To deal or not to deal?

Mike Salfino and Dan Graziano both wrote columns for about the Mets’ approach at the trade deadline. Salfino says the Mets should target an upgrade at second base, and Graziano argues they should go all-in for pitching.

I feel almost exactly the same way I did a year ago tomorrow: Patience is key. These Mets, exciting as they’ve been and awesome as they’ve looked, still have a lot of uncertainty. Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee would sure make ’em look a lot more likely to stay in the race, but with a couple of injuries and the regression of some young players, no one pitcher would make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. I’m not saying it will happen, only that it could. Remember that last year fans were clamoring for the team to trade prospects for Mark DeRosa.

I’m just not certain Mark DeRosa would have spelled the difference between the 2009 Mets and a pennant contender.

Luckily, with the trade market still developing, not many are suggesting any imminent deals for the Mets.

One potential outcome that scares me: Word is the Mets are interested in pursuing Cliff Lee in free agency, but that the Mariners want Major League-ready prospects for Lee now. I’m terrified the Mets will deal a package of good prospects for Lee at this year’s deadline, then feel pressured to re-sign him to an above-market deal in free agency, costing them the compensatory draft picks they would earn if he walked.

That may sound like typical Mets-fan paranoia, but it’s a very similar situation to the one the Mets faced with Kris Benson, only amplified. Lee is much better than Benson ever was, but he’ll cost more talent in a trade and much more money in free agency. He’s an awesome pitcher, no doubt, and he’s incredibly likely to help whatever team he’s on for the next few years. But expensive long-term contracts for 32-year-old pitchers is never great business.

14 thoughts on “To deal or not to deal?

  1. The Lee scenario is my concern as well. It is well known that a Scott Boros client will not sign an extension to finalize a mid-season trade, but will instead test free-agency at the end of the season. After trading F. Martinez and Mejia among others to get Lee from the Mariners, Omar will proceed to sign Lee for 6/100 on a back-loaded deal. The Mets will then refuse to eat the last couple of years of the contract when he is well past his time and making over $20M per, and us fans will be suffering through another Ollie-like experience.

    But if Omar wants to send half the farm to Arizona for Dan Haren and Kelly Johnson, count me in.

  2. I think if we gone make a trade the only good trade it for Haren and Upton for F. Martinez, Gee, Maine, Tejada, Carter, Holt and Kunz. Call Up Joshua Satin or Reese Havens, Mark Cohoon, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Brandon Moore. The only sacrifice it Tejada and Holt. But Lineup Improve and Rotation. I Know 2B, we have problems but I believe in Joshua Satin or Reese Havens. Joshua the next Chase Utley. Reese Havens the next Jeff Kent. Mark Cohoon kill the season with good control and effective. Kirk Nieuwenhuis it ready for the MLB. I like this player in the bench.

    I Love WHEN The Mets Believe in hes MINOR league System, Look Wright, Pelfrey, Reyes, Bay, Mejias, Niese and Tejada. That The Best For The Team.

    • First off, what? That proposal wouldn’t be good enough for either player on their own and you want both? In case you haven’t noticed, Kunz isn’t even mentioned as someone who could potentially be called up to the bigs to help this year because since his Mets debut he has stunk. Holt has been really awful this season. Maine is a few bad starts in the majors away from being released. Then the guys you mention to call up – Satin is almost 26 and just made it to AA and you want him up in the bigs already? Havens and Kirk haven’t played due to injury lately. Cohoon and Moore are A ball pitchers, they have to prove they can get out the big boys first and still far from the bigs – regardless of Cohoon’s shutouts. Think about it this way, if the Mets had Haren and Upton, would you want that package in return?

    • Unless we include players by the name of Wright/Reyes they’re not dealing Upton.

      Chris Young might be ubtainable though. but to trade for him and Haren would pretty much effectively empty the entire farm system.

  3. Ted, I wouldn’t be so worried if the deal was Mejia and some B prospects like Thole or Carter.

    I don’t think Omar would be pressured into a long term deal. He’d let Lee walk and get the draft picks.

