Well if that’s the case…

According to Jon Heyman on Twitter, the Blue Jays are asking for huge prospects in return for lefty setup man Scott Downs. Like blue-chip prospects.

It sounds a bit ridiculous, and since no deal has yet been made it’s reasonable to expect the Blue Jays won’t get anyone near the caliber of Casey Kelly, Jose Iglesias or Jesus Montero for Downs.

But if the market rate for lefty relievers is even a good but not great prospect, a tier down from that trio, the Mets should probably dangle Pedro Feliciano out there and see what teams will offer up.

Downs and Feliciano are not perfect comps, though they will both be free agents after the season. Downs is a little better than Perpetual Pedro against righties and tends to throw longer outings less frequently. He’s closer to Jerry Manuel’s elusive “crossover guy” and less of a straight lefty specialist like Feliciano.

Feliciano’s career stats are more impressive, but only because Downs started his career as a mostly crappy starter. Downs is a better reliever than Feliciano and no doubt a more valuable commodity.

But with the way he flummoxes lefties, Feliciano offers value to a contending team. And if, for whatever reason, setup men are going at premium rates this July, then the Mets should consider spinning Feliciano into something that can help their future.

Now I know what you’re thinking: You’re saying the Mets should be “buyers,” not “sellers,” at the deadline, since they’re still on the fringes of contention.

Nonsense. Those are labels. That’s silly. Teams should read the market and take advantage of inefficiencies when they present themselves. Determining before the trade deadline if you’re a “buyer” or “seller” is a bad way to approach it. You’re a general manager. Improve your team.

It will make for a slightly tougher haul, but if the Mets can contend with Feliciano in 2010 — no sure thing — they can contend without him. Ollie Perez should not be on the team, but if they’re going to insist on keeping him around, he might actually prove a decent lefty specialist — righties have done the bulk of the damage against him this season and last. Mike O’Connor, down in Triple-A, could likely handle the role too. Not as well as Feliciano, certainly, but a close enough approximation to make it worth the Mets’ while if they could get something of real value for the familiar lefty.

Granted, this is all probably immaterial because I will be shocked if a team gives up a top 100 prospect for Downs. I’m skeptical of all trade rumors, and Heyman’s Tweets imply that the Blue Jays are purposefully asking for too much because they don’t want to trade Downs within the division.

I’m just thinking out loud.

4 thoughts on “Well if that’s the case…

  1. You would think every team in baseball learned from the Jeff Bagwell trade that this is an awful idea, but we’ll see if anyone bites. If so, trading Feliciano for a real prospect would not be waving the white flag on the 2010 season, though it’d make those 12 games vs. Philly pretty tough.

  2. agreed abotu the concept. Every GM should have to take a quick Econ for dummies class. COncepts like sunk cost, asset allocation, and market inefficiancies.

    Sell what you don’t need (have an excess of, or a comparable replacement available), and buy what you are short of, or something that helps for the future.

    Tha, and go where the market takes you. If commodity X is in short supply and high price, stock up on Y that is in oversupply and going cheap.

    Eventually the balance of X and Y will even out, and you can swap some around.

    This was like when Omar overpaid (panicked?) and signed Ollie, thinking he had to get a “top” FA sp, and that was all that was left. Should have just realized the market offered nothing, and gone shopping elsewhere, and filled in with a temporary (1 year) guy.

    • Yeah, at the time he said, “We’re not in the position-player market. We’re in the starting-pitcher market.” Pretty much my favorite quote to summarize Minaya’s regime.

  3. Much of the trade market seems to revolve around short term gains vs long term ones. You can get better now, in exchange for being worse in the future. It’s not as simple just getting better.

    That said, spending money can just make you better – i.e. by picking up salary you have to pay less in prospects.

    An Oswalt trade would have made sense for the Mets, as they could keep him three years for less than they would pay him as a free agent. And he is likely to be an upgrade from Niese. That said, Niese is pretty good. Too bad we couldn’t have left Nieve as a starter, and traded him, rather than burn him out in the first few weeks of the season

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