24.2.05

To Trade Or Not To Trade

It's good seeing pouty former centerfielder Mike Cameron take his licks for his selfish reluctance to move the hell over and make way for Carlos Beltran already but not even a general disgust with his attitude and phoniness necessarily merits these vicious Cameron for Ugueth Urbina trade rumours.

Not even after his assinine take on music in the clubhouse had me wishing he could be magically directed into Cliff Floyd's IPod so he could listen to inanity in stereo. Or maybe that was A-Rod's I-Pod.

Hey, how come the Red Sox aren't dissing the Mets? Aren't we good enough to be dissed by the loudest and most obnoxious defending champions in World Series history? If A-Rod deserves all the ridicule farted in his direction by the flatulently overconfident Red Sox, Cameron must merit an entire encyclopedia on talk-is-cheap radio -- o Cameron, o Cameron! How I yearn for the days when you pronounced how happy you'd be to move over to rightfield if the Mets scored The Beltran! But it ain't happening because Cameron prefers to be the Mets clubhouse DJ.

" "I'm going to tell Willie you've got to have rhythm," the centerfielder formerly known as Cameron threatened the other day regarding the no music in the clubhouse rule. "It will be a long year if you have to go the year without music."

Frankly, it seems more often than not, in this cat-and-mouse game of "now I'm a centerfielder playing rightfield, now I'm an unhappily displaced centerfielder", Cameron is a Clubhouse Cancer waiting to metastise.

Urbina might be a decent set-up addition to the bullpen now that his mother's kidnapping hassles are behind her but when you look at his unflattering 4.50 ERA last season, despite the 21 saves, you have to wonder if he's even worth a DJ Jazzy Cameron at this point.

Still 227 saves is nothing to sneeze at and although Cameron for Urbina would create a small vacuum in rightfield, we still don't even know how much Cameron will improve upon his .231 batting average with a dodgy wrist that might plague him all season.

Will we miss 30 meaningless homeruns? Will we miss his 143 strikeouts? Is his fielding so bloody fantastic that it overwhelms all his other rather pronounced failings? Nyet. Perhaps as a centerfielder with a gold glove and great range, but this is rightfield we're talking about. It's pretty much a picnic out there anyway.

I would still love to see Cameron gone and perhaps not too picky about what we'd get in return.

But then you see photos, like Cameron punching the head off the base dummy and you've got to wonder to yourself, hey, perhaps he is worth a second look.

*****

So far, it's all harmony in the Mets Spring Training. Pedro's shaved his six hair beard, clubhouse is being vewy, vewy quiet, Beltran has taken Wright and Hamstring Jose under his wing and invited them for private workouts in Gold's Gym which, of course, Hamstring Jose, with such a long and natural history of idiotic injuries coursing through his muscles, declined to attend so far for god only knows what reason other than yet another wonderful demonstration of his ability to know it all and be stubborn at the same time. Happy DLing this season, SeƱor Reyes. Happy unfulfilled potential and inexplicable mysterious like why your leg muscles are more fragile than cheap guitar strings.

*****

It's nice that pitching coach Peterson feels good about the pitching staff but I'm not so sure that it's the equivilent of walking on the moon, or at least we HOPE it isn't that hard:

"All great feats are all preceded by great expectations. They didn't take off from Cape Canaveral and say, "Well, while we're up here we might as well go walk on the moon.' That was all planned out. So when you look at what this group is capable of, these are special guys." Peterson noted.

I'd feel better if there were some special guys in the bullpen as well. Urbina isn't really special but at this point, it's any arm in a storm. I don't care how special the starters are, they aren't all going to pitch 8 innings every outing and turn it over to Closer Looper with a smile on their collective faces.

Fortunately for us, SI's John Donovan has seen through our optimistic infatuation with 2005 and callously pisses on the parade before it even starts marching:

"The Mets, truth be told, aren't scaring anybody yet," he says with the kind of authority that only an SI writer could muster. "Are the Mets better than they were at the end of last season? No doubt. But better won't be enough in this division."

Well hohoho. Glad to see no one is pulling the wool over Donovan's eyes.

For the record, I don't think the Mets are trying to scare anyone. I think they'd much rather sneak up quietly, as quiet as their music-less clubhouse, and capture a playoff slot when nobody is looking.

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