    • While Thole may be a B (+) prospect, he should definitely be held onto as a young player who should be penciled into the starting catcher role next season as he has great contact rates, a great k:bb ratio and improved his power this season – after a .501 OPS in April he had .952 OPS in June and 1.201 OPS so far in June. Granted this is from doubles and not homers, but who wouldn’t want a .300+ hitting catcher with 30+ doubles and few strikeouts. Think Paul Lo Duca from the left side and making league minimum. And he won’t be 24 until October. Weird to me that fans don’t think higher of him as he should be the catcher of the future – I guess defense being the only question

  4. I guess “Deal or No Deal” was too obvious?

    Can we get a sappy and sentimental yet equally heartwarming and endearing story about Chris Carter’s grandfather? I’m not ashamed to admit that I got a bit misty-eyed during that Burkhardt interview. Damn it, I want Chris Carter’s grandpa to be proud now, not in three years.

  5. Ted, I agree with the vast majority of what you write, but I don’t quite understand the apprehension about a trade here.

    2009 seems like so, so long ago, but I am sure whenever we were talking about DeRosa was long before the entire team got injured. Although last year stung, you can’t operate the team every year as if it’s going to be crushed by injuries.

    When it comes to this year, we all know that good pitching wins lots of games. We’ve seen it in action over the past month or so with the Mets current staff, and any of the big names that are out that would be far more likely to continue pitching well than Maine, Takahashi, or Dickey. And more good pitching should lead to more wins. If everyone regresses to the mean, so to speak, then Jason Bay will pick things up where they might fall off a bit from anyone who’s young or overachieving.

    The key to all of this is not overpaying in any trade. We really don’t know what Houston or Seattle would want, but if the price is right I think you have to pull the trigger on a trade.

    • If it’s what was said on mlbtraderumors the other day in regards to oswalt, then it is worth it. If we are hone pay the whole salary and give up very little in the way of talent then I am all for it. But harem is the only guy that is worth giving up a strong package for because he is signed long term and pretty young. But that guy up top who said we would give a pile of slop for upton and haren isn’t thinking straight. We would have to give Arizona our entire freaking farm system and then send em about 40 million for them to do that trade.

  6. I think Ben Sheets remains an interesting choice. Because of his health issues, the price won’t be as high as Lee or Oswalt, and he would most likely provide a compensatory pick should he walk after the season. If they got him in mid July, they’d only have to pay him about 4-5 million. When healthy, he’d be pretty solid in Citi, and he gives you quality innings.

  7. I’m against any sort of go-for-broke deal giving up valuable prospects. This is a team with a mostly young core, the window of opportunity is not closing, so I’d be hesitant to give up top prospects in a short-sighted move to get an expensive pitcher in his 30’s.

    Instead, I’d try to sign Pedro. Showed last year he still has something, won’t cost any prospects.

  8. I don’t see why you don’t go after Roy Oswalt. Mets need to upgrade at starter, now and/or in the offseason, and Roy has been one of the best since he came into the league. If he hit the FA market this offseason he would get at least the same amount of money as he is going to be paid and more years. He is certainly more of a sure thing than any pitcher other than Cliff Lee, and we are going to have to go after one of those guys. If we are to assume the entirety of the remaining contract, we supposedly wouldn’t have to give up as much to get him; but even if we had to give up Mejia and FMart and a lower level guy why not at this point – we know Mejia is wild and may never improve, that FMart is ‘injury-prone’ and may never break through, so while they both have the tools to get the deal done, they both are also unproven and Roy is more than just a half-year rental, but possibly a 2 1/2 year acquisition to slip in the top 3 mix with Johan and Pelf, and we can have Niese behind them. This way we can avoid the bidding war of Lee, as the years probably wont be worth it, (unless the price is not bad and we can have an amazing top 5) and not have to focus as much on starting pitching in the offseasons – instead focusing on our own guys and building a real dependable bullpen, if thats even possible.

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