I'm not going to fall into that trap, because I'm not going to proclaim this the worst Met transaction ever...not by a long shot. Heck, this isn't even the worst transaction on a deadline day by a longshot. I will however, challenge anyone to give me a more bizarre 24 hours in Met history, which ended with a formerly undefeated Mets GM resorting to a pure panic move.
"And this is how one simple, formerly unspeakable act can move mountains." -Metstradamus, regarding an Andruw Jones dropped fly ball.First off, I hope that one of you out there is taking the minutes for this...the first ever meeting of Met fans Against Drunk Drivers. We forget that sometimes, real life gets in the way of the dream world of sports. With one sober reminder of how the real world can work, a pitcher enjoying the best season of his young career can no longer perform as a key cog for a World Series contender gets his shoulder separated. Some jagoff in Miami has a few too many Flaming Alonzos, gets behind the wheel of a car, and unknowingly sets off a chain of events that would change the course of Mets history.
"When they break ground for the new stadium the construction gang will unearth and disturb some ancient Indian burial ground for unlucky and cursed members of the Iroquois nation." -MetmasterWhen the day began, Omar Minaya was "swinging for the fences". We heard Jason Schmidt. We heard Roy Oswalt. And swirling in the middle of all of this was Lastings Milledge. We were intrigued. We were excited. Then we were confused.
When the day ended, not only was Milledge not traded, but he's at least a part time starter as Xavier Nady stunningly...inexplicably...is a Pittsburgh Pirate.
I understand the need to have a strong bullpen. Trading for Filthy Sanchez and acquiring guys like Chad Bradford and the since departed Jorge Julio at the start of the season, and at the slight expense of the starting rotation was the right move. But even with the Sanchez injury, there was enough in the bullpen between Aaron Heilman (who I would have put even money on having pitched his last inning as a Met on Sunday) that Omar Minaya didn't have to trade his starting right fielder to get a forty year old reliever, and a project. A simplistic rule of thumb when it comes to trades is that the team that receives the best player wins the trade. Xavier Nady is easily the best player in that trade. Roberto Hernandez is forty, and Oliver Perez, once a budding star, is a prospect turned suspect. That the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of only oh, I don't know, two teams in major league baseball that have no shot at the playoffs, got the better of the first place Mets in this deal is inexcusable. And what kills me is hearing about so many front running teams like the Tigers (Sean Casey), and the Yankees (Bobby Abreu) bringing in good to great players at a cheap price, while the Mets have to fill holes at the expense of a starting player.
Oh, and let me get this straight...six games back of the wild card? Jason Bay and Scott Kazmir get traded for veterans. Fourteen games ahead? Xavier Nady gets traded for someone who might be all right in the future? Who does this? Can this franchise be more backwards? Who trades a starting outfielder for an old reliever and a freaking project when you have an inside chance at the World Series? And this comes from the general manager who once traded Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee for less than a month of Bartolo Colon? Does this make sense to you? Because I don't get it.
"It's like I don't even know who you are anymore." -Metstradamus, directed towards Omar MinayaBut it wouldn't be a Met deadline day if there wasn't some form of the supernatural involved. And that came when multiple reports had the Mets flipping Perez and Heath Bell to San Diego for a Filthy-like wonder Scott Linebrink. If this had happened, it would have been Nady and Bell for Linebrink and Hernandez, which while still unnecessary, I could have dealt with a little better.
Now deals that are reported as done are usually done, right? Well, according to media outlets (plural), it was done. Done! Except for one thing: it wasn't!!! And the reason it wasn't done was because the Padres understood rule number one about trades: "They who receive the best player wins the deal", and wisely backed out.
If Omar Minaya's grand plan all along was to get Linebrink, then why was the first deal done without being contingent on the second deal getting done? Does that make sense to you? Because once again, I don't get it.
So here's my scorecard on this deal:
- The lineup? Worse today than yesterday with Chavez and Milledge platooning instead of Nady.
- The bench? Again, worse today than yesterday, with Chavez moving to the starting rotation.
- The bullpen? Worse today than yesterday. Although Omar Minaya wasn't the one driving the car that separated Filthy's shoulder, he didn't make the bullpen significantly better at the expense of their starting lineup and their bench.
- And for Roberto Hernandez? Last season there were no expectations, being picked up from the scrap heap. This season, he was acquired for a starting right fielder. Hernandez is no longer the feel good story of the summer. There are now expectations involved...and we know how expectations go around here.
I know, I know, I probably shouldn't be overreacting. David Wright is still a Met. Jose Reyes is still a Met. The Carlos twins are still Mets. It should probably be enough offense.
But Omar Minaya panicked. He panicked because a drunk driver separated Filthy Sanchez's shoulder. He panicked because he employs the only millionaires in America who insist on riding in taxis.
"It's the second time in two years a Mets pitcher has been injured in a taxi. Tom Glavine lost two front teeth in an August 2004 accident while going from LaGuardia Airport to nearby Shea Stadium in a cab." -Associated PressThis whole deadline day just defies logic. Just as Andruw Jones dropping a fly ball at Turner Field defied logic. But maybe it is, in fact, extremely logical. Maybe things were going too good. Maybe, the baseball lords needed to remind us all that even fourteen games ahead, that this is still the New York Mets we're talking about. And as long as there are New York Mets roaming...and attempting to inherit the earth, there will always, as momma said, be days like this.