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.