7.1.06

Would You Trust This Man With The Key To Your Dreams?



After an unseasonably quiet holiday season, Omar returned to business and traded Jae Seo and lefty Tim Hamulack to the Dodgers for righty relievers Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.

On the surface, this appears to be a desperate deal where once again, Omar may have gotten rid of value and received Dodger rubbish in return not unlike losing Phillips last season and getting Kaz Ishii in return. Maybe Omar should stop dealing with the Dodgers altogether.

Granted, Seo’s solid pitching performance in the second half of last season was in all likelihood given his track record, a fluke. Seo has had flashes of futility in almost equal shares as his argument for being a solid number four for the Mets and it’s a loss that can go either way. If Sanchez proves to be a solid setup guy then this is a good trade. IF, the magical word of the baseball offseason.

Schmoll, who split time between the Dodgers and AAA (not unlike Seo last season with the Mets), finished with an unattractive 5.01 ERA.

But the trade of Seo also buggers the question of what to do with the rotation now that the return of Kris Benson is virtually guaranteed and a slot has now reopened for the lamentable Victor Zambrano in the previously crowded rotation. This isn’t good. Losing Seo for a pair of Dodgy ex-Dodgers and gaining Victor Zambrano in the starting rotation is not the scenario those of us whiling away the long winter nights day dreaming about winning the NL East were conjuring up. Not at all.

What we can hope is this the tip of the iceberg, that Omar has some masterplan that solidifies the rotation with one quality arm? Is he going to stockpile enough potential set-up men for Wagner that Heilman can return to the starting rotation as he so clearly wishes?

And hey, it’s true, nothing to lose signing Bret Boone to a minor league contract but Kaz Matsui was supposed to be either gone or out of a starting job to start next season and unless Boone recovers frp, whatever it was that sent him plunging to the depths of offensive mediocrity last season, this isn’t really a solution, it’s a band aid of misplaced hope, much like trading Seo and inviting Zambrano back to the rotation.

Although you can’t but laud the success of Omar when it comes to splashing money on the big free agent signings, much of this off season, like the tail end of the last year’s off season, he’s been busier trawling the vast oceans of minor league contract mediocrity, rolling the dice on dicey players with fading histories or reclamation projects with little to no hope, than he has been making solid work of the rotation and bullpen.

Sure, he rolled a seven when he acquired Hernandez last season. No one expected that kind of season out of him, but for every Hernandez and Ramon Castro, there were equal parts bullpen and utility men failures that slowly burned the Mets in the end. This team won’t make the World Series by guessing a whole lot and hoping one or two of those guesses goes right. They need solidity at every position competent backups should they go down.

As it stands, are you comfortable with your 2006 Mets if Pedro’s toe doesn’t properly heal? If Pedro doesn’t have 30 effective starts this season, you can pretty much write the season off unless the Mets are planning on outscoring everyone 10-9 all season long.

I’ve given Glavine a lot of stick in the past about being the 6 innings and out pitcher that Al Leiter only dreamt of being but the fact is, Glavine’s 6.4 innings pitched per start last season was second only to Pedro’s 7 innings per start. It doesn’t bode well when your two most reliable starters are skating on thin ice, i.e. Pedro’s toe, shoulder and age combined with Glavine’s age. It also means that finding a reliable starter during the course of the season in the form of Alay Soler or Brian Bannister is imperative.

Omar isn’t getting the job done yet on the bullpen. As it stands, there are only two lefties in the pen, Wagner and Royce Ring. Sure, Heilman, dragged unwillingly back into the bullpen, is effective against lefties, as is newcomer Duaner Sanchez, against whom lefties hit only .182. So perhaps conventional wisdom can be bucked. Heilman, Sanchez and Wagner, 7th, 8th and 9th? Hang on, not so fast. Although effective against lefties, righties hit .303 against Sanchez. Oh Dany Baez, where art thou, hermano?

And whilst it’s still offseason and the queue at the Department of Complaints is still relatively short, I might as well continue to fondle my worry beads about what the Mets are going to do for an outfield the minute Cliff Floyd goes back to his characteristic injury-prone ways next season?

Does an outfield of Xavier Nady or Endy Chavez, Beltran and Victor Diaz throw terror into the hearts of opposing pitching staffs? I’m disappointed Omar didn’t jettison Floyd whilst his value is higher than it’s ever going to be the rest of his career and I think that much like keeping Piazza at least a year if not two seasons too long, Floyd will have an albatrossian effect on the Mets batting order this season while he battles injury demons. I just get this sinking feeling when I think about batting orders comprising of Nady, Tike Redman and Endy Chavez or Victor Diaz. Almost the same sinking feeling when I ponder Pedro’s woes.

We can get as excited and blustery as we want about signing Wagner and trading for Delgado and Lo Duca but Omar appears to have made a bit of a hash of the starting rotation and hasn’t really resolved the bullpen problems beyond the closer. Yes, we gained Delgado for power in the middle but that will only to serve the vacuum that will inevitably be left in Floyd’s wake. Where have we really gotten stronger?

This season is already boiling down to a bunch of “what ifs” and “let’s hopes”, like Pedro stays healthy, Glavine is fit, Benson and Trachsel pitch full seasons, effectively. Like making Heilman and Sanchez your set up guys (how’s that for wishful thinking?!). Like Floyd staying healthy, and one of the retread outfield acquisitions having an unexpectedly sublime season.

Otherwise, I feel compelled to bang the gong already for a season that holds a paper tiger promise before us. It’s almost as though you can smell the goddamned Braves already and the ground hasn’t even thawed!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've seven words for you: Carlos Beltran MVP, Pedro Martinez Cy Young. That's all you need to worry about!

jdon said...

i don't know what to think about the Seo trade. Because I don't know what to expect from Sanchez. I could see that Seo changed his approach last year and showed improvement. I think Seo can be a decent number 4 starter in the league. I have no idea what to expect from Sanchez. that is why the trade puzzles me. A starter is worth more than a questionable middle reliever. It hink we sold Cameron short and Seo short, and we are not rich enough to do that. Heilman has 2 pitches. One of them is not a Sandy Koufax fastball. So starting him could prove dicey. I guess I am apprehensive too. We have to have a starter who can take us deeper into games. We really need a 1 or a 2. Our lineup is better but it will not be a 10-9 lineup, IMHO. Do we think Omar has spent a lot of time this winter fixating on you-know-who again?

Jaap said...

well jdon, I think you know who is going to stay you know where but even that doesn't resolve the hiccups in the starting rotation and bullpen. I keep waiting for the day when Omar pulls of one of those trades where we all go, "what was that other GM thinking?" instead of "what was Omar thinking?" - but it still might be a loooong ways away.

Anonymous said...

Man, anyone who's lamenting this off-season and being enough of a nit-picker to find fault with Omar (he didn't get enough for Jae Seo...blah blah blah) really needs to get a life. To have already GIVEN UP on the season is really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"I feel compelled to bang the gong already for a season that holds a paper tiger promise before us. It’s almost as though you can smell the goddamned Braves already and the ground hasn’t even thawed!"

GET A FREAKIN' LIFE, Man!

Jaap said...

Omar, was that you in those two comments above or are you letting your moms use the computer after she's had a few too many again?

Look Omar, we can't ALL give away the entire shabby starting rotation in return for a bunch of suspect bullpen arms otherwise there'd be nothing left for you to do!

Try and remain realistic rather than blindly optimistic Omar, and keep your moms off the keyboard unless she's supervised!

Luv,

Archie