Monday, December 05, 2005

"I Just Want To Ask Some Questions"

Omar had better know what he’s doing.

The franchise who’s minor league system has been known for a few high end prospects but a scary lack of depth, are now basically left with…well, let’s just say that if you yelled down to the farm for help you may hear an echo that would shatter your champagne glass as the Mets have paid a dear price for new catcher Paul LoDuca.

Since when did Paul LoDuca become Jack McGee? Every city Mike Piazza plays in, there’s Paul LoDuca following him, hoping to finally catch up to him, just as Jack Colvin's character hoped to catch up to David Banner. But there's Piazza mere blocks away with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder while “The Lonely Man Theme” plays in the background as Piazza moves to the next town.

You don’t get something for nothing in this league, so yet another high end pitching prospect goes the other way. This time, it’s Gaby Hernandez…he with the minor league no-hitter to his credit…leaving a franchise which has never had one in the major leagues. But why oh why would the Mets abandon plans for Ramon Hernandez/Bengie Molina to trade a prospect that everyone was high on for a catcher who will turn 34 in April?

Valid question.

Hernandez did throw that no hitter at Hagerstown. After going 6-1 2.43 with the Suns, he struggled after making the lateral move to class A St. Lucie, going 2-5, 5.74. Surely, his stock dropped as fast as it rose with his Hagerstown no hitter. But with another power pitcher (131 K's in 135 innings last season) leaving the organization, it only raises the expectation for now rather than later. While it's not quite Kazmir for Zambrano, it's a curious move considering the other catchers that could have come for free...and it's not like Lo Duca is cheap. He will make $6.25 over each of the next two seasons (thank you to Matt at Metsblog for providing those numbers).

What Lo Duca does provide is a penchant for overachieving. Just as Mike Piazza, who was drafted as a favor, not much was expected of this 25th round pick. But Lo Duca not only made the Dodgers, he was so universally loved that his trade to Florida from the Dodgers is widely seen as the beginning of the demise of the 2004 western division champs. He's popular with pitchers, and is a positive clubhouse influence. (And his home/road splits in 2005 are heavily favored towards the road, so one wonders if leaving Pro Robbie Stadium will help him.)

But guess what, he has trouble with baserunners. He threw out 29 out of 119 baserunners for a total of just a shade under 25% last season. So the Mets really did get Piazza lite. And after basically spending the entire season counting down the days until Piazza was removed from this team, the Mets have basicallly gone and gotten his clone.

This could be the prelude to another trade during the winter meetings which start, uuuuuh, now. But if it's not, and especially if the Mets did get Lo Duca just to trade him only to fail, then the price was too high.


G-Fafif said...

LoDuca's CS numbers will improve for one reason: he won't have to face Reyes.

jabair said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jabair said...

reyes or furcal...LOL..

but i really hope this deal leads to another... hope Lo Duca goes to arizona for vasquez or diaz to oakland for zito... Lo Duca is a slightly younger Piazza with an anarexic bat..

$6.5 for Lo Duca Vs. $8 million for ramon hernandez... a downgrade to save $1.5 million makes absolutely no sense...

i was hoping the mets didnt do something dumb and shoot them selves in the foot during the winter meetings and i truly hope they didnt jump the gun and do it before the meetings officially began..

on a side note:
The SKANKS are in the red.. georgy porgy lost lost $50M to $85M in 2005

Anonymous said...

this makes no sense, would piazza have taken 6.5 for two years to stay. you bet. if your not upgrading defence why not just keep mike. someone has to hold omar to the fire and ask him this question!!!!
Billy Bart

The Metmaster said...

I really think this will turn out to be part of another deal. The Diamondbacks were very interested in LoDuca. The Mets still have the offers to Hernandez and Molina floating out there. LoDuca could be included in a Vasquez deal and Omar signs one of the free agent catchers, likely on his terms, depending on the timimg of the deal.

Joe said...

Great Googily Moogily, I can't watch this stuff. I would have to say that being a GM has got to be the hardest job in the world. I mean, President Bush can make more decisions that get ignored than a baseball gm does.

I heard Omar decided to take a crap at 9:30 instead of his traditional 9:15 time. Was this a move to get Manny?

Honestly, I really don't care too much that he trades away prospects as long as somewhere along the line he gets some prospect refills.

There is no guarantee that Gabby or Petit or even "The Great One" Lastings Millidge will be any better than a Gregg Jeffries. Would you pass on Carlos Delgado for Gregg Jeffries? 2 Gregg Jeffries? How about a reliable catcher who you can trust to play with his head for a Gregg Jeffries?

Granted, these prospects may turn into superstars, but isn't that when the Mets usually sign players anyway? Let other teams take chances on the prospects and then we can sign the good ones when their contract runs out. We can get Kazmir back later.

And being a Mets fan, we have the luxury of not having to care TOO much about (notice I didn't say not at all) about salaries. Our piggy bank is huge and it's not coming out of my wallet so spend as much as you want on these guys as long as it doesn't cut too much into ticket prices.

Let Omar do his thing. I have faith . . . at the moment. I reserve the right to join you nutcases later.

Patrick said...

I disagree. I was happy to hear that we got LoDuca. Granted we gave up Gaby, but he's a single A pitcher, no one ever knows how these guys will turn out.

LoDuca is a good catcher, 2 mil cheaper than the alternatives, and is a great clubhouse presence. I may be alone, but I am BIG on getting good players who make everyone else around them better. I like this deal.

Please, oh please, not bring in Vasquez. Did anyone see how he wilted under the pressure of new york last time? I'd trade away diaz..maybe even milledge for zito, provided you get a window to sign him long term. He's lefty, 28 years old, and would be reunited with the man who made him a star.

Anonymous said...

I think the Mets have given up too much for too little, ie the Cameron deal, letting Piazza go for Lo Duca, our young pitchers and catcher and still we dont have an improved outfield and catcher. Last year we had one of the best defensive outfield on the field if it wasn't for a freak accident. We spent a lot on center field for a low offensive showing. Dont make a move just because! make sure we get some value for it.

Mike Hammer
MetFan since 1971