Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 15, 2003
BASEBALL: Piazza on the Block?

Rumors and counter-rumours are swirling about Mike Piazza possibly requesting a trade and/or announcing himself willing to accept a trade (not exactly the same thing but with the same likely outcome). Will it happen? Who knows?

Emotionally, I'd be sad to see him go; Piazza's a gutty guy, he's bonded with the fans, he can still hit and he's still fun to watch. Unlike some proponents of dealing Piazza, I don't see the need to run the guy down just to sell some newspapers promote a trade. But dealing Piazza to an AL team where he could split between catching and DHing instead of playing first base would be the right move for everyone. He may be more valuable remaining available to catch 80-90 games a year than as just another slugging first baseman; who knows, even his throwing arm may bounce back a bit if he cuts back on the time behind the plate. Dealing Piazza would free up salary, get yet another aging vet out of town, and possibly bring back some talent in exchange for a guy who's still a very dangerous hitter.

Of course, trading Piazza makes all sorts of sense in the abstract, and it's fun to theorize that you could deal him to make salary space for Alex Rodriguez, who seems born to play for the Mets. Personally, I'm not adverse to parting with Jose Reyes to get A-Rod; Reyes may be young and on the way up, but if you're looking at contending in 2005-2007, what's the likelihood that Reyes will be better at that point than A-Rod? A rebuilding team generally doesn't trade hot prospects for stars in their primes -- but superstars are another story. Remember, A-Rod still won't be 29 until late July, and he's slugged .600 or better four years in a row. I have high hopes for Reyes, but given his injury history, my bet is that Rodriguez at 35 will still be better than Reyes at 27.

All that said, the only team that seems to have much interest is the Baltimore Imbeciles, who operate under the perpetual delusion that they are a contending team despite the following facts:

*Even in the rebuilding year of 2003, they gave more than 1400 at bats to players 33 or older.

*Of the six players with 12 or more Win Shares on the 2003 O's, two (Jeff Conine and Sidney Ponson) are no longer with the team, and Melvin Mora's 31 and batted .233 the only time he ever got 500 at bats. That leaves Luis Matos, Brian Roberts, and Jay Gibbons -- solid role players all, but hardly the core of the 1993 Indians.

*The Red Sox won 95 games this season and finished second in Baltimore's division. This ain't the AL Central here.

If Lee Mazzilli is worth even a cent of the money he's being paid by his new employers, he'll tell them to let somebody within spitting distance of contention take a flier on Piazza.

But so far, I haven't seen any sign that any such team will. So I'm not getting too exercised yet over the rumors.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:13 PM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

hey hey HEY. "Baltimore Imbeciles"? a Mets fan bandying about "Baltimore Imbeciles"? jack, you just spent the second highest salary number in THE GAME and finished buck naked last in your division.

by contrast, my Imbeciles are merely in the middle of (counts on fingers briefly) about a 600 game slump

harRUMPH, sirrah.

Flem

Posted by: Flem Snopes at November 16, 2003 9:54 PM
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