't even signed yet (Mike Pelfrey).

But Michael Oliver of The Metropolitans does bring up a good point: The Marlins wouldn't have traded Delgado to a division rival if they were only receiving one prospect. You think those Marlins get roasted now, think how they would be killed if Carlos Delgado only brought back Mike Jacobs. If the Mets were say, the Portland Mets, maybe they could have gotten away with it. But not as the National League Eastern Division New York Mets.

Yes, I would have preferred a younger power hitter like Paul Konerko for first base. I said so here. And here comes the double edged sword: To the best of my recollection, Minaya did talk to Konerko's agent briefly. Minaya had to make a judgment on whether there was a real chance to sign him. Hopefully, Minaya gave Konerko a serious look before deciding that he wasn't going to sign here, as is Konerko's choice, before exploring the Delgado option. Minaya has had to do the same thing with Billy Wagner. If there was no chance that Country Time was going to come to the big city, B.J. Ryan would probably be signed, sealed and delivered by now. If Konerko was interested in the Mets, he would probably be wined and dined just as Wagner is now. But Paul Konerko never gave any indication that he would be interested in playing for New York. And since this offseason represents Konerko's choice, then it behooved Minaya to move on.

But if Yusmeiro Petit is gone because Minaya never gave Konerko a serious look, and only assumed that he would never play here, then that was the wrong play. At this point, we'll never know.

We do know that the Mets lineup is better today than it was yesterday. Minaya had two options: Delgado, or Manny Ramirez. Manny would have cost Lastings Milledge...a chip more valuable than Petit or Jacobs, and maybe both of them combined. The numbers between Delgado and Manny are comparable. So score one for Omar.

We also must acknowledge that cynics like myself have ample reason to feel the way we feel. The Mets have been burned time and time again by seemingly slam dunk acquisitions that have gone awry...George Foster is one. Robby Alomar is another. Bobby Bonilla too. The list goes on and on. People are already putting Carlos Beltran on that list, although Delgado and Beltran could wind up helping each other in 2006. And now, a player who had a chance to come here last season and didn't, and has talked a bit of smack about the organization in the process (Editor's note: for those who haven't seen it yet, Bob Klapisch sheds some light on the problem between Delgado and the Mets, which actually turns out to be a problem between Delgado and Tony Bernazard), threatens entry onto that list.

But the good thing is that once the season starts, Mets fans will never take what a player has done in the past at face value whether it be good or bad. Produce for the Mets, and it's a good trade. Win a championship, and there will be no pining for Mike Jacobs or Yusmeiro Petit. Make the Mets better, and past transgressions regarding Tony Bernazard, "God Bless America", and Omar Minaya's Latin heritage pitches will mean nothing. For example, you hear no complaining from Ranger fans about the fact that Tony Amonte is still enjoying a productive hockey career, while the inferior players he was traded for (Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan) are long retired. Why? Because Matteau and Noonan came to New York and not only won, but contributed significantly in 1994. Nobody will care in the year 2015 when Carlos Delgado is attending reunion ceremonies while Petit is in the middle of a Cy Young season if the Mets win a title in 2006.

So that's the gauntlet: win. Produce, and win. That's it. And that's what the trade is all about: winning. You can't fault Omar Minaya for that.


Anonymous said...

Cound not agree more. Delgado is a stud. We were short a bat last year and that need is filled in a power postition. Petit is a nice pitcher, but he is only projected as a back of the rotation starter, at best. Yes, his numbers in AA were impressive, but his fastball only tops out at 88. You can win in the majors, but you have to be very good to win big. With their current staff, it is win now. Pedro and Glavine have maybe two years left. Sign Wagner and away we go. Possible top five lineup:
Let go Mets

jabair said...

what i hate about this trade is that instead of rooting for jacobs and watching him develop, i now have to hope he turns into a maas...

petit is not going to be dominant after his first year in the big leagues because of all the video hitters watch these days.. big league hitters have a way of catching up with a fastball and slow down on a changeup.. the reason heilman is not in the rotation is because hitters figure him out the 2nd or the 3rd time through the line up..

im gonna miss jacobs swing... that kid had potential... i think he had the smoothest swing since strawberry... i hope benson goes to arizona for vasquez.. i never liked benson much!!!



(cant have 2 pull lefties hit back to back... opposing managers will leave their lefty specialists in to face 2 hitters)

also, with delgado, we need a slick feilding 1B as a defensive replacement in late innings... delgado does have a bit of a skillet for a glove... and i dont think he is good at guarding the line.. i dont think ive ever seen him dive to his left to stop a double...

my 3.75 cents

The Metmaster said...

So instead of watching Jacobs develop we can watch Lastings Milledge. It would have been a shame to see him leave and blossom into a 5-tool star somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Top of the order looks pretty solid. No Piazza rumours swirling yet, but if Benji goes elsewhere I see Piazza in Anaheim.

If the mets do nothing else and Mikey re-signs for 1yr-6M:

1. Reyes
2. Beltran
3. Wright
4. Delgado
5. Floyd
6/7. Nady/Diaz
6/7. Piazza/Castro
8. Kazaster


Anonymous said...

wait till delgado takes Kaz under his wing!


mr. met said...

We also cannot assume not taking the $7 million would have enable the Mets to walk away without giving up Petit. Since day #1 of the rumors, the Marlins wanted Petit. The Marlins could have said the only way this deal that you need just as bad as us to get done is by giving us those two pieces and the Mets said the only way it gets done is if you throw in cash.

Division rival thing aside, it is hard to get a player like Delgado without giving up a blue chip prospect. I don't care how much financial trouble they were in. They probably could have shed Castillo and Pierre and kept Delgado in the end, though they didn't want to. All in all, it is a good deal even if Petit turns out to be a solid #2 or #3 and Jacobs hits a ton. Jacobs was not ready to carry this lineup and was still an unknown. The Mets needed to add certainty and they did.