Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ownership involved in Milledge deal?

A friend of mine over at just posted an interesting tidbit about the Milledge trade. He said that he called one of his friends in the Mets organization who has been very reliable in the past, and was told that the Wilpons forced Omar to take whatever he could get for Milledge. Apparently, since the infamous "high-fiving" incident, the Wilpons have been after Omar to get rid of Milledge. After several run-ins with the players, coupled with the fact that Milledge had recently recorded a rap album much to the dismay of ownership, the Wilpons had enough and forced Omar to make the deal.

I've never been a staunch Milledge supporter, particularly after learning how he wasn't getting along with the other players. However, I don't think trading Milledge for twenty cents on the dollar was a good idea. Fred and Jeff Wilpon need to truly grant Omar Minaya "full autonomy" of this team because it's apparent they have the baseball sense of a half-eaten grapefruit.

My friend's source also said that Omar has been "feverishly" working the phones to try and come up with a pitcher. Considering how active Omar stays in the trade market, I have to believe this is true. If the Mets were to go into the season today, their rotation would look like this:

El Duque

Iffy, at best.

It's time for the first session of "Ben as Mets GM". If I'm Omar, I would be calling Mike Flanagan (GM of the Orioles) every hour, on the hour, and asking about Erik Bedard. I would not be calling Billy Beane at any point because he has proven himself to be unreasonable to deal with (think Jim Bowden, except with good players to trade with). And, the Mets can't match any offer the Yankees throw at the Twins for Johan Santana if it includes both Robinson Cano and Phillip Hughes (which, ultimately, I believe it will), so that effectively knocks the Mets out of the running for Santana. That leaves Bedard.

Bedard has a devastating fastball-curveball combination that leaves hitters baffled. His ERA has dropped every year (3.16 last year) since he's been in the league, and his strikeout to walk ratio was an astonishing 3.87 : 1 last year. His fastball sits in the low 90s and occasionally touches 94 or 95. The most important aspect of his fastball, though, is how quickly it gets on the hitters. Combine that with an above-average curveball/slurve, and we've got ourselves a probable ace.

The Mets did submit an offer to the Orioles for Bedard recently (apparently within the last 72 hours) but it was rejected. The offer was believed to be Carlos Gomez, Aaron Heilman, and Philip Humber. I think it's going to cost more than that to land Bedard, but not much more. Substitute Mike Pelfrey in for Humber and it might work, but it will probably need some tinkering at that point (maybe including the prototypical throw-in player, first baseman Mike Carp, or a so-so young pitcher, like Carlos Muniz). As some reporters have said, Humber is probably worth more to the Mets right now than he would be worth in a trade, so trying to unload him right now would be strikingly reminiscent of the Milledge trade (other than the fact that Humber is not a least I think he's not).

So, for the sake of the argument, we'll say that the offer ends up being Gomez, Pelfrey, Heilman, and Muniz and the Orioles take it. That leaves us with a rotation of:

El Duque (until he gets injured in May, at which point Humber would be here)

I think that's a much, much better rotation, and every pitcher in it would give us a chance to win. Of course, that seriously jeopardizes an already shaky bullpen with the loss of Heilman. But that's a whole different issue, which I will try and cover next time in "Ben as Mets GM".

Happy holidays everyone, and let's hope Omar gives us Erik Bedard for Christmas.

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