November 18, 2005
BASEBALL: Cameron for Nada?
You know, I can understand the theory behind trading Mike Cameron to get rid of his salary. With the Mets looking to add salary at other positions, Carlos Beltran holding down center field, and Victor Diaz ready to get a shot playing everyday as an inexpensive right fielder, Cameron at $8 million for 2006 is an expensive luxury item.
But I can't understand the execution - trading him for Xavier Nady - even assuming that some of these scenarios are in the works, unless it's really the case that some other GM (Chuck LaMar?) lusts after Nady and wants him, specifically, in a deal.
It's not that Nady is a terrible player. He's a decent fourth OF who can also play 1B, and he'll be 27 this year so he could take a modest step up. But if he gets regular playing time he's at best a guy who doesn't kill you; he's a lesser player than Benny Agbayani, Darryl Boston, or Danny Heep. I thought maybe at least there was a thought that he'd improve leaving Petco, which is the toughest pitcher's park in baseball, but he batted .258/.408/.314 on the road the past three seasons.
Viewed strictly as a salary dump, I can't see why the Mets couldn't have held out for more than Nady, though. There are plenty of rich teams without a quality CF. The Yankees could certainly use Cameron. Or the Angels, who have Steve Finley's moldering corpse in CF. Or the Red Sox, if Damon walks. Or the Dodgers, with the completely insane Milton Bradley in center and a new GM who was apparently hired to improve team "chemistry." Or the Orioles, for whom Luis Matos and David Newhan batted a combined .252/.351/.318 in 2005. Surely, one of them would have parted with something more useful to get a guy with Cameron's stellar defense and solid bat.
Maybe the Padres found some missing pieces of Cameron's face in their outfield?
Chuck Lamar's already gone. Or was that a joke?
Yeah, at least Danny Heep could pitch!
"Maybe the Padres found some missing pieces of Cameron's face in their outfield?"
I'm the last guy to pontificate but I think this entry ran 1 sentence too long. This final sentence is in bad taste.
As for Cameron, I agree that more was to be expected in exchange for him given the current market. Perhaps young Nady will pleasantly surprise.
The Cameron's face comment was in bad taste. Therefore, kudos to you, Crank!
I am one to pontificate, and will do so right now: Jeff, your final sentence is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Unwarranted optimism always goes down badly.
I winced at the last line, but it wasn't completely over the line.
That last line went right by me...
Didn't the Padres say that the reason they traded Phil Nevin (several times) was because Nady was their first-baseman of the future?
I thought we traded Phil Nevin because he's terrible and Bruce Bochy refused to bench him.
Some of the rumbling in the San Diego area is that Padres GM Kevin Towers is continually selling out Padres' players of the future. They've added an aging Vinny Castilla at 3rd. Now an aging Cameron in center. Two years ago he traded Jason Bay and Oliver Perez to the Pirates for Brian Giles -- who is a free agent and may not be re-signed.
I think a lot of people locally think that the Mets got the better of the deal.
It could be as Roosevelt said after Yalta: "It's not the best deal, but it was the best deal I could get."
Cameron is way overpriced in today's marketplace--he strikes out too much to bat low in the order, or second, but he is certainly not a 3-6 hitter either. He's an odd fit in most lineups. He is a very good fielder, although I think a bit overrated--Andruw Jones is a great fielder, Garry Maddox, Paul Blair pre accident. Curt Flood (I won't put them on the level of Dom or Vince D, Mays or Speaker, and I dont; think Cameron is as good a fielder as Joe either).
Now that is something everyone forgets--will he be the same player after the accident--Blair was not, so no one really knows. I think Cameron wanted to be a player along the Curt Flood line. So the Mets simply said, "I have $7 million coming to a player I have no clue if he will perform at the level we need--never mind the money he makes--he has to be Dale Murphy to warrant that." So they shed salary, an unknown, and got back a role player and lots of money. It may be a good deal, it may not be, but I think the money involved makes it a Met plus in some way.
Not sure what Cammy will be like coming back from the injury and getting a year older as well, but Daryl is flat out wrong to say he was overrated defensively. Pre-injury, Cammy was the best defensive CF playing the game. Better than Tori Hunter, better than Andruw Jones. Better than Beltran too, but that just shows how wacked the Met's organization is.
Better than Andruw Jones? What evidence can you offer in support of that bold assertion?
No argument he was better than Beltran, however.
UZR had Cameron delivering about 75% more runs defensively than Andruw Jones over the '00-'03 years. I wish I could point you at a link, but MGL doesn't appear to be making the UZR ratings public any longer. I don't have the numbers for '04, and for '05 Cameron was out of position.
I still have fond memories of watching the '03 M's outfield. Winn-Cameron-Ichiro. Not a lot of longballs in that group, but what a show they put on in the field. Actually, the whole team that year was a defensive masterpiece.
Oh, and though it doesn't directly compare Cameron to Jones, the guys over at USSMariner.com did some number crunching towards the end of '04, and came to the conclusing that the '04 M's with Randy Winn in CF (not exactly a bad defensive player) gave up 30% more XBH that the '03 Ms with Cammy in CF. And the '04 Mets gave up 23% fewer XBHs than the '03 club.
Still, he's put some hard milage on his body since then, so it'll be interesting to see how good he is when he's healthy again. I hope he shines for the Pads. He's a good guy and I wish him well.